When in Barcelona – eat! And if you can – cook! Because the Catalan cuisine is simple, seasonal, fresh and fabulous and a day cooking in a Spanish kitchen makes for a great memory.
I researched many options for cooking classes in
Barcelona. There were a lot. But I chose the Barcelona Kitchen, the cooking school housed in the Mercado de la Boqueria, for its class choices and menu.
Since I’ve been in Spain for two months and
traveled through multiple regions, I’ve tasted a variety of regional dishes as well as regional takes on national favorites. In Catalonia, the region where Barcelona is the largest city, food is celebrated every day and regional pride in the local Catalan cuisine is evident everywhere you go.
Catalan cuisine is not about heavily spiced or sauced dishes. Rather it is about the best, freshest and
most local ingredients. Right now in October that means frutas de boca (fruits of the forest) which includes a variety of mushrooms, snails, nuts and seeds. October is also bountiful in tomatoes, squash, fruit, greens, root vegetables, peppers, potatoes, onions, figs, and much more. Combine these ingredients with seasonal fish, shellfish, meat, fowl, and the unforgettably delicious Iberian jamon (ham) and you have yourself the makings of a special feast.
Add a little Spanish wine and as the Catalonians say Bon Profit! Muy Bien!
My class, led by Lena, began with a tour and shopping trip for our ingredients through the Mercado de la Boqueria, Barcelona’s famous and fabulous market. Here we learned about many of the products and producers from eggs to olive oil and saffron to cuttlefish.
Back in the kitchen we set to work for three solid hours cooking and preparing five of Catalan’s favorite dishes; Tortilla – egg and potatoe omelette like pie (the national dish of Spain that sustained me daily on the Camino), Seafood Paella (the only
way Catalans eat Paella is seafood), Pa amb Tomàquet – Catalan Tomato Bread, Gazpacho – cold tomato soup, and Crema Catalana – a delicious dessert similar to creme brûlée but better!
I was surprised at the amount of time the tortilla takes to make but I loved it. I also really enjoyed making the Paella from scratch including the stock which simmered and reduced on the stove for more than an hour. It was rich and delicious.
The Gazpacho was incredible, easy and fast. Unlike our chunky style at home this cold tomato soup was creamy and smooth using the food processor and adding lots of olive oil to emulsify it. Perfecto!
As usual, I loved learning from a local and cooking this incredible cuisine. Spain has been many things to me over the past two months, including delicious!
Our time in this sweet country is ending and we move on now to Chapter Eleven – Tunisia, Morocco, Namibia and South Africa. But Spain will always hold something very special for us and we will definitely be back.
Muchos Gracias Mi Amigos. Fabulous!