A GUIDE TO THE BEST STALLS OF LA BOQUERIA IN BARCELONA
Awesome morning spent today at the famous La Boqueria market in Barcelona! I was invited by Let’s Bonus Barcelona to one of their gatherings for local bloggers: a private tour of La Boqueria Food Market led by Isidre Gironés, owner of the renowned Ca l’Isidre Catalan restaurant.
Despite giving my own tour of La 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 Mercat de la Boqueria:
Everyone wants Spanish Ham, but they are lost when it comes to buying it. In this shop of La Boqueria 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 salty! actually, really good ham is almost sweet).
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.
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!
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!
Finally, he took us to an all-times favorite of mine at the Mercat de la Boqueria: 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 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 Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona. 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!
And that’s just the highlights of the 2 hours we spent with Mr. Isidre at La Boqueria 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 tour guide 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.
Have you been to La Boqueria in Barcelona?
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