A Traditional Catalan Lunch

On our second day in Barcelona- Tuesday, June 21st, we went to La Boqueria. La Boqueria is a large public market within Barcelona that puts all other markets I’ve visited to shame. We had the honor of meeting with the manager of the market, where he took about an hour of his day to explain the 11 centuries of history behind this market as well as how it is utilized today.

What makes this market so unique is its wide range of products and targeted customers. We were told that the market doesn’t have one specific, target consumer. One could visit the market for cheap, affordable produce, or to find a fruit of higher quality. The prices are reasonable based on the quality you expect of the product. For example, if you just want a simple cheese, it will be affordable. If you’re looking for something a bit more fancy for a dinner party, the more expensive cheeses will have the quality you’re looking for without an extravagant price.

After touring around the market, my teacher split us into five groups (the leader of each group being someone in our class who could speak Spanish). She then assigned each group a region of Spain, and instructed us to go into the market, find one cheese and one other good from that region, and to meet back outside the market in 15 minutes.

My group found ourselves with a type of goat cheese and strawberries, both commonly produced in the southern region of Spain (Andalucia) that we were assigned.

What happened next may go down in history as one of my favorite “in class” moments of all time.

We gathered in a circle with our five cheeses and five local products, and my professor (hi Lisa if you’re still reading this!) brought out two bottles of wine to pass around. Group by group, we explained what we had learned in the short time about our assigned region and explained our foods. Then, our goods were passed and shared. Additionally, we passed around the bottle of wine, everyone taking as long of a swig as they wanted.

It was a really great way to get a “taste” of Spain and to get out of the sun for a bit.

Next, we headed over to Pirinev en Boca for a traditional, Catalan lunch.

Depicted below is about as classic as a Catalon lunch can begin- minus my water. On the left is pan con tomate, a dish we enjoyed with just about every meal during our time in Spain. To the right is various sausages and cheeses. To describe a few, the dark sausage is a blood sausage, the smaller red sausages were of a similar texture to pepperonis, and the white were made from an egg base.

On the top of the picture below was a meatball with an eggplant based sauce. It was SO savory and delicious. Next to it was something I could describe as like an enchilada- cheesy, meaty, amazing.

We also enjoyed roasted duck with pears. The duck was tender, but not my favorite meal.

This is a cod dish we had.

We finished the meal with a crème brûlée. This was absolutely delicious- I now have a much stronger appreciation for this dessert after having it twice on this trip, in two different forms.

Pictured below is the other dessert, I would describe it like a fry bread- airy, crsipy and sweet, paired with small cookies that tasted like a waffle cone.

The dessert was paired with shots of a stronger wine.

After the meal, we headed over to Sagrada Família and were given an hour long tour by a well informed Catalan woman. This was absolutely breathtaking. The tour guide said that the construction of this should be done by 2026, to mark the 100th year anniversary of the designer, Antoni Gaudi.

After our tour of Sagrada Família, we were exhausted. However, we wanted to see as much as we could during our short time in Barcelona. We split from our class and used our free time to take the metro to the Gaudi houses. The one below is my favorite.

Everyday in Barcelona was notable, and incredible. After just two days in the city, I couldn’t believe all that I had saw, done, and eaten. I can’t help but feel so incredibly thankful for each day I have spent in Europe- I have already gained such a strong appreciation for cultures across many countries, and it has been an amazing experience thus far.

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