Food, Food, Food!!!!! By far one of the most memorable things about Barcelona is the marketplace.
It is an exploration of food for the whole family and offers an array of pastry, meats, cheeses, olives, seafood and drink. The marketplace is accessible from the main drag of Barcelona- Las Ramblas. Our hotel happened to be on Las Ramblas and once we discovered La Boqueria, we explored daily. My son was in awe of all the seafood brought in fresh daily on ice. My daughter, very picky, even found a candy section of the marketplace!
I woke up every morning craving their coffee and fresh made chocolate croissants. I was surprised to find counters to sit at and eat meals right in the marketplace. One of the restaurants, Pinotxo Bar, was featured on the Cooking Channel show, From Spain With Love. The owner, Pinotxo (Pinnochio) has been in the marketplace for 70 years and our kids were fortunate enough to meet him. Restaurants serve different items daily so be sure to go more than once!! My daughter even ate a quiche, Tortilla Espagnole, for breakfast that had escargot in it. Check out the Pintxo Bar at http://pinotxobar.com/
Great memories were created for our kids. We gave them their own euro’s, they picked out fruits and had smoothies made daily for 2€. We did not assist them with the communication barrier, they were on their own and did really well.
$$ saving tips: When exploring the marketplace, be sure to browse multiple stands prior to purchasing as many of the vendors will sell similar items at different prices. For example we found Jamón (ham) Panini’s for 3€ each and then found a stand which sold them 2 for 5€. Before taking off on your excursions or double decker bus ride, stop off at the marketplace and grab salami, cheese, wine, Panini’s or whatever you would like to bring for a picnic. We picked up food almost daily. The market place is conveniently located on the same street as the double decker bus transfer at Las Ramblas about a 4 or 5 block walk.
The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, often simply referred to as La Boqueria (Catalan pronunciation: [ɫə βu.kəˈɾi.ə]), is a large public market in the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and one of the city’s foremost tourist landmarks, with an entrance from La Rambla, not far from the Liceu, Barcelona’s opera house. The market has a very diverse selection of goods.
The first mention of the Boqueria market in Barcelona dates from 1217, when tables were installed near the old city gate to sell meat. From December 1470 onwards, a pig market was held at this site; at this time it was known as Mercat Bornet. Later, until 1794, it was known simply as Mercat de la Palla, or straw market. In the beginning, the market was not enclosed and had no official status, being regarded simply as an extension of the Plaça Nova market, which extended to the Plaça del Pi.
Later, the authorities decided to construct a separate market on La Rambla, housing mainly fishmongers and butchers.
It was not until 1826 that the market was legally recognized, and a convention held in 1835 decided to build an official structure. Construction began on March 19, 1840 under the direction of the architect Mas Vilà. The market officially opened in the same year, but the plans for the building were modified many times. The inauguration of the structure finally took place in 1853. A new fish market opened in 1911, and the metal roof that still exists today was constructed in 1914.
There is even a Culinary School within the market!!! The courses are taught by chefs and sommeliers as renowned professional, and by young artists.