Recommended stalls in the Boqueria market (Mercat de la Boqueria)
Awesome morning spent today at the famous Boqueria market in Barcelona! I was invited by Let’s Bonus Barcelona to one of their Original Plans: a private tour of the Boqueria Food Market led by Isidre Gironés, owner of the renowned Ca l’Isidre Catalan restaurant.
Despite giving my own tour of the Boqueria Market (Mercat de la Boqueria) and being already familiar with the market stalls and vendors, I can’t compare to such a master that has been coming to this Barcelona open market to buy produce for his restaurant daily for over 40 years. It was an honor to learn from him. Moltes gràcies!
Mr. Isidre’s favorite shops at the Boqueria food market:
Mas Gourmet. Everyone wants Spanish Ham, but they are lost when it comes to buying it. In this shop of the Boqueria Food Market you can compare the different qualities and origin denominations, and find out by yourself. A tip: look (at the fat streaks), smell (its slightly wooden aroma) and taste (it doesn’t have to be saulty! actually, really good ham is almost sweet).
Peña. This gorgeous grocery is the only place in the market where you’ll find the Swiss Kanzy apples, according to Mr. Isidre, the best of the best. He also showed us a dozen different types of tomatoes, as well as seasonal fruit such as persimmon, and some gorgeous snow peas. Artichokes were still too hard for Mr. Isidre’s taste, though!
Peix Pili. From all the fish market area, Mr. Isidre seem to prefer this one and Peix Puri above all the other. We learned the difference between turbot and brill, discussed how to tell which fish is fresher, and we even got to see where to buy fresh baby eels. Not to speak of the live lobsters and scampi, who are spawning now.
El Mas del Mercader. This gorgeous olive oil shop is right off the market building, under the column portico. Mr. Isidre explained that virgin oil is good to eat raw, but not to fry, and recommended to use oil from the olive variety espeltre for cooking, as its flavor is very mild. We also tasted the gourmet vinegar Forum, made with cabernet sauvignon grapes. Beautiful!
Petràs. Finally, he took us to an all-times favorite of mine at the Boqueria Food Market: possibly the very best mushroom store in Barcelona. Today they had some beautiful ceps, so he explained how to prepare a cep carpaccio (I couldn’t stop myself from buying some for tonight’s dinner!). Chanterelles, black trumpets and of course morels looked gorgeous too.
And that’s just the highlights of the 2 hours we spent with Mr. Isidre at the Boqueria Food Market (also called Mercat de Sant Josep). We also visited the game and poultry shop at Avinova, the species at Morilla… and here and there we were crossing people who stopped him to say him (and to express their surprise that today I wasn’t being the tourguide but the guest!). It was a lovely morning, and I’m sure that from now on my tours of the market will have an even more insider touch.
AND BONUS! Want to know the most unique shop in the market?
Rosa, the offal stall. This family-owned shop is one of the most surprising shops at the Boqueria Food Market. You’ll find here all kind of animal insides: head, brain, liver, 3 types of cow tripe… even bull testicles! But if you are an adventurous eater you can also buy some of the ready-made dishes prepared by the owner!
So what about you? Have you been to the Boqueria market in Barcelona? Leave a comment about your experience!