Heaven on Earth, El Mercat de la Boqueria, Barcelona

Following launch sequence of this blog, I have to officially begin a chapter with the details of one of my favorite things on earth, grocery shopping, along with my favorite place in Barcelona, La Boquería (note to reader this will certainly not be my only entry of this mecca of food, culture and lavishness). My "home" over the last few years has been where my toothbrush lies. Which is an excellent thing considering the amount of sardines and garlic I've inhaled since beginning this search for self-discovery, as well as the highest quality and best tasting products within arms reach. Going on 8 months now in Barcelona, I give thanks daily for the things I have at my disposal. There is no doubt, quality of life here is high!

If you have ever traveled to Barcelona, you've certainly heard of Las Ramblas, the long main drag leading from the Mediterranean seaport to the gridded streets of  l´Eixample neighborhood.  And if you have read any guide book, or have taken any tour through the old city, or Ciutat Vella, you would have been directed to meander through La Boqueria. Sitting a stone's throw from all of the most touristy things in Barcelona, lies a surprisingly local market, officially named in Catalan el mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria. I could dedicate an entire blog to the markets of Barcelona and anyone that's had the fortune to live in this city could testify to the luxury they provide to your daily life (currently over 40 are sprinkled through the city proper, at least one in every municipality). When one of these gems happens to lie within walking distance of your apartment, it makes the hassle of obtaining your daily bread, that much less of one, and more an enjoyable part of your errands.

Barcelona stands as an homage to architecture in the purest form and La Boqueria was not left out of the mix. Constructed in 1914, the metal roof and "shell" of the otherwise open-air market still bears testament to fine craftsmanship and ironwork. Under this masterpiece lies the true prize...food, and that's a very general statement. However, pretty much if you can dream it, it's in this market. Standing as one of the finest in Europe, the highlights, in my humble opinion, are local produce of the season, pomegranates and persimmons in winter, strawberries and peaches in spring/summer, chorizo de bellota, and idiazabal smoked cured cheese from the Basque region. Did I mention seafood? Ooohhh the seafood- monkfish, mussels, red shrimp of Palamós and the Costa Brava, calamari and cuttlefish, and the European eel, whose babies (angulas) are sold for roughly 800-1,000€ per kilo.  With goods as good as this, almost anyone can feel like Ferran Adrià, Eric Ripert, Grant Achatz or José Andrés. And that's precisely what I love about this place, the common people, gent normal, can shop like rock stars and Michelin starred chefs without leaving their backyard, or better said, their 19th century balcony. 

Mushrooms of the Catalonian forests (bolets) in Autumn

Open 6 days a week 10am-7pm, the shopkeepers are a valuable asset to the community and willing to help you in many languages

Eat your heart out

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criscopolo said...

It was all great until I came to the seafood. EW!
I'll just skip that part when I visit. :)

Adrian in Germany said...

yummmmmmmmmmm!!! I LOVED going through those markets with you! I'm craving those mussels you made too!! xx

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