Thursday, April 08, 2010
Food Glorious Food: Part I, La Bocqueria
Some people might hear "Barcelona" and think history, football, architecture, religion.... I think food. Don't get me wrong, Barcelona has all of those things and more, but Barcelona is a Mecca for good food too. In this first installment (one of three entries coming), I want to share with you La Bocqueria, one of the most famous markets in all the world. A farmer's market has existed in Barcelona from at least 1217, but the indoor structure with stalls for fish mongers and vegetable stand, butchers and cheese mongers began in 1840. With nearly 300 vendors, there is little you cannot find at La Bocqueria whether it is a kid goat head (eyeballs included), fresh fish from the Mediterranean, a rainbow array of fruit smoothies, freshly roasted coffee, and much more.
Here you can see one of my favorite stops in La Boqueria, the pork store. See those pig legs hanging above my head. Yeah, that's jamon serano. Over my left shoulder are rows and rows of chorizo, and in the case is everything from trotters to pork loin. Needless to say, I was in heaven.
Fish is everywhere at La Boqueria, whether is is fresh bocalao (cod) like that pictures here or the salted variety, there is plenty to go around. We saw octopus and tons of calamari (squid).
Maybe the most impressive sight of all was the fish monger pictured below. Wielding that massive blade, she filleted and skinned those pescados in a single fluid motion, then chopped them into tapas sized portions and wrapped them up. It was performance art, and I would have paid for the show.
Not to be left out, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout La Boqueria. Beautiful red
tomatoes in ever shape and size are very popular, possibly because bread smeared with fresh tomato is a national dish in Catalunya.
One vendor had baskets containing thirteen different varieties of mushrooms.
Salt Cod, a favorite in Barcelona.
Whole calamari, delicious.
Some beautiful red peppers.
The real beauty of La Boqueria is that locals can shop there every day, bringing home everything they need for a gourmet meal. Nothing is every frozen or stale or rotten. It is only the freshest, most wonderful selection of deliciousness known to man. Whether it is foie gras (God's gift to carnivores), a handful of fruit jellies, or a bottle of the fruitiest olive oil, La Boqueria has what you crave.