Mercat de Mercats

la catedral

la catedral

After the wedding, I slept like a log and woke up feeling hungry. Lindsay turned up with croissants at midday and after a cup of tea we all decided to have lunch at the Victoria (again). I enjoyed a particularly good fideuà and crema catalana. While we were savouring carajillos, I remembered that the Mercat de Mercats (Market of Markets) was on.

 

mapa

mapa

Like the Christmas Market, the Mercat de Mercats is held in Plaça de la Cathedral. This is an annual event showcasing local food and drink from market stall holders, shops, restaurants and wine producers. I kicked myself, because we should have come here for lunch! I was feeling a bit sleepy after the Victoria, but nevertheless, as it was the last day of the three day event, I pulled myself together and got on with the job at hand.

vins

vins

I have to confess that I skipped the wines after drinking half a bottle for lunch and on reaching the food section I hesitated for just a second …before being overwhelmed and delighted by the quality of the produce.

horno santo christo

horno santo christo

Horno Santo Christo surprised me somewhat, since as well a baked goods, it had a well stocked fridge of boquerones, olives, salmon, etc.

mariscos selectos juani

mariscos selectos juani

Mariscos Selectos Juani from the Boqueria, had little paper cones of fried fish,

mariscos

mariscos

platos combinados (left) and the ever popular pulpo a la feira (boiled octopus with pimentón).

cansaladeria la confiança

cansaladeria la confiança

Cansaladeria La Confiança from Mercat de la Mercè (quite a way out of central Barcelona),

tartar

tartar

had quite a selection of exciting food, including fondue, steak tartar (above),

ous de guatlla

ous de guatlla

and quails eggs with botifara or chorizo.

lacuina internacional soley

lacuina internacional soley

La Cuina Internacional Soley, from the Boqueria,

pebrots

pebrots

sell a wide array of exotic fruits, vegetables, condiments and sauces. Here they also had arancini, croquetas, pizza, sandwiches and wraps.

vidal pons

vidal pons

Vidal Pons, now own 7 stalls in the Boqueria,

dolços

dolços

but they do sell the most astonishing array of chocolates,

confiteria

confiteria

nuts and candies, reminiscent of Fortnum and Mason in London.

molt bo

molt bo

Molt Bo, again from the Boqueria, were cooking rice dishes,

paella

paella

including a fantastic looking paella de marisco (sea food)

arròs negre

arròs negre

and arròs negre (black rice with squid ink).

olivas

olivas

La Cabana d’Alcover is a small family business near Tarragon, growing organic olives

oli d'oliva

oli d’oliva

to make a high quality extra virgin olive oil (which smells of green fruit, freshly cut grass and ripe banana). Apparently they keep a herd of sheep to control the weeds!

gori

gori

Gori Embotits de la Vall d’en Bas are artisans curing meat and sausages in beautiful valley near Girona (Vall d’en Bas).

xoriç

xoriç

These are top quality hand made chorizo and fuet

embotits curats

embotits curats

and I love these astonishingly long secallona.

formatge de búfala

formatge de búfala

Formatges Montbrú make a number of cheeses from cows, goats, sheep and buffalo. I noticed that they had a sign stating zero lactose and when I looked it up, discovered that buffalo milk is virtually lactose free. Regardless, the cheese is very tasty! The cheese is made in Moià (home to prehistoric caves) and about 31 miles from Barcelona.

valliser

valliser

Valliser are a food company in the Penedès, dedicated to producing artisanal quince.

codony

codony

The quince is a member of the Rosacae family (which also contains apples and pears). It originally came for the Eastern Mediterranean, but has spread throughout Europe and was once far more popular in Britain than it is today.

carn de codony

carn de codony

The quince can be used to produce a wine or strong liquor, though the most popular culinary products are quince jelly, jam and pudding. In Spain it is very often eaten with cheese (Manchego), in a bocadillo (sandwich) or as part of a cheese platter. The hardened jelly is sometimes referred to as quince cheese.

