It is no surprise that the city of Barcelona is one of the most travelled to destinations in Europe – the Catalan capital lures visitors with sun blessed weather, beautiful beaches and a bustling metropolis with a rich history of culture and architecture.
Catalonia is also renowned for its fine wines – especially Cava, Spain’s answer to sparkling Champagne – and sumptuous cuisine, which have provided the catalyst for food enthusiasts to explore the city as part of a Barcelona food tour.Whether you want to enjoy Michelin starred fine dining, sampling street food that has been eaten by locals for centuries or visiting some of Europe’s most impressive produce markets, Barcelona caters for all tastes.
The finest examples of Catalan cuisine can be tasted during a food tour Barcelona style, which typically involves visiting a variety of restaurants, cafes and markets in interesting neighbourhoods around the city while being accompanied by a professional guide.Barcelona’s location on the shores of the Mediterranean provide a source of sensational seafood that is often blended with traditional Catalonian fare from the mountains in a theme known locally as mar i montanya (oceans and mountains) that covers dishes such as the local paella, which usually features prawns and chorizo sausage and is traditionally eaten on Thursdays.While the city is typically associated with staples such as paella, tapas and platters of cured meats (embutidos), a Barcelona culinary tour will introduce you to some traditional Catalan dishes that are individual to the region, such as:
Pa amb Tomaquet
On Barcelona food tour, it will be difficult to avoid this delicious side that simply consists of bread rubbed with tomato, salt and olive oil.
This is a savoury stew that is typically served over two courses during the cooler months of the year. The stew’s broth is served first as a soup-like starter before a variety of main ingredients that can include vegetables and pasta with meats such as the pilota (egg-shaped meatball), botifarra (Catalan sausage) or even botifarra negra (blood sausage).
This summer dish is often referred to as the Catalan cerviche, a mouth-watering salad made from tomatoes, peppers, onions, olives and bacalao (salt cod) that can be topped with romesco sauce (a traditional red pepper based sauce that often accompanies fish).
While many visitors may be preoccupied with paella, this noodle-based equivalent is similarly made in a large shallow frying pan and usually includes an assortment of seafood ingredients that are brought to life by alioli (a creamy garlic and olive oil sauce).
Suquet de Peix
Of all the seafood dishes in Catalonia, this potato based fish stew is arguably the most popular and often found as part of a Barcelona culinary tour. It can be made from whatever the day’s local catch is together with tomato and garlic.
One of the city’s most famous dishes, and a usual suspect on many Barcelona food tours, is escalivada – which translates as ‘to roast on ashes’ and is a smoky vegetable dish featuring bell peppers and aubergine, sometimes with onions, tomatoes and garlic, that can be eaten as a tapa or relish with other foods.
Mel i Mato
This desert of honey and fresh, unsalted soft cheese is not especially sweet and can even pass as healthy when topped with walnuts.
For the real sweet toothed, however, this Catalan staple is a custard dessert that’s similar to crème brulee except lighter and with citrus and cinnamon replacing the typically vanilla flavours of its French counterpart.
A Barcelona food tour will often be accompanied by the chance to sample of the splendid wines from the region, which is especially famous for producing cava from the nearby Penedes. The sparkling white or pink wine is extremely popular in the city where locals enjoy drinking at ‘Xampanyerias’ or Cava bars while coupling the wine with ‘bocadillos’ and tapas dishes.
And, no food tour of Barcelona would be complete without exploring the city’s outstanding food markets, of which La Boqueria is undoubtedly the most famous. Visitors can taste wonderful local produce while soaking up the colourful Catalan atmosphere that bustles behind the large iron gates.
If you are interested in planning a culinary tour of Barcelona, contact Wine Paths for more information and inspirational ideas.
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