Barcelona is a beautiful city for many reasons but for epicureans it is a must-visit. The city will be sure to delight you leaving you craving for more. Because sometimes in life, more is more!
Market to Plate
Boqueria Mercat is located in the heart of Barcelona and consists of over 200 vendors that specialize in numerous types of foods. Through the iron gates of this market visitors will delight in the bustle of merchants selling fresh fruit and smoothies, cheeses, meats, seafood and so much more.
Throughout the market there are bars selling both food and drinks. A meal here people watching is a cultural experience in and of itself. On my first day here (I visited 4 times in a one-week trip!) I opted for some garlic butter sautéed clams and grilled shrimp along with a refreshing glass of sangria.
The freshness of the seafood required little by way of seasoning. Cooked to absolute perfection as seafood is quite susceptible to even the slightest overcooking, I already knew after that one lunch that I would be back.
On the other times when I did return to the market, my visits would always consist of getting a smoothie. The guava coconut was a personal favorite. The tangy sweetness of the guava tempered by the slight creaminess of the coconut on a hot day was happiness in a cup.
My top pick for a snack would be Spanish ham. There are two basic types: jamon serrano (“mountain ham”) and jamon iberrico (“Iberian ham”). The mountain or serrano ham is made from several different breeds of white pigs, such as Duroc, Landrace, or Large White. They are fed mainly cereals and cured from 7 to 16 months. Jamón ibérico is made only from the Iberian pig. The breeding of the Iberian pig is restricted to an area in Southwestern Spain and Southeastern Portugal. Although fed some cereals, these pigs also roam the countryside and feed on acorns. The curing process for jamón iberico lasts from 14 to 36 months. The hams were sliced paper thin and had a melt in your mouth quality. I’m personally not a beer drinker but observed many people enjoying this snack with a beer in hand.
Tapas are snacks, canapes, or small plates and are the perfect way to taste a country. The Spanish even has a verb for it, “tapeur” which means to go and eat tapas. I’d really love to tapeur every day. Who’s with me?! My all-time favorite tapas is ceviche, a seafood dish typically made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced. During my trip I tried a classic ceviche as well as a modern/fusion take on it. The classic ceviche consisted of halibut, shrimp, mango, tomatoes, cilantro and lime.
On a wonderful evening I had the pleasure of dining at Arume, my favourite restaurant in Barcelona. Their ceviche made with almond milk and watermelon was divine. I didn’t think I would like the combination of almond milk, lime, fish and watermelon but it was delicately fragrant with a hint of floral. The fish was tender, fresh and absorbed the liquids beautifully. It’s true that we eat with our eyes first and this was one of the few times I had to just sit and admire how beautiful this dish was.
Barcelona has no shortage of desert options. From beautiful rich flans to churros whether you like your deserts creamy, crispy, light or rich the Spaniards have you covered. I had the pleasure of visiting a shop called Torro Artessa Des de 1775 that specialized in “turron”. Classic turron is made primarily from almonds and honey, but today it comes in a huge variety of flavors. Traditional Spanish turrón may be classified as hard or soft. The hard types are typically a compact block of whole almonds in a brittle mass of eggs, honey and sugar; 60% almonds. Soft turron is typically made with almonds reduced to a paste with the addition of oil to make the bars chewier and stickier; 64% almonds. Travel tip: the shop has a generous variety for sampling so you can try before you buy.
Living the fab life differs from person to person. For me, it’s making meaningful connections and rediscovering a sense of purpose in life through traveling.