If I could live anywhere in Europe, a visit to Barcelona would be at the top if my list. On our first visit, we loved the Barcelona food, so it made sense for us to let Devour Barcelona show us the best of original Catalan food on the Barcelona Tapas and Traditions food tour.
This would allow us to eat more Barcelona food that missed on our first trip. Tapas is a Spanish speciality, so we were looking forward to this Barcelona tapas tour
We met our guide Sharon out the front of the Mercat Santa Caterina food market. Sharon our guide hailed from Scotland, much like Jamie at Devour Seville who hailed from Ireland.
I was starting to wonder whether Devour Spain imported guides from the British Isles on mass! Sharon straight away hit it off with the girls and I explained to Sharon that Marley was a very fussy eater and may not say yes to eating much that was new to her.
Sharon told me that it would not be a problem, something could be worked our wherever we went. We were ready to enjoy some amazing food and Barcelona architecture as we made our way around the city
A Barcelona food tour is a great way to discover the city
Once the other people attending the tour had arrived Sharon took us first off to a family run business called Granja Camprodon near the market. This restaurant used to keep its own cow at the back of the shop in days gone by to get the freshest produce that they could.
These days they specialise in meat and cheese that is now made on their own farm just outside the city. We had grilled Botifarra sandwich with a glass of Brut Cava for breakfast and it was delicious. This place was definitely a locals establishment as it was full and I could hear no one speaking English but us on the tour.
Willow tried the Botifarra and enjoyed it whereas Marley, who is extremely fussy, opted for some toast and orange juice. There was also another lady on the tour who did not have the sandwich as due to her religion she did not eat meat in the morning. It was not a problem at all though and she joined Marley in having some toast.
From there we headed over to Market Santa Caterina, a Barcelona food market. Sharon our guide explained to us that most neighbourhoods have their own market in Barcelona and are preferred by the locals. Actually, there are 39 food markets spread across the city. Barcelona has a market culture dating back to Roman times and recorded officially since the 10th century.
The market scene was in trouble at one stage with supermarkets becoming more popular, so the city helped to redesign them and the markets adapt to changing customer needs to be thriving today. Sharon told us about her local market and the value that is in them. She was always getting cooking tips on how to prepare what she was buying and that all her food stall owners know her by name.
At Santa Caterina Barcelona Market, we tried a selection of the local Catalan cheese and more national Spanish cheeses. They take their cheese very seriously in Barcelona and more widely the whole country. The amount of different cheese at Formatgeria Carles was mind-boggling. We had three different types of cheeses.
We wandered a few stores up to Cansaladeria Antonio Iberics. Yes, an Iberic ham store. Jamon Iberico is a speciality in Spain and Portugal. They take their ham seriously in this part of the world, no Virginian ham insight like you see back home in Australia. The Ibérico pig is big, with long slender legs and a very long snout. The Ibérico pigs are black, with very little hair. The ham is cut wafer-thin and meat is finely marbled with fat. I found that fat allows you to savour the taste of the pig long after the piece of ham you are eating has gone.
We washed the ham down with some wine from a Porron. Porron looks like a mixture of a watering can and a wine bottle with it long glass neck. You have to tilt your head backwards and tip the Porron at the same time hoping that you get the wine in your mouth. I was able to drink out of it without spilling it which apparently is a good feat for a first-time drinker.
Apparently, it is all in the flick of the wrist at the end. The whole group had a turn and we all had a great time watching Sharon attempt to do it. She admitted to us all that it was something she was not great at but with the girl cheering her on she did a pretty good job!
A food tour Barcelona teaches you about Catalan specialities
Casa Gisbert is one of the oldest food stores in Barcelona. It is like walking back in time as you enter and the smell of roasting nuts wafts up to your nose. Yes, they still roast nuts in store with an original roaster.
As you look around you see the nuts, dried fruits, coffee, tea, cocoa, and exotic spices like vanilla, cinnamon, saffron that have been being imported since 1851 into this store in Barcelona.
They are all stored in beautiful, elaborate glass containers on the shelves behind the counter or in clear plastic containers all around the store. Our kids were wide-eyed and bushy-tailed looking at the chocolates that were in store.
