What Should Be On Your Plate As A First Time Visitor To Barcelona Spain?

Here Is A List Of Eats That You Surely Have A Bite As A First Time Touristy To Barcelona Spain.

As a first time touristy to Barcelona Spain, you might get spooked away after taking a look at the menu offered by one of the attendants serving in a restaurant or a Bar that you might hit. The sight of a tinge of embarrassment running across your face is inevitable to imagine specifically when it is your first course of meal at an eatery in Barcelona. This is inevitable because understanding and inferring the condiments and other ingredients that form a part of a preparation is something that is just unimaginable.

Barcelona, the capital city of Catalonia is perfectly located on the shores of Mediterranean and therefore has preparations to offer that combine meat and fish on the same plate, they call it the Mar i Montanya (Ocean and Mountain) theme. Apart from rich cultural history having glorious architecture and stunning beaches, Barcelona attracts touristy for its culinary that is distinct in itself and certainly leaves an overwhelming impact.

So to give you a taste of it, we have listed the best of typical Catalan Cuisine in as simple words as we can to make you feel comfortable with the Spanish Menu the first time you visit Barcelona.

1. Bread Rubbed With Tomatoes and Olive Oil – Pa Amb Tomaquet

Pa Amb Tomaquet

Photo Credit: www.theflavorsofspain.com

Pa Amb Tomaquet is all about Bread, Tomatoes, Olive Oil and Salt. The Bread is toasted on both the sides drizzling generously in Olive Oil. The Tomato, that is cut in half, is rubbed onto the bread until the bread gets moistened. Sometimes garlic is also rubbed onto the bread before rubbing the tomato. Lastly, the salt is sprinkled. The Catalans cannot even consider having butter with bread as having bread rubbed with Tomatoes is one savory that they have been relishing for years that they cannot substitute with the very elementary bread and butter.

Chef’s Word: This colorful and appealing recipe was the first meal that the American Culinary writer Steven Raichlen had in Barcelona. He has shared his experience of how this rudimentary recipe is prepared and served in Barcelona through a piece of writing that he did for the Food and Wine Magazine.

2. Spiced Sausages With Mushrooms – Butifarra Con Setas

Butifarra Con Setas
Photo Credit: https://cocinadiaadia.wordpress.com

One of the most savored preparations of the Catalan Cuisine is the Mild Pork Sausage together with spices, known as Butifarra, that comes in a lot of varieties. Butifarra is used as an ingredient in a lot of dishes but the main ingredients that go into the preparation of Butifarra Con Setas are the Butifarra itself, browned mushrooms, toasted peanuts, stewed onions and sweet raisins. The aroma of the Butifarra is quite overpowering as the fat from the Mild Sausage percolates on cooking and the Mushrooms act as starlets in this recipe, no doubt why Catalans love Butifarras as much as mushrooms.

Chef’s Word: You certainly need to take a look at the recipe of Catalan Sausage With Mushrooms by Jose Andres, who is a renowned Spanish-American Chef awarded with honors of the highest orders  and a culinary innovator who is the owner of the ThinkFoodGroup, a team that is well-known for dining concepts. This article was covered by the Wall Street Journal and it highlights the story of how the recipe of Butifarra Con Setas became a huge success with the diners at Jaleo, the Chef’s Washington DC, Tapas Restaurant.

3. Catalan Roasted Vegetables With Anchovies – Escalivada Con Anchoas

Escalivada Con Anchoas
Photo Credit: Carlos Jimenez at www.flickr.com

Another traditional Catalan dish is Smoky Grilled Vegetables that is served with Anchovies,  which are small shoaling fishes that are strongly flavored and are usually preserved in salt and oil. In the Catalan region, they call it Escalivada Con Anchoas. Escalivada is derived from the Catalan verb escalivar, which means to roast the vegetables in the embers of firewood. This is quite a simple dish that is prepared from roasted tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and onions and can be had as a main course or side dish. The vegetables are being peeled after being roasted and are then topped with cured anchovies.

Chef’s Word: Have a look at the recipe of Escalivada Con Anchoas from a passionate gastronomad and expert on Spanish regional and haute cuisine, Annie Sibonney. She is the host of an intimate food adventure series “From Spain With Love” wherein she brings viewers closer to the rich and diverse culinary culture of Spain. Check out what she has to say about the way this dish should be prepared.

4. Sweet Onions – Calcots

Photo Credit: http://cbarcelona.net

Well, to know what Calcots are, one should really be a part of the Calcotada, an annual event that takes place in Tarragona, Catalonia to celebrate the harvest of Calcots. Calcots are sweet onions from the town of Valls, near Tarragona and are the typical food of the region. Thousands of Calcots are stashed and are grilled over a flaming barbecue. Once the outer layer of the Calcots is charred or turns a bit black in color, they are wrapped in newspaper, which makes them tender. The Charred Calcots are then served on terra-cotta tiles instead of plates as the tiles keep the Calcots warm. The charred layer of Calicots is first peeled and then can be had with Romesco sauce.

