- Alicia at Evening Star Travel
A Foodie Guide to Barcelona
Barcelona is a gorgeous city to explore and indulge in some of the most delicious cuisine in the world. Planning on retiring soon? Ready to scratch some places off your Bucket List? Make sure Barcelona is on your list to deep dive into the world of food.
Travel allows people to gain a new appreciation for other cultures, and a big part of any culture is the cuisine. The food of a region is a reflection of their history, their geographical location, and the resources that they have available to them. Barcelona is a gorgeous city on the northeastern coast of Spain on the Balearic Sea. The food fare that you will find here is reflective of the colorful history of Barcelona and its’ melting pot history.
Here are some of the great foods (and a couple of drinks) that all travelers (and especially foodies) definitely need to indulge in.
Let's kick this list off with a couple of great drinks that anyone who is traveling to Barcelona will need to try.
Sangria- Everyone knows that you have to try a great glass of Sangria. This is a great refreshment on a hot day. The great thing about Sangria is that every restaurant and Sangria maker has a different take on it, and some places will even offer up to 6 different varieties on their menu.
Cava- This is the sparkling wine of Spain. It usually is a drink that is on the sweeter type, but there is a variation. Brut cava is a cava that is drier, and it tends to taste more like traditional champagne.
There are a couple of meats that are traditional to Spain, and they should be any everyone's list of foods to try.
Iberico Ham - Iberico ham is to Spain what prosciutto is to Italy. This ham has become a famous ingredient known well to world-class chefs as one of the best hams in the world. This ham can be served on its’ own or as an ingredient in a dish. It is cut thicker than prosciutto, so it is not as delicate and a little meatier.
Chorizo - Chorizo is a spicy sausage that is eaten in many different ways, including sliced up like salami or used as an ingredient in many dishes.
Manchego - This sheep's milk cheese pairs wonderfully with Iberico ham. It has a salty, earthy flavor to it, and it originated in the La Mancha region of Spain (hence the name). It is eaten throughout Spain with great popularity.
Dishes And Other Fare
Gazpacho - This is a chilled tomato soup that is incredibly satisfying on a hot Spanish summer day. It sometimes comes served with Pa amb tomàquet or with sides of croutons, red peppers, and onion. No matter how it is served, it's delicious.
Bocadillos - This is the Spanish version of a sandwich. They are made on baguettes that are soft and crusty all at the same time. You can choose the meat that you want on it, and then they are topped with multiple sauces and toppings that can include lentils, lettuce, corn, or cucumbers.
Seafood - Barcelona is located right on the Balearic Sea and just a stone's throw from the Mediterranean. This makes Barcelona a central place for fantastic seafood. One of the great dishes to try is the calamari and squid, which you can get either fried or grilled.
Bombas - Bombas are a combination of mashed potatoes and meat that are rolled in bread crumbs in the shape of a ball and fried. They usually come in two different sizes (like snack and meal size), and they are generally served with one aioli on top and another on the bottom.
Spanish Omelet - Not the breakfast omelet that is probably coming to your mind right now. This is an omelet that is eaten all day and can come in an individual size or larger and served in slices. It is filled with chunks of potatoes and onions and served with some type of aioli.
Pan Con Tomate (Pa Amb Tomaquet) - A bread that is served with many dishes in Barcelona. It is so popular that if you don't order it, many servers with ask you if you want it. It is a slice of bread topped with a rub of olive oil and tomato and a dash of salt. Everyone puts their own twist on the dish like some will toast the bread, and others will serve it with more chunks of tomato.
Croquettas - This is a dish that is a lot like the Bombas. Croquettas are filled with meat (usually chicken or iberico ham) and cheese. They are a long, oval shape.
Paella - the quintessential Spanish dish that is served in pretty much every international Spanish restaurant originated in the town of Valencia. It is considered to be a national dish by many Spaniards, and we would be amiss to not mention it here. Traditionally, it's a dark, smoky dish, quite rich, though toppings can vary. Often you will find pork, shrimp, lobster, spicy sausage, and beans in it just to name a few ingredients. One thing that is constant though is the socarrat - the crusty bottom edge created with the rice, that, when done right - is perfection in a mouthful.
One local tradition is to serve food in the small-plate style, so the portions are great for eating all day long - but make sure you know your serving sizes! A pintxos serving is a portion that is like a two-bite snack, and that is perfect for on the go. A tapas menu is going to be a bigger serving size that is meant for sharing amongst a couple of people.
Spain is a food lover's dream. Some fantastic restaurants and cafes line the streets, and all of the best Spanish fares are at a traveler's fingertips. It's a perfect city to wander, explore the streets, admire the architecture, and enjoy as much food as you can.
To check this trip off of your Bucket List - when the time is right to travel - reach out to me through email at Alicia@EveningStarTravel.ca, or by calling 587 772 2525. I am located in Sherwood Park, Alberta (a suburb of Edmonton), and am a Travel Advisor specializing in River Cruising, Beach Escapes, and Bucket List Vacations. I am the owner/operator of Evening Star Travel, and I book travel for clients all across Canada.