Calling all the foodies out there, this is your shot! Are you looking for a food paradise and an opportunity to diversify your palette? Well, I’ve got just the place for you: Barcelona, Spain!
International travel allows people to gain a new appreciation for other cultures of the world, and a big part of any culture is the cuisine. The food of a region reflects its history, geographical location, and resources available. Barcelona sits on the northeastern coast of Spain on the Balearic Sea, while the food fare in the city represents a colorful history and its' centralized location (with respect to northern Africa and the Mediterranean).
Here are some of the great foods (and a couple of drinks) that all travelers (and foodies) definitely need to indulge in!
Let's kick this list off with a couple of great drinks that anyone traveling to Barcelona will need to try.
Sangria- Everyone knows that you must try a great glass of Sangria, especially because it’s a satisfying refreshment for a hot day. The great thing about Sangria is that every restaurant and Sangria maker has a different take on it. Some places will even offer up to 6 different varieties on their menu!
Cava- This is the sparkling wine of Spain. It's usually sweeter, but there is a variation, Brut Cava, that's drier, and it tends to taste more like traditional champagne.
There are a couple of traditional meats to Spain, and they should be on everyone's list of foods to try.
Iberico Ham- Iberico ham is to Spain what prosciutto is to Italy (*chef’s kiss*). This ham has become a famous ingredient known well to world-class chefs as one of the best hams in the world. It can be served alone or as an ingredient in a dish. Thicker than prosciutto, Iberico Ham is not as delicate and a little meatier.
Chorizo- Chorizo is a spicy sausage prepared in several ways, including sliced up like salami or used as an ingredient in many dishes.
Manchego - This sheep's milk cheese pairs well with Iberico ham, and it has a salty, earthy flavor. Manchego originated in the La Mancha region of Spain (hence the name) and currently enjoys widespread popularity in Spain.
Dishes And Other Fare
Gazpacho- This is a chilled tomato soup that’s incredibly satisfying on a hot Spanish summer day. It sometimes comes served with Pa amb tomàquet or with sides of croutons, red peppers, and onion. No matter how it’s prepared, it’s delicious!
Bocadillos- This is the Spanish version of a sandwich. They’re made on baguettes that are soft and crusty all at the same time. You can choose the meat you want, and then they’re topped with multiple sauces and toppings that can include lentils, lettuce, corn, or cucumbers.
Seafood- Barcelona is located near the Balearic Sea and just a stone's throw from the Mediterranean. Due to its location, Barcelona is a central place for fantastic seafood. One of the great dishes to try is the calamari and squid, which you can get fried or grilled.
Bombas- Bombas are a combination of mashed potatoes and meat rolled into breadcrumbs in the shape of a ball and fried. They usually come in two different sizes (typically snack and meal size) and are generally served with one aioli on top and another on the bottom.
Spanish Omelet- Not the breakfast omelet that is probably coming to your mind right now; this is an omelet eaten all day and can come in an individual size or larger and served in slices. It’s filled with chunks of potatoes and onions and served with some type of aioli.
Pa Amb Tomaquet- A bread that is served with many dishes in Barcelona. It’s so popular that many servers will ask you if you want it if you don't order it. It’s a slice of bread topped with a rub of olive oil and tomato and a dash of salt. Everyone puts their twist on the dish, such as toasting the bread, and others will serve it with more chunks of tomato.
Croquettas- This is a dish that is a lot like the Bombas. Croquettas are filled with meat (usually chicken or Iberico ham) and cheese. They’re a long, oval shape.
Paella- Would this be a list of Barcelona cuisine without Paella? If you’re unfamiliar with this dish, it typically includes broth, rice, saffron (giving it the traditional gold color), chicken or seafood, and a wide range of produce and garnish. Paella is prepared in a large shallow pan and forms a crust known as socarrat, adding the final touch to a distinct flavor profile.
Spain can be a food lover's dream. Some fantastic restaurants and cafes line the streets, and many of the best Spanish fares are at a traveler's fingertips. They love to serve their food in the small-plate style, so the portions are perfect for eating all day long. One thing that you need to be aware of is the different serving size options. A pintxos serving is a portion that is like a two-bite snack (ideal for on-the-go). A tapas menu will be a bigger serving size meant for sharing amongst a couple of people.
Make your next foodie vacation a destination for you and set up a consultation with me. I’m looking forward to hearing about all the food you want to try!