There’s plenty of open air markets in Barcelona, but I got to tour La Boqueria on La Rambla with chef Cándido Cid (he’s one of the owners of Barcelona Cooking).
In a way, it’s a tourist attraction, it’s on the most famous street in Barcelona, where tourists pack themselves 8-10 across to stroll past flower shops and restaurants, buskers and newspaper stands, cafés and more and more people. Inside there are little things designed to part the average vacationer from their cash, like over-priced sangria in ornate bottles. However on the whole, it’s a really great market full of anything your foodie heart could desire from truffles to free range chicken to local asparagus — it has it all.
Outside there’s a large map, it’s in Catalán but what Candido is pointing to here, the Pagesos area, is local famers. That’s where we made a bee line for, to check out what’s in season.
Fresh fruit. The little red berries, called grosella in Spanish are currants.
But what’s in season right now? Cherries!
We wander around more, here are 50 euro for 100 gram dried Morel mushrooms.
Salted cod is really big, this is a Roman tradition.
And of course baked goods, which I’m learning Spain is just as much in love with the baked arts as their neighbor France.
Then it gets interesting… every kind of egg you can imagine from chicken to goose to swan to emu.
Fresh seafood abounds.
Here’s something I’ve never had: barnacles. They cut them off the rocks between waves crashing down. They are only found on the Atlantic coast, so these are from Galicia.
And the absolute cheapest meat you can get at the market, going from 2-4 euros a kilo is a case full of offal. There’s tripe, hooves, goat heads, brains (from different animals, like sheep — and I’m told if you make a croquette out of it, it tastes just like chicken). There’s bull testicles and penis, and in the back, congealed blood.
There was absolutely everything, you could get little rabbits, or chicken by the part, or red meat. I’m not saying I’m going to run out and make tripe (actually I really like it, after my time in Mexico) but it’s exciting to see that literally anything you could want is available to you.
Then there was this. Rovells (Catalán for yolks). It’s the unformed eggs inside a chicken, if you slaughter a laying hen.
Strange but interesting. I can’t wait to get back.