Spain is separated into 17 regions and each one has their own language, traditions and foods. In Barcelona menus and signs are printed in Catalan, which is a language that falls somewhere between Spanish (known as Castilian) and French. One of my favorite experiences was the cooking class I booked from the internet before leaving home. On the day of our lesson we ran through the maze of streets in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter until we found the hidden corridor with the cooking school. Our instruction in Catalan cooking began with a market tour led by two Spanish chefs. We learned all about local products as well as market scams (fresh fish should never be piled up, they should be spread out over ice). Eating seasonally is a way of life for Spaniards. Cherries are three Euros per kilo in season and 100 Euros per kilo out of season (a kilo is about 2 pounds). It’s the same for much of their produce. Happily it was tomato season while I was there.
A visit to Boqueria Market:
Freshly laid unpasteurized eggs
I came back for a strawberry mango coconut version the next day
The cooking class menu: gazpacho topped with idiazabal cheese and a parsley walnut pesto, potato tortilla (which is kind of like an omlette), seafood paella and Catalan cream (a Spanish creme brulee).
Traditional Catalan bread
Toast the bread (stale bread can be used). Leave the peel on one garlic clove and cut it in half. Scrape the open end over the toasted bread a few times. Cut a tomato in half. Rub the just sliced part on the bread so that the juice and seeds spread on the bread. Drizzle with olive oil and then cut bread into strips. Enjoy at any meal.
A shot of gazpacho