espai la cava

espai la cava

Espai La Cava are located quite close to La Sagrada Família and specialise in hams, cured meats and cheeses.

sobrassada artesana

sobrassada artesana

Their sobrassada (a soft, spreadable, cured pork sausage flavoured with pimentón), traditionally from the Balearic Islands was particularly good.

hortet del baix

hortet del baix

Hortet del Baix was started by two farming families, who have gone into organic fruit and vegetable box delivery, similar to companies doing this in the UK.

arròs

arròs

Arrossaires del Delta de l’Ebre are a rice growing cooperative on the Ebro Delta in the Province of Tarragona. The Arrossaires grow Bomba rice (above), which is the best known variety cooked on the East Coast of Spain. Bomba rice is very popular for dishes such as paella, Arròs Negre and Arròs a Banda. Bomba is thought to have been brought to Spain by the Moors and is believed to have originated from an Indian strain.

liqor d'arròs

liqor d’arròs

While looking at the Arrossaires’ stall, I noticed that they have diversified into making liqueurs from rice, flavouring them with cream, figs and herbs. They are also the first people to produce a rice malt beer – good news for people allergic to gluten.

embotits artesans

embotits artesans

Embotits Artesans l’Esquiador from Girona, produce artisanal cured sausages and meats.

ventresca curada

ventresca curada

Their cured pork belly was excellent.

sanpellegrino

sanpellegrino

They day had started out slightly chilly, from the rain yesterday, but this afternoon the sun shone brightly and it became quite hot and humid. I was very grateful to Sanpellegrino, who handed out free citrus flavoured water. It was so hot that I went back for a second can!

valle de aran

valle de aran

The Valle de Arán (Aran Valley) is the only part of Cataluña on the north side of the Pyrenees. The stall pictured above showcased their produce, including caviar, casis, cider, hazlenuts, jam, mustard and paté.

fires i mercats

fires i mercats

Fires i Mercats showcased vegetables,

fires i mercats - carn

fires i mercats – carn

meat and cheeses from traditional regional fairs and markets.

blau d'osona

blau d’osona

This  blau d’osona cows milk cheese (top left) had a real kick. It reminded me of Asturian cabrales cheese, which I’m very fond of.

mel muria bio

mel muria bio

Mel Muria Bio has produced award winning honey for 6 generations – they now have over 2,000 hives and sell their products throughout Cataluña and Spain.

sushi catala

sushi catala

Sushi Catala Xarcuteria is Olga Rovira’s unique Catalan take on the Japanese dish.

sushi

sushi

Olga believes that her sushi ingredients should be fresh, local and economical. It’s worth noting that there’s quite a bit of Catalan Japanese fusion going on in top Barcelona restaurants. I find this unsurprising since seafood is such a large part of the Spanish diet. In fact, Tempura originally came from Iberia via Christian missionaries – the Japanese just refined it and they have been coming to Spain to buy the very best tuna for many years.

formatges vall de cati

formatges vall de cati

Formatges Vall de Catí – cheeses from the Vall de Catí – a valley in the north of Valencia.

formatge de cabra

formatge de cabra

They produce some excellent award winning organic cheese from goat and sheep milk.

formatge d'ovella

formatge d’ovella

I was encouraged to try all their cheeses and liked the hard ovella (sheep cheese above) so much that I bought a piece.

o'croquet

o’croquet

O’Croquet, AKA Oliver Croquet, makes one of my favourite Spanish foods, the croqueta.

bacallà

bacallà

The above bacallà croquetas (salt cod), had a perfect crunch, with the right mix of creamy cod filling – to die for!

righetti forners

righetti forners

Righetti Forners – Pa i Coca de Forner. This looks like fantastic bread and coca, from the town of Gavà, just west of Barcelona El Prat Airport.

embotits can gaburra

embotits can gaburra

Embotits Can Gaburra are another cured meat and sausage company, from Olot. Their longaniza, xorizo and fuet (cured sausages) tasted so good that I had to buy some.

