Friday, 19 March 2010

La Boqueria Mercat, Barcelona

La Boqueria – Food, glorious food

Walking into La Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria (to give it the official name) in Barcelona is overwhelming. It is noisy and colourful; the aromas of the food assault your senses. It’s foody heaven.
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Depending on where you get your information, there are between 20,000 and 40,000 different products on sale in La Boqueria – all food or drink - and it is big enough to support vendors selling just one product like bananas or eggs. Locals with shopping baskets mingle with tourists with plastic carrier bags and it is almost painful to have to pass up on the fresh fish, but can you imagine carrying fish in your carry on luggage?  Each time we go, we do make a special trip to the market on the day we leave and the Manchego cheese is to die for.

Make sure you go right to the back of the market where the kioskos staff are busy cooking some of the freshest food you can get. Sit on a high stool at the counter with a cup of coffee (or glass of wine) and a plate of tapas and watch the world go by. You know the food is good because the stall holders eat at the kioskos!

You’ll be eating cuina de mercat which is now served in all the high class restaurants in Barcelona at many times the price – and if you do eat in a restaurant, chances are that the fish you are served was bought, still wriggling, from one of the stalls that morning.

Barcelona is my favourite city in Europe. That’s a major claim because I like it better than Paris or Rome. What it comes down to is that I could live in Barcelona and I have never wanted to live in a large city. It’s bustling and noisy but welcoming and on a human scale. And it has what is probably the best food market in the world.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, now you've made me really jealous! Barcelona is one of my favourite cities alongside Cape Town and Sydney, and when I'm in Barcelona I always find my way into La Boquería, drooling over the stalls and asking myself why, once again, I'm in a hotel instead of somewhere that would let me take a load of food back and start cooking!


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