Barcelona, being the capital of Catalonia, is a gourmet hub for foodies and wine-lovers. Its collection of Michelin starred restaurants is impressive, and its series of avant-garde wine bars, specialty olive oil and chocolate shops enticing and best of all, Barcelona is home to some of the top food markets in Spain.
There are over 40 food markets in the city, with the most famous being La Boquería. Located along the city’s bustling main street La Rambla, the sprawling market gyrates with vigor and energy every morning. The air in the market smells of fresh herbs, cured meat and seafood while the intoxicating colors of the products on sale are blindingly beautiful.
Today, La Boqueria still functions as a wet market, providing fresh produce for the best restaurants in the area. Even though it is a popular tourist destination, it has lost little of its authenticity and charm. For the foodies, a gourmet and market tour to La Boqueria is essential. Fit it into your 3-day Barcelona itinerary and you’re sure to fall in love with the city in no time.
Several tour operators organize this food and market walking tour as a day-trip (usually includes a meal) or a two-hour tour. Some recommended operators include Gourmand Breaks, Viator and Cellartours. Tours are conducted in both English and Spanish.
These tours usually start with the market walking tour, guiding you through several of the city’s architectural marvels along the way. The expert culinary guide will lead you around the best booths and you will taste some of the best local seasonal produce such as jamon (cured ham), cheese and olives. What makes La Boqueria market different from other markets in Spain is the amount of local produce found here: from the most expensive truffles (at 4000euros/kg) to typical Catalonian spring onions and the organic ingredients.
If you’re lucky, you might be served a glass of a fine brut nature cava with a tapa of Chantrelle mushrooms, or fresh cockles, squid or maybe even scrambled eggs with wild asparagus. Some tours will include sampling of the best Spanish cheeses at a charming local cheese shop paired with some excellent Priorat wine.
Most cooking classes conducted in Barcelona include a guided tour to La Boqueria market. A highly-recommended cooking school is Cook and Taste. It organizes a 5-hour cooking class that gives you hands-on experience and provides tons of information on local gastronomy.