- By Lauren Heineck
- Filed in: Perfect Days
Bar Pinotxo, La Boqueria
What is a sobremesa?
Sobremesa is one of my favorite Spanish words, but it’s much more than a word, it’s a cultural act. In Spain people take their meals very seriously, hours can be spent at the dinner or lunch table chatting long after the plates have been cleared and the coffee has been served. It’s a time to bond with your guests, savor the moment without rushing and pragmatically, to digest your food. Overall it’s a wonderful and celebrated practice throughout Spain.
“I write about food, take pictures of food, think about food, turn every conversation into some topic of food, so it comes as no surprise when I’m in Barcelona, one of the food capitals of the world, I chow down. What I love about Catalan cuisine and the food culture of Barcelona is its determination to provide fresh, flavorful combinations to the masses at reasonable prices and with a slice of humility. Sure some have received Michelin stars, or can show off hundreds of press accolades adorned on the wall, but besides this, many continue to do what they set out to do decades ago. Setting an example for new chefs and young talent to follow in role-model fashion. Catalans have a very concrete culinary identity and I think this confidence shines through in their creations, meanwhile the patron walks away with a smile and without having this experience leave a whole in their wallet. Read the rest of this article…
Last Updated: 28th February 2019 – I intend to keep this post updated as people seem to find it useful and places keep moving or closing down. Any questions please leave a comment below.
Kitchen Shops in Barcelona
I realise kitchenware is not the most riveting of subjects for some but personally I do love a kitchen gadget. I like most gadgets, but as I’ve gotten older the kitchen gadget is my want. If I had a garden then I’m positive I’d like garden gadgets, but I have a 3m square terrace so the kitchen is my gadget domain.
Kitchen Shops in Barcelona: I’m not talking about shops selling fridges or dishwashers or whole kitchens. These are shops for people looking for that cool item that does a certain cooking task the perfect way. Or the perfect gift for a foodie friend. As well as of course great knives and cookware.
This started when I wanted to buy a Lékué Steam Case, one of those silicone jobs that can withstand the oven, the freezer, the dishwasher, and cats it seems. I thought I’d go on a little trawl of all the kitchen shops I knew and see what I could find. Read the rest of this article…
- By Chris Ciolli
- Filed in: Perfect Days
Rainy streets in Barcelona’s old town
“Blessed with a generally bright and sunny disposition, Barcelona is cursed with an excess of fair-weather friends with no appreciation for precipitation. Read: the doom and gloom of backlit cumulonimbus are not welcome here. While no one enjoys a drought (heaven forbid someone can’t fill their swimming pool), grousing about even mildly inclement weather is par for the course, said inclement weather including an overcast sky, and even the lightest of rains. Guiris and Catalans alike seem to prefer ultraviolet heat and sand in uncomfortable places to a spot of rain. But after seven years here, I can claim my perfect day in Barcelona as “pasado por lluvias”. Read the rest of this article…
- By Julie Sheridan
- Filed in: Perfect Days
Or, ‘How Julie hopscotches the brief altogether and rambles off on a total tangent’
A panoramic view of Barcelona from Tibidabo
“First off, I have to make a confession. Rob invited me to write my version of a perfect Barcelona day many moons ago, and it’s taken me an oddly long time to get my finger out and actually produce it. Yet I love writing, and I love writing about Barcelona, so why the dilatory tactics?
Well, apart from the plangent bawl of “it’s such a perfect day…” (god I hate that song) resounding in my thalamus, I think it’s that I’m struggling with the whole concept of perfection. It’s a concept kindred with fluency. Mention its name out loud and you’ve broken something sacrosanct.
Or maybe I’m over-thinking this. Hmmm. Bear with me here.
I tend to see the best of Barcelona, I’ve noticed, when I’m with other people. When I look back over the last year, highlights always involve some kind of shared experience. It could be workmates down the pub on a Friday night, a party on the beach till 5am or just those fleeting instants that end up shifting all sorts of dubious paradigms. Then, I imagine myself standing up on Tibidabo looking down over the city, viewing the cityscape through a kaleidoscope. Read the rest of this article…
- By Hildy
- Filed in: Out & About
Don Quixote rode into Barcelona in the 16th century
An article from Hildy Snow about the wild side of Barcelona literature.
Most discussions about Barcelona as a literary city inevitably end up with people mentioning two books: Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind and Ildefonso Falcones’ Cathedral of the Sea. Not to knock these books – they’re good reads – but there’s so much more to the city’s literary universe than these bestsellers and their Barcelona literary brand of Gothic mystique and historical weightiness. The Catalan capital’s literary life goes back much, much further. Beyond the post-war struggles of Mercè Rodoreda’s La Plaça del Diamant, beyond the Civil War battlefields of George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia. All the way back to Cervantes, whose Don Quixote and Sancho Panza rode into Barcelona in the 16th century. For eons, Barcelona has served as the literary scene of romance, love, betrayal, adventure, friendship, familial conflict, mystery, crime and war. Read the rest of this article…
- By Yvonne Duffield
- Filed in: Perfect Days
Baluard, c/ Baluard, 38-40
“My perfect day in Barcelona would begin with a sunrise walk on the beach. It’s so lovely and peaceful before the crowds arrive. Then I’d take a walk through Barceloneta Park and to the Baluard bakery (c/ Baluard, 38-40) for some fresh bread and breakfast pastries. There’s always a tempting range on offer here and the big challenge is trying to choose between all the different cakes and bread. Baluard bread is the best in the city, with people coming from all over to buy it, so I’m thrilled to have the bakery so close to where I live.
As soon as I’ve digested my breakfast, I’d go for a Turkish bath at Aire de Barcelona (Passeig de Picasso, 22). There’s nothing quite like submerging yourself in varying degrees of hot water and getting an exfoliating massage to set you up for the day ahead. Read the rest of this article…
- By David Leigh
- Filed in: Food & Drink
An article from David Leigh about the wonders of the winter calçotadas in Valls.
Calçots roasting during a calçotada
If you stop for a moment and think about food and Spain I bet you get no further than paella and tapas. However, while both of these can be good the quality, particularly of paella, can be quite variable as many of those served in fixed menu restaurants at lunchtime are pre-made.
And Spanish cooking doesn’t start and end with just those. In Barcelona these days you can find cuisine from all over the world. However, if you’re just visiting for a weekend or a few days then why eat what you can get at home when you can try something new.
One of my favourite times of the year in Catalonia, at least as far as food goes, is winter. While temperatures can really plunge, which takes many visitors by surprise, the food can make up for it. Boiled chicken with vegetables and chickpeas might not sound particularly interesting but it certainly warms you up in winter and makes a great tasting soup base when there is snow on the ground. Good as it is, its something you’ll find in the Catalan home rather than in a restaurant and so unlikely to be on the menu anyway. Read the rest of this article…