Whether you’re in Barcelona with friends, a loved one or alone, the Food Lovers Company food tour presents the perfect opportunity to connect with like-minded travellers whilst eating all the right dishes at all the right places in Barcelona’s best neighbourhoods.
As a food focussed traveller myself, I fully understand how difficult it can be to have an authentic gastro experience when you’re in a new city for the the first time.
Where to eat is an obvious dilemma, but what to eat is equally problematic. And don’t get me started on what to eat where!
Apart from scouring my blog, I highly recommend joining a food tour, especially if you’re short on time. There are lots of tours to choose from, so your decision should be based on the neighbourhoods you want to explore and the type of food (sorry to state the obvious) you want to eat.
Nuria and Margherita from Food Lovers Company offer an excellent introduction to classic Catalan cuisine and the route will take you through some of the most beautiful and picturesque backstreets of Barcelona’s old town.
And, most importantly, they’ll make sure you get to eat all the right dishes in all the right places, which is key to eating well in Spain because most little tapas bars and restaurants will have speciality dishes and it’s not always so clear what they are.
Connecting with Catalunya and the Fruits of the Mediterranean
Starting in the old fisherman’s quarter, which is probably my favourite place to “tapear” – hop from tapas bar to tapas bar – our tour started with classic Catalan fish tapas and vermouth. It doesn’t get any more authentic than this!
By the time I’d finished my first glass I was fully acquainted with my fellow food tourers, which included an American couple who had come ashore from their cruise holiday for a couple of days, and two other solo travellers, also from the USA, who were in Europe for the first time.
“It’s all about the base product,” explained our guide Nuria. “If the fish is good, if it’s fresh, then you don’t want to lose the flavour by cooking it with lots of other ingredients in a complicated recipe. In Spain, we want to taste each flavour…”
And this was evident in the grilled squid, served simply with a little olive oil, parsley and lemon juice, and the succulent artichoke hearts and spicy tostadas slathered in alioli.
Trust me, you’ve never tasted garlic that tastes so much like… well, garlic!
Strolling into the Gothic Quarter
With the vermouth pumping through our veins and garlic on our breathe, we followed Nuria over to the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter, talking all the while about the city’s various areas.
Squeezing into another tiny little bar, Nuria gave the nod to the barman. We said cheers again whilst enjoying anchovies and wine and good conversation.
Into the BornLa fiesta was in full swing by now and we were all chatting like old friends as we toured the streets from the Gothic Quarter to El Born, stopping to take photos of the remains of the old city walls.
We saw one the old markets, stopped for a quick platter of local cheeses from a cheese shop that Nuria added to the tour because she used to live next door. I had a blue cheese ice-cream, which was refined and sweet and way more enjoyable than you might imagine.
Yet more tapas followed at one of my very favourite tapas bars in Barcelona. It’s the kind of place you can just ask the waiters for recommendations and everything that they suggest is somehow exactly what you were hoping for. And the wine… oh, the wine!
We finished the tour with horchata and ice creams and a spontaneous history lesson form Nuria at Born’s important Cultural Centre. We exchanged numbers and parted ways, a sense of warmth and satisfaction flowing through me.
Make it Happen
Book the tour. Explore more of Barcelona’s historic areas. Eat authentic Spanish and Catalan cuisine in the right places without getting ripped off. Make new friends. Drink local wine. Connect.