Indulgences Feature


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Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Dalene Heck, Pete Heck, and Sherry Ott

In the late afternoon, somewhere between five and six o’clock, the ritual would begin. One of us would look up from our laptops, note the time, and call out to the others that we had made a grave error.The clock turned over five, and none of us had a cocktail in our hand.

It was a ritual that Sherry brought to us in Mexico, and it continued when we reunited in Girona. Replace mezcal with gin, but the scene was similar. We’d take turns crafting the drinks and distributing; the music turned bouncier and the laughter was more frequent. We’d keep working but were increasingly distracted. And as the hour grew longer and our stomachs began to audibly rumble, an addition to our ritual emerged.

Plates of ham. Tomaquet. Fresh market cheeses.

Inasmuch as Pete and I would both love to blame Sherry for the extra pounds we sported after leaving Girona, given her enslaving of us to her rigid observance of this cocktail hour, it would be slightly unfair. She never forced us into gin number two and three (or four), nor did she insist on the overindulgence of ham. Unaccustomed to the late dinner hour we usually found ourselves overindulging on the mouth-watering meat, and then supplementing with another meal a few hours later.

And we couldn’t do all of that without working in something sweet as well. Bring on the gelato.

It was a gluttonous time for all of us there, in the small city of Girona, those things that left us salivating and anxious for next day’s supply were numerous.

Gin Selection
Our gin bar at home!


The Spanish fascination with this juniper berry-based liquor is a fairly new one. But within the last decade the trend has exploded, and there are now bars solely dedicated to gin, a vast array of tonic combinations to be ordered on most restaurant menus, and simple grocery stores have dedicated entire walls to displaying various types. I never considered myself a gin drinker (I am more of a whiskey girl), but I was schooled upon arrival in Girona a year ago, when our host opened up a wooden chest full of different spices to use with our gin cocktails. And since then both Pete and I have sampled many and come up with our favourites.

To aid in that, we even went to a dinner with gin pairings at Indigo Restaurant and Lounge. We were expertly ushered through our four course meal with a medley of gins, tonics and spices that perfectly complimented.

Indigo Gin Bar
Gin and Tonic Girona Style


A ham connoisseur will be able to tell you the differentiating qualities and which ham is better for what reason, but to me, it is all just so damn good. We made our way through the city sampling the humble pig’s finest offering as we went.

We can tell you that the tastiest ham was to be found at the Mercat del Lleó (Lion’s Market), or in the market in Devesa Park every Tuesday and Saturday. They also gave us the best bang for our buck compared to the stores in the historic centre.

Lleo Market Jamon
photo by Sherry Ott
Wall of Jamon
photo by Sherry Ott
Jamon, Fuet, Cheese, Pears


Truth time: one of the main reasons that we were so happy to return to Girona was because of Rocambolesc. You may believe that the best gelato must exist in Italy but I have to say that such an understanding is simply wrong. It’s in Girona.

Through the efforts of Jordi Roca, the dessert chef at the award-winning El Celler de Can Roca, this gift to sweet-tooths everywhere was born. Several of the offerings are unique and may seem wacky to some – an ice-cream hot pocket, coconut and violet flavoured gelato, and even a sorbet replica of Game of Throne’s character Jamie Lannister’s severed hand (made partially of blood orange sorbet, of course) – but the care and creativity that goes into each creation is undeniable. Each bite or lick is to be savoured.

Rocambolesc Flavours
Rocambolesc Candy Floss
Lannister Ice Pop
Violet Gelato

Our time in Girona was in partnership with Costa Brava Tourism, Girona Tourism, and Catalunya Experience. As always, all opinions and responsibility for our gluttonous endeavours, are our own.

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  1. You can’t tease us like that and not tell us your favourite gin cocktails. Apart from a phase in my 20s I’ve also never gotten into gin so would love to hear your recommendations. Wow, that gelato is a work of art! I will definitely be visiting next time I am in Girona. Did you try the porras while you were there? There is a great place in the old town that makes it and it is even better than churros.

  2. I am not sure I understand how you go about making a row of ham hocks into a stunning picture. I love your photography and I must say I am very happy with the travelers adult coloring book. I actually got it for my artsy granddaughter for graduation, of course I took a good look at it before handing it over. I am not that artsy.

  3. Best gelato I ever had was rice pudding gelato in Quebec City and salted caramel and white chocolate at Messina in Sydney. If I make it to Girona will have to try your place too 🙂

  4. Hello
    My young daughter left for Spain a cpl weeks ago(from Edm, Ab) to work as an Au Pair for a year. Before she left, I came across your article on where to eat in Girona…so I passed it on to her and said she MUST try the Gelato that you raved about….well, this past Sunday she went to the exact place you recommended and she simply said “It was AMAZING Mom!!!” Thank you so much for all your travel info, I’m so pleased she was able to try that amazing Gelato…without your article, she may not have had the pleasure of tasting it. My only problem with it, is that I wasn’t able to enjoy it with her lol perhaps someday!!
    Thank you so much!!

    1. Oh thank you Agnes! You just made my day. I love it when people come back to leave comments about our recommendations! You should go visit your daughter, Girona is such a magical place (and of course: GELATO). 🙂

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