Dine al fresco or dive into a welcoming bistro; spend hours wandering around markets or discover local secrets on a food tour. If you fancy eating in Michelin starred restaurants or snack on street food, Kimberly shares her top tips. With pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds, Autumn is the perfect time for a city break foodie adventure. In a four part series Kimberly Button will explore Europe’s freshest culinary destinations which make for a perfect gourmet Autumn break. This week we explore Barcelona.
Spain is huge in the culinary world and the port city of Barcelona, which sits on the main thoroughfare between the Iberian Peninsula and Europe, has forged a strong presence on the international food map. The city’s historic Catalan gastronomy is influenced by a wide range of cultures, such as Balearic, Valencian and Southern French cuisine. Eating is a respected social activity in Catalonia, and despite Barcelona being a fast-paced modern city, the pace slows down between 2 and 4pm, when families and office workers head home to eat or crowd into local eateries for a three course menú del día.
During autumn the city goes mushroom mad, with an abundance of festivals and markets dedicated to the fungus, and the streets fill with the smell of roasted chestnuts as stalls pop up to roast them on open fires. Before you begin eating and drinking your way through Barcelona’s streets and intimate neighbourhoods, it’s useful to do some research as certain areas are known for particular food types. For example, if searching for good old fashioned Catalan cooking, head to the centre of the Barri Gòtic quarter, or if you’re dreaming of Mediterranean seafood head to Barceloneta.
The Catalan festival of La Castanyada runs from the end of October to the start of November and is an opportunity to try Panellets (round marzipan cakes), smoky roasted Boniatos (sweet potatoes) and the fragrant Calabaza pumpkin soup.
Mushroom foraging is a Catalan tradition and sees tonnes of varieties harvested in autumn and then flame roasted at food markets. In October the Mushroom and Medicinal Herb Festival (Castellterçol) centres on a fair, with various exhibitions, mushroom tasting and competitions. To taste mushroom delicacies try Casa Lucio (Calle Viladomat 59, Sant Antoni), a husband and wife run restaurant with a fresh, market-driven menu. For more wild fungus, plus sausages, cheese and honey, the Mercat del Bolet de Cal Rosal (wild mushroom market) takes place in Cal Rosal (Olvan , Berguedà).
Join a Devour Barcelona food tour to hear ancient tales about the city’s culinary heritage, and discover the food hubs where the locals shop, eat and drink. A Spanish cooking course, where you learn how to create delicious tapas and the country’s famous paella dish, is a great afternoon for a group of friends or a gourmet hen party.
There is no shortage of hotels with Michelin star restaurants in Barcelona, try ABaC restaurant & Hotel, Cram Hotel or Ohla Hotel. For a B&B with an excellent breakfast, book a room at Anba Bed & Breakfast Deluxe.
About the writer:
As a writer and digital consultant to travel brands, Kimberly shares her passion for off the beaten track adventures. Currently she lives and writes from her home in the French Alps.