Saturday, May 19, 2012

Falling in love with Barcelona...

As promised, I have eventually got round to putting together a post on my trip to Barcelona. Better late than never...!

I love city breaks; arriving on that first day and knowing that there's so much hidden away just waiting to be explored and then by the end you don't want to leave. Well that's exactly how I felt when I went to Barcelona last the other week for a few days...I can only rave about how good it was when people ask and I'm already thinking about when I can go back next! From Gaudì's Sagrada Famìlia and Parc Güell, to the Parc Ciutadella and the beach on the Med, Barcelona literally has everything. And of course, the food there is pretty great too. I mean, who doesn't love tapas and sangria? Well, I'd just like to share with you a few of the tasty treats that I managed to find whilst I fell in love with Barcelona... 

We found a lovely place that became our regular for breakfast, which was just round the corner from our hostel where we staying, called Caffe di Francesco. I think it may actually be Italian, but it sold a variety of Spanish pastries that made a perfect start to our day! And it did great coffee too.

Caffe di Francesco
66, Passeig de Gràcia,
08007 Barcelona.

I had a chocolate magdalena, which was delicious! The Spanish equivalent of the madeleines that I made the other week actually. Light and fluffy and suitably chocolate-y. And you can't really complain when you're basically eating a cake for breakfast!
Abbey had a canya crema which apparently was also very tasty. I had the chocolate variety another time, which was a bit like a pain au chocolat (and in fact, I think it's just the Spanish version of it), but the pastry was flakier and the chocolate in the middle was more like cream. I'd definitely reccommend it!

The place just generally had a nice feel to it: a buzzy atmosphere, friendly staff and so convenient for us. If you're ever in Barcelona anywhere near here, make it your port of call breakfast. Apparently there are a few others dotted around the city too. If you can't find one though, just be sure to try a canya xocolata! It doesn't feel like breakfast, but when you're on holiday you're allowed to eat dessert for breakfast! And if the Spanish do it, why can't you?

Of course, a trip to Spain (for me anyway!) cannot go by without eating some tapas. So on our first night we headed out in search for some typical Spanish food. This was aided somewhat by the most brilliant guidebook that I have ever purchased (and yes, I did not stop going on about it the whole time I was there!). It's called 'Top 10 Barcelona' and at only £4.79 it's definitely worth getting, because it led us to all sorts of hidden treasures that we never would have known existed otherwise. One of such places was a cute little tapas restaurant that I don't think we would have noticed without knowing about it, because it doesn't look like much from the outside. It did fantastic tapas though, with all the usuals, our waiter was friendly and it was very reasonably priced. I just can never get used to the fact that the Spaniards eat their evening meal so late! We went at about 8pm and it was virtually empty, but we were hungry so the delicious food was all that mattered to us! Don't let the outside put you off and give this authentic little tapas restaurant a try. The only slight downside was that they didn't serve sangria (which shocked me sangria in a Spanish restaurant?!), but as we soon realised it's not difficult to find in Barcelona and it was soon forgotten once we had a glass of wine on the table!

Bodega La Palma
7, Carrer de la Palma de Sant Just,
08002, Barcelona

Chorizo, patatas bravas and some sort of vegetable pastry (I can't remember the name of it!). All extremely garlic-y, but I expected nothing less!
Again, I can't remember the name of this either, but I think it was potato-based with vegetables inside. As you can see, it's deep-fried too (which a lot of it was), so you really don't need many dishes. I think we ordered about 6 between the two of us.
And of course, a truly tapas meal isn't complete without a Spanish tortilla. Yum! In the background you can just see the bread too which with the tomato and garlic on top (which we had to smush on ourselves in one restaurant!) is a Catalan speciality apparently. Delicious.
I must also tell you about THE most amazing market we found. Now I have a little thing for markets anyway and so I try to go to the market that's on in Aix at least once a week to pick up some fruit and veg. The smells, the hustle and bustle, the beautiful array of just makes me want to buy everything! And wish that we had markets as good as this back home. I have to admit though that the Mercat de la La Boquería, just off Las Ramblas, beats Aix's little market any day. For one thing, it's massive. When I was offered a map as I walked in, I thought, "don't be so stupid, why would I need a map to navigate a market?" but as I stepped inside I quickly realised that it would definitely be somewhere I'd get lost in (especially with my brilliant appaling sense of direction!). That just gives you an idea of the size of it. I don't think I've ever seen so much fresh food displayed so beautifully in one place! There was virtually every fruit imagineable, and nearly every one had been made into a fruit juice, vegetables I didn't recognise, ostrich eggs, duck eggs, bog-standard hen eggs, fish (and a very pungent smell to go with it), cheese, sausages, mushrooms of all varieties, sweets, chocolates, cakes and every type of offal that can be eaten, which I must confess did make me feel a little queasy! It was definitely an experience and if you get the chance you must go!!

Mercat de la La Boquería
91, La Rambla
08001, Barcelona

Before we left, we had just enough time (and left just enough room!) to fit in a visit to a cute little café for xurros, which again was recommended to us in the guidebook. I don't think I've actually ever had xurros before and it wasn't quite what I was expecting. The chocolate we were given was very dark and intense and perhaps a bit bitter for my liking, but I'm glad I tried it. My trip wouldn't have been complete without it! It was all served to us very nicely anyway (and by a rather lovely looking waiter!) and was certainly the perfect end to a perfect holiday. I will definitely be going back to Barcelona, but in the meantime I'm going to make the most of my last month or so in France and eat as much French food as possible before I have to say goodbye to my beloved Aix. 

Granja La Pallaresa
11, Carrer de Petritxol,
08002, Barcelona

But honestly, you MUST go to Barcelona. You're missing out if you don't!


1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a great article. I definitely want to go back after reading this. x