Today is a big day in my part of Spain, Catalunya. It is the National Day. We call it Diada Nacional. The day commemorates the fourteen month Siege of Barcelona, when on September 11th 1714, Catalan troops were forced to surrender to the Castilian forces of France and King Philip V of Spain. From that day on, things took a turn for the worse for Catalunya. All Catalan cultural institutions were destroyed and repressed and became part of the Spanish kingdom.
Some Catalans have been battling this repression ever since. The National Day of Catalonia was reinstated again in 1980, five years after the death of dictator Franisco Franco in 1975.
Every September 11th, many Catalan organizations and political parties lay flowers and wreaths at monuments to pay their respect to Catalan heroes.There are also events to pay homage to the soldiers who defended Barcelona during the War of the Spanish Succession.
It is a beautiful day in Catalonia. When I was a child, it was always the last day of summer. Schools in Catalonia start school the day after.
Since it is the National Day for Catalonia, I thought I would cook something that is very traditional from that region. What I made is something similar to a cottage cheese or a fresh cheese. The word is Requesón in Spanish, Mató in Catalan.
Mató is a usually served as a dessert and is very traditional. My grandma used to eat it for breakfast or for a dessert. I love mató, I can eat it anytime. Really, this recipe is just milk with a squeeze of lemon and then adding something sweet like honey or something else.
- 4 cups whole milk (1 quart )
- juice of 1 small lemon
- honey (optional)
- Bring the milk almost to a boil, about 200 degrees F, then remove from the heat.
- Pour in the lemon juice and stir for a minute.
3. Press the mixture through a fine mesh strainer with a cheesecloth or a kitchen cloth until all of the excess liquid has been removed.
4. Cool it down in the fridge.
5. Serve with a drizzle of honey (the most traditional, and my grandma’s favorite) or with a little sugar (my personal preference), or jam or nuts. It’s up to you!