Who doesn't love food? Oh, c'mon! Some of us love travelling in part for the new foods and flavours we try around. Catalan cuisine and typical food from Catalonia is no less and I went in a tour in the neighbourhood of Gràcia by Devour Barcelona to discover the local side of food.
Tourists in Barcelona they sometimes miss out the true culture and gastronomy, the best paellas are certainly not in Las Ramblas, and the good traditional restaurants most likely only have the menu in catalan language and here is where Devour tours come into play.
Something that might be a bit challenging to find on your own, they take you around the neighbourhood of Gràcia going around their choices of best tapas and catalan dishes, sweet and savory to discover the true flavours and taste the catalan cuisine.
Catalan cuisine is more than tapas, paella and sangría and I will show you that around our tour. We started the day with a catalán brunch, we call it "esmorzar de forquilla" that translated is breakfast with a fork, the name comes because the more kind of brunch food you have you most likely will need cutlery to eat it.
Catalan food in Barcelona
Our esmorzar de forquilla at Casa Pagés consisted of a catalan sausage called “botifarra” with Green pepper and all i oli, all polished off with a brut nature cava –the catalan champagne-. Not bad for 10am, right?
All i oli is the catalan sauce that everyone has to taste, it is made from garlic, olive oil and an egg yolk, it is a thick white-yellow paste that tastes like garlic and we acompany any kind of grilled meat with it. Botifarras with all i oli are a classic for catalans.
Cava is also one of our top 10 in catalan gastronomy, cava is the catalán champagne, brut nature is a kind of cava that doesn't have sugar added so it is kind of dry.
Old taverns and bars are the best for a typical breakfast, in Catalunya on the countryside they organize esmorzars de forquilla – catalan brunches- that consist of different kinds of cured meat (fuet, ham, chorizo, lomo etc…) with toasted bread rubbed with tomato and also some grilled meat, a full meal really but it is very typical and a great start of a day once in a while.
The tour continues and we keep going around the catalan cuisine, we go for a taste of different oils, olive oil is the basics of the Catalan cuisine as we use it to cook our meals. Olive oil is cheap in Spain since it is a basic ingredient to cook, from 3-4 euros a litre bottle of extra virgin olive oil. It is a good souvenir from Barcelona if you enjoy its taste to bring it home with you. In other countries, they use butter or other kinds of oil (sunflower/soy etc…).
It is interesting to know the different kinds of oils to be sure what you are really buying, in general the most common oils to cook are refined oils, not very recommended as these are done with the average/spoilt olives and then mixed up with some % of virgin extra olive oil.
The olive oil that is so known by their advantages is the virgin extra oil, and there are so many varieties but the most known are: aberquina, picual and hojiblanca. But there are many more to discover…I am a fan of aberquina though, it is a tiny olive with strong flavour. If you want to known move about olive oil, read extra virgin olive oil article.
We went to the neighbourhood market and we tried some food there, my favorite pick is a discovery of a cheese I loved called: Dehesa de los llanos. Is the only spanish cheese that reached the cheese Oscars, getting the award for two years in a raw of the best cheese in the world.
We have done a tapa stop that I loved, we tried a bomba in l'Anxoveta restaurant, it is a potato ball fried and stuffed with minced meat and it goes with a tomato spicy sauce, you have to get one of those! See the picture on top of the page, the bomba has all i oli on top of the bomba ball and tomate sauce at the base, the perfect garnishments to enjoy a spicy bomba. They also showed how to rub the tomato on bread and do a "pa amb tomàquet", but I master this art already as a good catalan.
Sometimes when you visit a new country it is a pitty that you cannot get into people's homes and taste what they eat, as it is the most authentical. But you can get close enough if you choose the places right, and this is what Devour does for you, it takes you to this traditional places so you can experience the food coming from catalan homes.
Well, maybe now you can with services such as Eat with it or going to cooking clases in Barcelona. But lucky you as if you come to Barcelona there are still places that have home made food as if you were eating at a catalán granny's house, this place in Gràcia is called La Botigueta del Bon Menjar, it is a take away place where you can find all the old favorites that might not be available in all restaurants: snails, fideuà, meatballs with peas, escalibada etc…
We had meatballs with chickpeas and peas, an old time classic, my mum does meatballs but a tweak on the sauce which is made with aubergines.
Our last stop is a sweet one, to end up the tour they choose a classy bakery and we got an amazing dessert, a cake filled in with crema catalana –kind of a cold creme brulée-. Crema catalana is the most typical dessert in Catalonia, and you can find it almost anywhere you go. There is even ice cream flavor of crema catalana, try it out!
The dessert we tried it is called cremat and it is an inedit one created by Pastisseria Ideal in Gràcia, very special! It is very soft pastry with crema catalan on top, yummy! Cremat in catalan means burnt, the typical crema catalana is burnt on top so it has this caramelized flavour and the "cremat" pastry from ideal bakery has it!
Devour food tours in Barcelona
Offered daily Tuesday-Saturday 10:15amThe tour last around 4 hours and starts at Passeig de Gracia 108Price: 65 per adult, € 45 per child age 12 & under