There is a new food tour in town: Devour Barcelona. It comes from the folks who started the terrifically successful Madrid Food Tour. It offers a 4 hour tour of Gràcia, one of my favourite neighborhoods. There is no paella and obviously no visit to the Boqueria market, instead we visit 1o addresses, the majority of which do not have a website and have never heard of social media.
Of course, since we are in Barcelona, where shopping for food is an art and an integral part of socializing that takes the better part of the morning, 6 days a week – there is a market visit. The Mercat de L’Abaceria Central is made up of a few earnest shoppers. We are the exception, crowding around to try a salt cod skewer from Gloria. Then picking at a tray of cheeses and cured meats from La Trobada del Gourmet – including a Manchego that won the World Cheese Award. A few shoppers stop and stare at us like we are some rare animal, clearly, they are not accustomed to hordes of tourists taking pictures of cheese and snails with their smartphones.
Or olive oil, like we do at Oli Sal where we get to try the olive oil that Albert Adria is currently serving in his restaurants.
Even though we started the day at 10 am with a large butifarra sandwich and a coupe of champagne (the wide necked kind that invites you to spill champagne liberally when you’ve had too much) we are already feeling like we could have something else. That something else turns out to be the bomb in the form of a “Bomba” at L’Anxoveta, a local tapas joint.
There is a Syrian pastry shop where I happily gobble up a sweet pastry stuffed with mild cheese after announcing to the group that I don’t like Arabic pastries. (What do I know?) Then it’s Vermut o’clock. We visit a place called C’al Pep (not the Cal Pep of international fame on which Barrafina is based) but another local that belonged to a guy named Pep. There, a few bags of chips are torn open and doused with Espinaler sauce to accompany squat glasses of vermouth. We find room for a couple of meatballs from a local deli and finish off the tour with a bite sized crema catalana tartlet.
There is nothing wrong with the Boqueria – except that you have to dodge the buskers trying to sell you bird whistles (why?) and that every second stall now seems to be selling pressed juices and fruit salads. But it’s a little bit like buying an Eiffel tower miniature to remind you of Paris when Paris is so much more. Similarly, Barcelona is not just the Ramblas, paella and the Boqueria. It is so much more and this tour lifts the curtain on a tiny corner of it. Enough to whet your appetite for more I’d say.
Twitter – DevourBarcelona
€65 pp inclusive of 21% tax
* I was invited on this tour by Devour Barcelona.