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.
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.
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 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 from the Boqueria, had little paper cones of fried fish,
platos combinados (left) and the ever popular pulpo a la feira (boiled octopus with pimentón).
cansaladeria la confiança
Cansaladeria La Confiança from Mercat de la Mercè (quite a way out of central Barcelona),
had quite a selection of exciting food, including fondue, steak tartar (above),
ous de guatlla
and quails eggs with botifara or chorizo.
lacuina internacional soley
La Cuina Internacional Soley, from the Boqueria,
sell a wide array of exotic fruits, vegetables, condiments and sauces. Here they also had arancini, croquetas, pizza, sandwiches and wraps.
Vidal Pons, now own 7 stalls in the Boqueria,
but they do sell the most astonishing array of chocolates,
nuts and candies, reminiscent of Fortnum and Mason in London.
Molt Bo, again from the Boqueria, were cooking rice dishes,
including a fantastic looking paella de marisco (sea food)
and arròs negre (black rice with squid ink).
La Cabana d’Alcover is a small family business near Tarragon, growing organic olives
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 Embotits de la Vall d’en Bas are artisans curing meat and sausages in beautiful valley near Girona (Vall d’en Bas).
These are top quality hand made chorizo and fuet
and I love these astonishingly long secallona.
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 are a food company in the Penedès, dedicated to producing artisanal quince.
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
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 are located quite close to La Sagrada Família and specialise in hams, cured meats and cheeses.
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 was started by two farming families, who have gone into organic fruit and vegetable box delivery, similar to companies doing this in the UK.
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.
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 l’Esquiador from Girona, produce artisanal cured sausages and meats.
Their cured pork belly was excellent.
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
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 showcased vegetables,
fires i mercats – carn
meat and cheeses from traditional regional fairs and markets.
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 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 Xarcuteria is Olga Rovira’s unique Catalan take on the Japanese dish.
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 Catí – cheeses from the Vall de Catí – a valley in the north of Valencia.
formatge de cabra
They produce some excellent award winning organic cheese from goat and sheep milk.
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, AKA Oliver Croquet, makes one of my favourite Spanish foods, the croqueta.
The above bacallà croquetas (salt cod), had a perfect crunch, with the right mix of creamy cod filling – to die for!
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 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.
The chicharrónes (fried pork fat) were very tempting,
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 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
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 have a stall in the Mercat de Felip II in the north of Barcelona.
I was impressed with their brightly coloured seasoned meats (above) and I believe they are big on barbecue.
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.
I was a little surprised to see them selling empanadas, but I realised that they contained Greek style fillings.
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
and little rolls containing tuna or anchovies for €2.
Large cups of olives also cost €1.
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
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.
More olives here from Olives i conserves Torres, who are in Sant Antoni Market.
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
and here, anchovies with pimiento.
salmó i olives
Even the little olives stuffed with salmon and cream cheese looked delicious.
baron de roquette buisson
Baron de Roquette Buisson came all the way from France,
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
Yet more olives from Olives i conserves El Pinyol.
tonyina i pebrots
They also had remarkable value for money tapes, of tuna and red pepper,
anguilas y aceitunas
eels and olives.
anxoves i olives
anchovies and olives
and some fantastic brandada in cones.
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!