En route to Can Vilaró the other day we came across Casa Petit on the corner of Mercat Sant Antoni. I love these traditional delis and had to have a good look in the windows. We used to call these stores, “tin shops” because their windows are full of tinned food. One should not be fooled by all the tins, in Spain, where the weather is hot for substantially long periods, there is a long tradition of preserving food in cans and jars. These are not cheap products, like one would find in a British supermarket, indeed, one can find extremely high grade tinned tuna here along with canned sardines which improve (in the tin) with age. I couldn’t help noticing some very posh looking cans of partridge in the window and after eating the wonderful quail in escabeche at La Platilleria I had to go back to Casa Petit and have a proper look.
As you enter the shop, the left hand wall and center are full to the brim with almost every liquor under the sun. I notice Kahlúa on the tops shelf (the drink we’d been looking for yesterday). Below the drinks are literally hundreds of cans of fish and the counter is covered in panettone, turrón and chocolates. Cured hams (jamón ibérico) hang above the center counter (above right) along with more than a dozen cured sausages.
To the right (inside the front door) there’s a cheese counter, full of local cheeses and on top sit baskets of sausages and sliced meats. The shelves behind the cheese contain jars of pesto, artichokes, pulses, mustards, etc. To the right there’s a glass case containing teas, with small brandy barrels above that and below, another glass case containing cavas. To the left of the cheese, two hams rest in jamoneras, in the process of being carved quite finely. You might notice a girl behind the counter (left) wearing a red jacket – just behind her is a door leading to a private dining room. These are not uncommon in older delicatessens and wine shops – they are available to the general public for private hire and functions.
Just behind and right of the lady in red, I saw a shelf containing boxed tins of perdiz roja en salsa de escabeche – red partridge in escabeche sauce. I asked if I could look at the tin and then the price. It was a little expensive at €16, but weighed 800 grams – the shop owner proudly told me it contained a whole partridge. To be honest I was sold when I saw the box in the window!
Casa Petit is at: Carrer del Comte d’Urgell 1, 08011, Barcelona.