To celebrate our first wedding anniversary, Luis and I went to Barcelona for a long weekend. I find it pretty scandalous that I've been living in Paris for almost five years and had never gone to the Catalan capital, which is just an hour and 40 minutes away by plane. It was the first time for Luis as well, and we enjoyed a lovely weekend filled with warm sunshine (high temperatures of about 18-20 Celsius, so much warmer than Paris!), all the Gaudi architecture and historical sights and of course the incredible food. The highlight was undoubtedly the Mercat de la Boqueria (Boqueria Market), Barcelona's world-famous food market right on Las Ramblas in the center of the city.
Though the first mention of the Boqueria Market dates back to 1214, construction of the present-day market began in 1840. Open Monday-Saturday from 8am-8pm, the market is enormous and has fresh produce, meat, fish, cheeses, olives, oils, vinegars, spices, chocolates, nuts, flowers, juices, tapas bars...all as far as the eye can see! We ended up making two trips to the Boqueria...the first time to take it all in, the second to pick up some goodies to bring back home. I could easily have gone back a third time even!
The selection of fresh fruits and vegetables was just amazing. We were particularly thrilled with the variety of wild mushrooms...all at a fraction of the price that we pay in Paris!
Rivaling all of the luscious produce were heaps and heaps of fresh and dried spices, chili peppers, olives, oils, vinegars and sauces. We picked up some saffron, caper berries, olive oil, paella rice and balsamic glaze. Can't wait to use them all!
Needless to say, the choices of meats (particularly jamón ibérico and Spanish chorizo), seafood and cheeses (including the classic manchego and cabrales as well lesser-known Spanish cheeses such as tetilla and the Basque idiazabal) was pretty spectacular too.
The Boqueria Market is also the perfect place to sit down and have some tapas, pick up a bottle of wine or cava (Spanish sparkling wine) and even sample some vegetarian goodies (at Burequitos or Organics).
With such amazing eating at the Boqueria, it's a wonder that we got out to eat anywhere else, but of course we did. Barcelona and Catalunya in general are known to be brimming with incredible gastronomy, and we found that to be true everywhere from the simple tapas joints (our favorite was the Cerveceria Catalana in the Eixample neighborhood) to the roadside paellas (granted paella hails from Valencia, but we thought that the Catalans do it pretty darn well!) to the upscale Medittarean-Oriental fusion cuisine that we had at a spot called El Salero on the night of our anniversary. All in all...viva Barcelona! We can't wait to go back!!!
|Pimentos de padrón at Cerveceria Catalana|
|Patatas bravas at Cerveceria Catalana|
|Crema catalana at Cerveceria Catalana|
|Paella - somewhere near the Sagrada Familia|