#AceFoodNews – July.18: European Adventure Part V: Barcelona Eats
Love and Olive Oil / Lindsay
Barcelona: land of fresh seafood, churros, horchata and ham. Where modern mingles with traditional cuisine and the result is truly delicious.
We ate our way through the city like our lives depended on it. I’ve done my best to highlight our favorites, so be sure to click through and read the entire post. I’ve also included a full list of restaurants and shops at the end of this post, for you to use as a resource when planning your trip to Barcelona (and I wouldn’t hesitate, it is easily one of my favorite cities I’ve ever visited). In case you missed it, our first post here highlights the amazing sights and landmarks of the city.
One of the high points of our time in Barcelona was the Sweets Lover Tour we booked one of our first days in town, an experience which was the perfect combination of sugar and history. If I had just eaten sweets for 3 hours straight I’d be comatose, but our guide broke up the sweet treats with bits of history and lore before we moved on to the next spot. We had taken an architecture tour the day before, and, looking back, it would have been much more enjoyable if the monologues on history and theory had been broken up by a few sweet morsels.
The hot chocolate in Paris was amazing, but the hot chocolate in Barcelona was even moreso. Almost like hot chocolate pudding, subtly spiced and luxuriously rich in both texture and flavor, so thick you had to eat it with a spoon. This cup from Caelum in the gothic quarter rewrote my definition of good hot chocolate.
I could have eaten twelve cones of these churros. Before this trip, I thought of churros were long skinny sticks of fried and sugar-crusted dough you’d find at fairs and amusement parts. Good, but nothing to break your diet over. But these, these churros are everything and then some. Fresh and tender and dusted with sugar while still warm, we were all moaning with pleasure as we devoured them without a second thought. You can find them all over the city, but we went straight the source: a nondescript little xurreria in the gothic quarter. If you didn’t know any better you’d walk right by the hand-painted window filled with fried bits that look like french fries and funyuns and be none the wiser.
But might I suggest being the wiser this time and popping inside? You’re in for a real treat.
It wouldn’t be a trip to Spain without copious amounts of horchata (orxata in Catalan). Horchata is a creamy drink made from the tiger nut or chufa, which isn’t actually a nut at all but rather a tuber. I was so excited to try the original version, as over on our side of the world the drink is more often made with rice and almonds. While the flavor is similar, I’d describe the chufa version as slightly grassier, more earthy in flavor, subtly spiced and sweet and ultra creamy. Truly, nothing compares.
Our favorite horchata came from a little spot called Sirvent, which also served delicious gelato. Talk about the perfect afternoon pick me up. La Valenciana was another shop nearby our apartment. While the horchata was a bit thicker/gritter in texture, it was still quite spectacular, and, as we discovered on our last day, you can also get horchata milkshakes (!!!)
I never expected such amazing croissants in Barcelona, I thought Paris had that down pat. But apparently in Spain they like to make their croissants with pork fat instead of butter, and, well, you can imagine the result. These cream and chocolate-filled croissants from Hofmann pastry school and pastisseria were textbook perfection.
So far Barcelona as eeked out Paris in both the hot chocolate and croissant departments, if you can believe it. I couldn’t, until I ate another.
The Barcelona markets are busy and bustling, packed with stands of fresh produce, fruit, and meats. We visited two markets, the Santa Caterina (whose iconic undulating roofline was the focus of much of our architecture tour), and the famous Boqueria market another day.
©2015 Love and Olive Oil
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