chicharrónes

chicharrónes

The chicharrónes (fried pork fat) were very tempting,

bull blanc

bull blanc

but were not nearly as good as this bull blanc (a bladder or intestine stuffed with pork mince and seasoning). I was quite interested in buying one of these, but they tried to push the more expensive lomo (cured pork tenderloin) on me instead, so I moved on.

quesos ojos del guadiana

quesos ojos del guadiana

Quesos Ojos del Guadiana come from Cuidad Real, so they were a long way from home. They make a first class Manchego, which they say is the “Best sheep cheese in the world.” It could definitely be one of them!

carn de vedella

carn de vedella

This beautiful piece of beef is from Barrachina Meat & Burguer (their spelling of burger on the stall) – a shop and restaurant next to the Boqueria. I’m quite sure this wasn’t minced up and served in a bun.

carnisseria gallifa

carnisseria gallifa

Carnisseria Gallifa have a stall in the Mercat de Felip II in the north of Barcelona.

carn

carn

I was impressed with their brightly coloured seasoned meats (above) and I believe they are big on barbecue.

symposion especialitats gregues

symposion especialitats gregues

Symposion Especialitats Gregues specialise in Greek produce and have a stall in the Boqueria. Back in the 90s one couldn’t find taramasalata for love nor money in Barcelona, which I considered odd, because of the Catalan love for cod and the popularity of tarama in France, just next door.

empanades

empanades

I was a little surprised to see them selling empanadas, but I realised that they contained Greek style fillings.

tapes

tapes

Olives Francesc de la Boqueria had some fantastic tapes for sale. Above are pa amb tomàquet with salt cured anchovies or boquerones for €1

pastes de pa

pastes de pa

and little rolls containing tuna or anchovies for €2.

olivas

olivas

Large cups of olives also cost €1.

trufa negra

trufa negra

I was very keen to try their black truffle potato chips (crisps) too! These are available from their stall in the Boqueria.

la belle huitre

la belle huitre

The oysters at La Belle Huitre were in a glass fridge reflecting the sun, but I did get a decent shot of their pop (octopus) on skewers above.

olivas

olivas

More olives here from Olives i conserves Torres, who are in Sant Antoni Market.

seitons i pebrot

seitons i pebrot

These are fantastic little tapes at very sensible prices, unlike London, where street food costs almost the same as a meal in a restaurant. Above are boquerones with pimiento

anxoves i pebrot

anxoves i pebrot

and here, anchovies with pimiento.

salmó i olives

salmó i olives

Even the little olives stuffed with salmon and cream cheese looked delicious.

baron de roquette buisson

baron de roquette buisson

Baron de Roquette Buisson came all the way from France,

foie gras

foie gras

with their foie gras, cassoulet and confit de canard. It is said that Jews fleeing from the Inquisition took the white beans in cassoulet to France from Spain. Most beans, aside from native broad beans, came from the Americas and would have come through Spain before reaching the rest of Europe. Cassoulet itself may be derived from the Jewish Cholent.

olives i conserves el pinyol

olives i conserves el pinyol

Yet more olives from Olives i conserves El Pinyol.

tonyina i pebrots

tonyina i pebrots

They also had remarkable value for money tapes, of tuna and red pepper,

anguilas y aceitunas

anguilas y aceitunas

eels and olives.

anxoves i olives

anxoves i olives

anchovies and olives

brandada

brandada

and some fantastic brandada in cones.

mercat de mercats

mercat de mercats

After all the shopping and tasting, I was exhausted. I didn’t even get to the restaurant demonstration section as I was badly in need of a siesta.
…later on, awake and refreshed, I cycled across the square at around 11.30pm and found that the market had completely disappeared!