Chef’s Word: Jose Andres , the renowned Spanish-American Chef shares his experience of the Calcotada Festival with Esquire Magazine. As an experienced hand, he narrates how the Calcots should be prepared and also gives the recipe of the Romesco Sauce, a sauce prepared from nuts and red bell pepper, with which one can have the charred Calcots.

Also have a look at the piece of writing shared by Chloe Scott-Moncrieff, a Food and Drink journo and YBF Awards co-founder, with Independent online magazine where she shared her experience about the Calcotada festival and her stay at Catalonia.

5. Salted Cod Salad – Esqueixada De Bacalao

Esqueixada De Bacalao
Photo Credit: http://recetasdemimadreymias.blogspot.in

For people who love the Salted Cod, a Marine Cold-Water Fish, as they value it for its edible flesh, oil of its liver and the mild flavor of its flesh, Esqueixada De Bacalao is a must have dish. This is one of the classics of the Catalan cuisine that comprises of desalted, torn, dried and Salted Cod married with tomatoes, onions, olives and red and green bell peppers. Usually to prepare this salad, one needs to start a day before as the Salted Cod Fish is soaked in cold water to eliminate the salt. The dried and torned Cod pieces when combined with other ingredients accentuates the flavor of the fish the most.

Chef’s Word: Bobbie Hasselbring, who is Editor of Real Food Traveler, an online travel-food magazine and web community dedicated to sharing information about authentic regional foods around the world, shares the recipe of Chef Juame Brichs for this dish.

Also have a look at the recipe shared by Andy Harris , who  was the Editorial Director of Australian Gourmet Traveler, and is currently the editor of Jamie Oliver’s Jamie magazine on Gourmet Traveler.

6. Pasta Combined With Fresh Seafood – Fideua

Photo Credit: http://thefulltimefoodie.com

The origin of this approachable and delicious Catalan dish has a very hilarious tale attached to it. A Spanish Fisherman Juan Bautista, who was on board with three other fishermen, was assigned the task of preparing meals and cooking food for the rest of the crew as he was the youngest amongst all. A constant problem that haunted the crew was that the owner of the ship was so fond of rice that he would eat much more than his fair share leaving the other crew members with growling stomachs. So Juan substituted rice with noodles thinking that enough would be left for him as well as the other crew members.

But that didn’t happen. Instead the owner loved the new dish and the dish became quite a hit in the Valencia region. Fideua has pasta as the base and is a seafood dish. The ingredients of the dish vary according to the taste of the cook, from monkfish, cuttlefish or squid to crustaceans such as crayfish, prawns or mantis shrimp.

Chef’s Word: The recipe of Fideua is perfectly articulated by David Tanis, the author of “ A Platter Of Figs” , “Heart Of The Artichoke”, and “One Good Dish”. He writes the weekly NYTimes Dining column, City Kitchen.

7. Catalana Cream – Crema Catalana

Crema Catalana
Photo Credit: http://perfectomiami.com

If you really want to go for an after meal food indulgence, you must have Crema Catalana. It’s a Catalan version cream that is made from egg yolks, orange zest, cinnamon sticks, milk and vanilla pod. First the creamy custard is prepared by combining orange zest, vanilla pod and egg yolks with milk and cornflour and then this custard is refrigerated in ramekins. Then each ramekin is sprinkled with sugar which is then caramelized using a kitchen torch. The Crema Catalana is the most typical dessert of Catalonia and is recognized for its simple preparation, originality and taste world over.

Chef’s Word: Just take a look at how Chef Jośe Pizzaro , who has worked at some of the London’s most prestigious Spanish Restaurants including Eyre Brothers, Brindisa and Gaudi, prepares Crema Catalana which is slightly different from the usual. Also take a note of the recipe detailed by Ingrid Hoffmann who is a Colombian-American television personality and restaurateur, who hosts the Food Network series Simply Delicioso .

8. Romesco Sauce

Romesco Sauce
Photo Credit: http://www.bonappetit.com

The famous Romesco Sauce is a Catalan sauce that is most often prepared with red pepper, almonds, bread and good oil. The sauce tastes great with any grilled meat or fish. This sauce was originated in the city of Tarragona and has many variations to it.

Chef’s Word: See how Joshua Bousel , who writes about grilling and barbecue on Meatwave Blog, puts all the ingredients into a food processor with olive oil and describes the recipe to prepare this sauce on Serious Eats.

This list is just an elementary list for a person who visits Barcelona Spain for the first time and wants to savor the local cuisine. There are certainly other preparations too that a visitor must try, but leaving out on the dishes in the list above as a first time touristy to Spain would be like missing out on some of the rudimentary eats of the Catalan Cuisine.

About the Author: Akanksha

Akanksha Bajaj is the Editorial Assistant for Shopholicx.com. She is a B.Com Honours graduate and has done masters in Marketing and Finance. She started her career with Deloitte, Hyderabad, India working for the Securitisation Service Line. Since she was really good in romanticizing and penning her thoughts and articulating them well, throughout this period she used to get appreciation and encouragement for her writings and articles that she had been writing. So finally Shopholicx was the right place to hit to follow her passion.

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