Where better to get to the heart of a city than in its markets? Intrepid’s Jacqueline Donaldson discovers in Spain that amidst the frenzy of buying and selling activity, this is where you can instantly get to know the locals and enjoy many regional delicacies…
“I thought the farmers’ markets in my hometown of Melbourne were fantastic for local produce and delicious creations (they are), but when I walked into Barcelona’s La Boqueria market, I think I died and went to heaven. The market has been operational since the 1200s, so you know they’re doing something right, and the sheer variety of ingredients – much of it sourced locally – is a food-lover’s dream.
For the short time we were in Barcelona, we started our mornings at a small coffee bar nestled within the market, which gave us a great view of the stalls waking up and allowed us to enjoy small (very small) talk with a band of chatty locals.
Fueled by a stiff espresso and one of the delicious pastry-like creations that the Spanish do so well, we’d wander around these colourful markets oooing and ahhing over the foods we saw (to the chuckles and smiles of the stallholders). It was great fun to buy a selection of snacks and a cocktail of juice to sustain our morning explorations of this enigmatic city.
And while an exploration of La Boqueria is the only way to truly capture what the atmosphere of this market is really like, I think Ferran Adria, considered one of the best chefs in the world, says it best: “La Boqueria is a gastronomic temple, a place that congregates all the phases in the food chain, from the producers, harvesters, butchers and fishmongers who provide the food, to the individual and professional clients who wander through this magnificent, characteristic maze of traders in charge of the market stalls.”
For information on Intrepid’s Real Food Adventure – Northern Spain trip, created in collaboration with Intrepid Foodie Sarah Stothart, as well as other tasty trips in the Intrepid Food Adventures range, check out intrepidtravel.com/food.
* photo by Ben Brown – Intrepid Photography Competition