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About Mad Dog

https://maddogtvdinners.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in Barcelona, Drink, Eating Out, Fish, Food, Meat, Shopping, Spanish and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Mercat de Mercats

  1. Maybe instead of lunch in London we should zip across, grab the bikes and CHASE the market! Divine! (that beef fat is so GOLDEN) c

    • Mad Dog says:

      I think you’d love Spain. I believe the beef is Galician, where they use old cows! Surprisingly, the meat is quite amazingly delicious. Perhaps you could start something like it in America 😉
      https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/jun/20/high-steaks-the-new-craze-for-old-cow

      • Eha says:

        Oh sugar: we all would pay for the bikes and the resultant photos!!! Hmmm: rather naturally I DID think of my very favourite mercats [I mean those gorgeous curious little animals] ere the wonderfully long ‘lesson’ began but have just had the bestest walk-around-market experience of probably my lifetime!! . . . And my biggest lesson of the day: my High School class was well over 50% Jewish and ‘cholent’ is not exactly a strange appellative for me: actually one of my fave ‘ladies’ lunch meals 🙂 ! OK: ‘skiting’ – remember SO many places selling taramasalata in Sydney in the 60’s – hell, I made my own 🙂 !! Still do!!!!

        • Mad Dog says:

          Thanks Eha – it was quite a day!
          I have read that baked beans may also be related to Cholent, where some Jews fled the Inquisition and went to America, taking the white beans full circle. These types of dishe are all cooked slowly overnight, which is what is required when observing the Sabbath and not cooking or working.
          Back in the 60s, Melbourne had the second largest Greek population after Athens. What I don’t understand, is why taramasalata hasn’t caught on in Spain which is much closer to its origin. Perhaps it’s because the Spanish like to air dry the roe…

          • Eha says:

            Oops’a’daisy: methinks the roe I have always used just may not be prepared in the ‘correct’ way!! Melbourne: still the best food in Oz and one of the largest Greek and Italian populations in their respective diasporas. These days ‘taramasalata’ naturally is offered in every so-called ‘dip’ etc el anon . . . . . yucksville . . . .oh, DO love your ‘walk’!!

          • Mad Dog says:

            I think you are probably preparing the roe correctly – the Greeks like it soft and dipable, whereas the Spanish cure it, a bit like air dried ham. I loved Melbourne, it was one of my favorite cities in Australia.

  2. jmcheney says:

    Just like you dreamed it. I hope it returns often–such a glorious feast for my faraway eyes. Thanks again, MadDog, for sharing your exotic travels & food adventures with us. (P.S. Trump has chosen your namesake for Sec. of Defense! Hope you’re not any kin to him.)

  3. Michelle says:

    JEALOUS!! And those bacallà croquetas sure do look good.

  4. Nadia says:

    Wow! This looks like the most amazing market I have ever seen. I would be in heaven. It is just a once a year event?

  5. James Davies says:

    Looks like a really great market (I love markets!!) I remember the Plaça de la Cathedral from when we visited earlier this year, but no market then of course but really enjoyed the Mercado de La Boqueria…

  6. Wow what a display of abundance! Thanks for taking us through the market with you. Those sausages and paellas and seafood!!! Very interesting amit the cassoulet coming from cholent. I never thought about that. Kind of cool. I could see how a market like this would be exhausting. Too much wonderfulness. Be well!

  7. Oh am swooning in a very old fashioned way at all the delights you have shared with us. Big Man was very taken with the beef like Celia and they do say that the best Spanish beef comes from Asturias . I salute your stamina. Am off to a local fishmonger tomorrow bright and early as today he announced that he has some salt cod for sale and I’d like to try to make Brandada for Christmas!

  8. Karen says:

    What a wonderful experience, it looks like you could spend an entire day there enjoying it all. That is unless one was inclined to party late into the night or into the wee hours of the morning. 😀

  9. ChgoJohn says:

    Wonderful post, MD! I would have been very upset with myself if I had missed this event. I’d probably fast a couple days beforehand so that I could take full advantage. Heck! I’d need a chair just to take full advantage of the place where the anchovies & olives and eel & olives were being sold.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks John – normally I’d be camping out for this, to be first in the queue, but the wedding had me a little distracted. I would have been very disappointed to have missed the market 😉

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