With spring in sniffing distance, the independent tour operators are stretching out their limbs after their winter slumber in preparation for showing you Barcelona their way.
The Catalan Gastronomy tour is a newbie to the market, seeing a new angle for a food tour: the journey and transformation of rustic dishes like croquetas and paella to the modernistic dishes influenced by Catalunya’s most famous export after Messi: Ferran Adria.
After his tenure as the mascot of Haute cuisine, Barcelona and Spain as a whole became emboldened to give the classics a twist, sometimes a more vigorous wrench. Patatas bravas will never be the same.
The tour takes place in the somewhat less visited area of Sant Antoni which some, including the man himself, refer to as elBarri Adrià because it is home to no fewer than 6 Adrià restaurants.
All Barcelona food tours should include a market. The city has close to 40 municipal markets to choose from and locals still use them daily. Catalan Gastronomy tour picks the temporarily displaced Mercat Sant Antoni as theirs. This is a market largely unblemished by tourists. Butchers sell offal, poultry vendors ask if you want to keep the chicken feet (yes you do, it will make an unctuous soup if you cook them long enough). Our tour group navigates older Catalans and their upright shopping trolleys, stopping frequently to try various Jamons and cheeses.
As well as food, the various drinking traditions get a look in, we get to taste locally produced wine, vermouth and cava.
There are plenty of traditional experiences like drinking from a poron but these are interspersed with the new generation of tapas bars and local bistros. Food and history are never static, they change constantly and this tour chooses to shed some light on what the new generation of cooks and restaurateurs are doing with their neighborhood restaurant. For example, the popular dish of pulpo usually served simply on a bed of paprika sprinkled potatoes is reborn as crispy bites of octopus on a potato foam.
With its Sant Antoni location, the tour offers a more realistic view of what day to day shopping and eating in the city is like. Plenty of drink, plenty of food and a little history to boot.
Catalan Gastronomy Food Tour
89€ per person all food and drink included (there is a lot!)
Tour lasts 3.5 to 4 hours.
*I took part in the Catalan Gastronomy Food Tour as part of a press trip. The views expressed in this post are my own.