Catalunya has long been known for its cuisine, but until you’ve gone and eaten your way through Barcelona you won’t quite understand just how ingrained food is into this independent Spanish region’s daily life and priorities. There is much more to Catalan cuisine than giant paella pans full of fishy goodness, or tapas bars with a million bite-sized options to choose from – though both of these could probably keep you occupied for your entire stay.
Much more than just the unique tastes, smells, and textures, experiencing Catalan cuisine is as much about the ambiance of time, place, and form. There’s really no way to miss out on authentic Catalan cuisine moments while visiting as the locals take their food and dining seriously. Here are some ways to enjoy Catalan cuisine.
A Catalan cuisine all their own, tapas are as much a style of eating as they are a style of food. Offering two or three-bite snacks in different shapes, sizes and colors, any of Barcelona’s tapas restaurants promise an explosion of different flavors that there’s simply no way to prepare for. Another wonderful thing about tapas is that they are an inherently social food. Made for sharing, lingering over, and to accompany carafes of wine or bottles of beer, locals will typically spend hours at a restaurant chatting and nibbling late into the night.
Being that Barcelona is right on the beautiful Mediterranean sea – yes it is actually a beach town within a metropolitan city! – there is very little chance that you’ll miss the opportunity to munch something fresh off the boat. If you’re not a huge fan of seafood, try a little nibble when out for tapas. If you love seafood then go to virtually any Catalan cuisine restaurant and sit down to order either paella or another local dish, esqueixada, which is salted cod with tomato and onion.
If you’ve traveled around Europe before, assuming you aren’t from there, you already have an understanding for the fact that they do food and shopping a little differently. If you’re staying in a flat in the city and need provisions for the week, there is no better place to go than one of the city’s famous markets. La Boqueria and Santa Caterina Market both offer photo worthy displays of everything fresh. The Mediterranean climate promises year-round fresh produce, so prepare to be spoiled, and don’t be afraid to make a trip to the market a daily habit while visiting the city. That’s how the locals do it!
Take a Tour
If you like to nerd out about food science, then you don’t want to miss the chance to tour one of the local wineries or dairies. Wine and cheese are staples in Catalan cuisine, and not only will tours afford you the opportunity to learn more about them culturally and historically, but you’ll certainly have a chance to taste some real rarities.
Catalan cuisine is one of the best parts of visiting Barcelona. Cooking classes, eating with the locals and visiting a famous restaurant are other wonderful ways to fill out your meal time here in the city. No matter how you choose to line up your foodie experience, you won’t be disappointed!