Stuffing my Face at La Boqueria

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If there is one thing in the world that I’m good at, it is eating. After coming back from our Latin American trip I gained like a gazillion pounds because I was back in the culinary heaven of Austin, Texas.

It was in Barcelona that I fell in love with the amazingness that are local food tours. If anything gives you insight to a culture, it is the culinary and gastronomic delights that you can find.

Normally I despise getting up early. We were roused from our beds in our rad Barcelona apartment much before 10am – but my spirits were high. HouseTrip sent us out to enjoy the “Farm to Fork, the Boqueria and Beyond” tour with Context Travel Tours.

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…and in true Over Yonderlust fashion, it was raining cats and dogs.

Our guide Albert was AWESOME. Not only was my mind blown with ideas and concepts about food, but it was probably the most comprehensive presentation of the history of Catalonian food I have or will ever receive. We were encouraged to ask questions and on occastion, a lively discussion would occur over disagreements in international culinary culture. I was fascinated.

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I didn’t know it was that intense. I just like to eat things. They feel good in my belly.

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We started at La Boqueria – the main and most well known market in Barcelona. At 170 years old, this has been an institution in the history of Spanish markets. Most of the high rated restaurants within the city source their meat and produce from here every morning. In between chefs, you find old abuelitas and young adults grabbing their good for the day. This place was hopping and very obviously important.

The one interesting thing to know about Catalonian cuisine is that there are three main types of food: Mountain, Orchard, and Marina.

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Mountain

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We went to try some meat and cheese first. Did I mention that Europe seems to be the land of cured meats? Shaun has been in heaven since we arrived with his weird salami addiction. I did feel bad for the vegetarians in the group – so much of Spanish culture is based off meat. The basic salami and goat cheese was heaven in my mouth. Although, I was eyeing the jamon Iberico (but at $2000 for one leg, that wasn’t going to happen) while drooling over myself.

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Did I mention that we love meat?

Orchard

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Olives are an important staple in Catalan when it comes to their cuisine. We stopped by an olive counter but apparently in my ravaged state (I got olive crazy eye?) I devoured the bag as quickly as I could and forgot to take a picture.

They came in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and flavors. They were delicious. You’re just going to have to believe me.

But here is a picture of Dave from The Planet D photo-bombing me while I’m waiting for said olives.

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Marina

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We meandered our way into the fish market and it was packed! Everything was freshly sourced from the Mediterranean and the catches of the day were all shapes and sizes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much variety from one area.

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An “old world” staple of Barcelona is the salted cod. Think of it like cured meat. Before there were refrigerators salt was the way to preserve your meat through the harsh winters. Now, we’ve had salted cod before but for some reason I couldn’t get over seeing the “before”. Good lord that is a lot of salt.

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Misc.

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With the return of the rain brings in a new season of food – mushrooms. I am a bit sad that we didn’t get to see the bins overflowing but they were still beautiful.

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…and snails but I’m not going to talk about that. Still gives me the creeps.

We moved our way onto our next “course”: CHOCOLATE.

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If any of you have been with us awhile, you know that I fully believe that chocolate should be its own food group.

While I am still convinced of the superiority of Latin American chocolate, I’m still a fan of the presentation. Gold flakes, red lips, small bows – these were beautiful.

And Albert saved what I thought was the best for last. One of the really cool things about being in a city as old as Barcelona is that you have companies that have been in business for 100+ years. Families pass down their knowledge and artisan skills for food and gourmet items.

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This is when we came across E&A Gispert, a family owned store that roasts their own nuts. Holy moley these were the most delicious pistachios and macadamias I had ever had in my life hands down. They have the roaster inside the store and we even got to get a quick peek at it.

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The one thing that blew my mind was their dried strawberries. Sorry, but I have to say that my stomach > pictures and I devoured them all without even considering taking a picture. I highly suggest grabbing a few while you’re there as it will only set you have a couple of euros. Oh, and some macadamia nuts. Or, well, anything really.

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Everyone inside was so helpful and super personable – a rarity for Europe – and are totally willing to help you make the best decision for what you are looking for while in there.

I’ve included a map below since I’ve noticed that so many places that are mentioned in blog posts don’t have maps. I hope this helps out!

We finished our tour beaming. And while we may not be in Barcelona now, my stomach starts growling when I think of La Boqueria and just all the amazing food we were able to try. I’m not going to try and be a food blogger but I can totally understand why some people get into it. What are some of your favorite food and market experiences?

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Disclosure: This trip was sponsored by the awesome guys from HouseTrip.com, however all opinions are our own.

18 Responses to “Stuffing my Face at La Boqueria”

  1. Annette | Bucket List Journey October 24, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    It’s hard not to stuff your face when there are so many options! I fell in love with the fresh juices when I was there. Yum!

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

      Oh GOD I love juice. I’m afraid how much money I would have spent there on our own.

  2. Heather October 25, 2012 at 7:50 am #

    Nicole and I went several time while we were in Barcelona :-) And I agree with Annette — we loved picking up a fresh juice in the morning!

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

      !!!
      The thing that sucks is that you start to get spoiled with the availability of things like this – ya know? It is one major reason I miss Latin America so much. Juice EVERYWHERE!

  3. Emily in Chile October 26, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    This all looks amazing! I love markets, they’re one of my favorite places to explore in a city, and doing so with a guide to tell you all about food culture and history must be even better.

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

      TOTALLY. I developed a relationship with the food culture. It made Barcelona even more neat.

  4. Erik October 27, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    LOVE LOVE LOVE markets! In foreign countries especially. This one is particularly good one, too.

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

      I think I hit the jackpot with people who love markets AND I feel like I’ve been to some of the most amazing ones in the world.

  5. Ayngelina October 28, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    This is my heaven, I would just like to curl up in a corner and live here.

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

      I know. The amount of pork products waiting to be tasted could keep me here for a long LONG time.

  6. Addison S October 29, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Exploring food markets is one of the greatest aspects of traveling. La Boqueria is easily up their with the world’s finest – so much on offer. Alongside London’s Borough Market, it is one of my most favorite places to eat.

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

      I did love Borough Market something fierce. I had some of the best cider I’ve ever had… but the olives… OH GOD THE OLIVES were so good in Barcelona.

  7. Liv October 31, 2012 at 3:56 am #

    Oh just look at that octopus – I mean seriously, YUM!

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

      I know… it would taste so good grilled and in my tummy.

  8. Raymond @ Man On The Lam November 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    I was reading and enjoying every tasty morsel of this post, and then you brought out the olives. Why’d ya have to bring out the olives? Of all things…tsk, tsk… :)

    (Can you tell that I don’t like olives?)

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

      You are like Shaun. He despises them.

      It took me a while to develop the taste and now I can never go back!

  9. Alex November 4, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    I’m a really picky eater, so I would get really self conscious doing a food tour! Looks like you guys had fun though :)

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

      There were quite a few picky eaters on our tour so no worries! You were in good company. 😉

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