They eventually settled for some of the more healthy but equally delicious dried fruits. Marley had sultanas while Willow had dried apricots. Bec sampled the macadamia nuts and guess what? They came all the way from Australia. We were given a small sample pack to take with us that included some chocolate nuts and other delicious samples.
One thing the girls loved in the store was looking around to see where things in the world came from and they were amazed that some had come from such a faraway place. we had to remind them that they may have been a little closer to where in the world we were at that moment!
Now onto the real highlight of this Barcelona Food Tour, Pasteria Hofmann. The store was beautiful and bright on the inside and had so many tiny, delicate desserts in cases all over the store. Some were traditional, some were bright and some I could just look at and wonder how anyone could eat something so perfect looking. The tastes coming out of this place were amazing, so amazing that everyone on the tour went back in and purchased more croissants with their own money.
If we had been staying longer in Barcelona we would have ended up back there every day. Hoffman creates these amazing croissants that are filled with the most delectable filling that you just can’t imagine it and it is the hardest thing to describe.
We had mascarpone and cheesecake filling. The girls had a chocolate filled one and they loved it. The croissants were so light and fluffy and the filling was so thick but yet creamy. I can tell you when we go back to Barcelona we will go back to this place. It will be high on the list of places I will head to first. It is establishments like Hofman that make Barcelona a hot spot for food and wine tourism.
You will visit local restaurants in Barcelona
We headed down towards the Barcelonetta area stopping on the way so Sharon could tell us about the Barcelona memorial Fossar de les Moreres. The plaza where the memorial is located was built over an old cemetery where the defenders of the city following the Siege of Barcelona at the end of the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714 were buried.
It was a very sombre place to be for us and Sharon telling us the history at that spot really brought the importance of learning other countries history home for us. It wasn’t a huge elaborate memorial but it was very fitting with its surrounds and a place where those people could be remembered.
We wandered into Plaça del Poeta Bosca in Barcelona. This square in Barcelonetta is filled with locals who have been shopping at the local market. You will see people of all ages from the neighbourhood mingling and chatting, kids playing and having fun.
Tapas tour Barcelona is a great way to see the city
Bodega Fermin is located at the far end of the square. It was great looking local hangout somewhere I could see myself settling into for an afternoon of beers and chats. My problem was what we tried there I totally did not like. Olives and anchovies tapas two of my least favourite foods, but I did try the olives as you have to give everything a shot at some stage, right? Bec had a few of the olives as she likes them and said that they were very nice but she could not eat a lot of them.
The local vermouth was really nice it had orange mixed in with it. So nice actually that I drank Bec’s share as well. Needless to say, this stop was also not a hit with the kids. They only served craft lemonade with mixes like orange and ginger or lime and grapefruit which didn’t really suit them. The flavours were very different and the ones they had were bitter.
The last stop on the Barcelona food Tour was at Cal Papi and it was literally throwing distance from Bodega Fermin. Here we tried what I call the “anti paella”. I don’t even know where to start with it. Fideuà is a seafood dish originally from down the coast at Valencia. The Fideua is similar to paella, but it is made with noodles instead of rice and served in a paella dish.
It looks fantastic in the dish as when the noodles are cooked it stands up in the dish! Its main ingredients are pasta noodles, fish and shellfish. It was served with a helping of Alioli. It was the type of dish that would need to be tried a few times I think. It was nice, it was very filling but did I like as much as the normal rice seafood paella…No.
We finished the Barcelona food tour with a coffee and some chatting with Sharon our guide. We all had a great time trying the foods of Barcelona and learning some history along the way. The Devour Barcelona tour is highly recommended by us, our guide was amazing with the kids talking and answering their questions. A great family travel activity in Barcelona.
Devour Barcelona were nice enough to supply us with a free tour. All our opinions remain our own and are in no way influenced by Devour Barcelona.
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About the Author
Mark Wyld is a father, husband, traveler, and chief destination marketing manager at Wyld Family Travel. Having been to over 35 countries worldwide he knows a thing or 2 about traveling with kids and now traveling with teenagers. He has been writing first-hand, expert travel guides on this website for over 6 years and has featured on numerous other popular well-known websites. When he is not talking, dreaming, or planning travel he can be found working in disability support.