Indulge In Barcelona’s Flavors
After exploring the best things to do in Barcelona, you're bound to be hungry! From tapas to entrees to desserts, Barcelona is a foodie's paradise. It's the headquarters of Catalan cuisine (cuisine of Catalonia, which includes both Barcelona and other nearby areas in northeast Spain). Since Catalonia's a Mediterranean coastal area, its flavors include the best of fresh seafood and vegetables. And let's not forget the famous jamón (ham)!
But what are the best authentic dishes to eat in Barcelona? Read on to find out.
We've included a little surprise for you at the end of this article, but first, here are the top 12 foods you must eat in Barcelona.
Savor These Iconic Tapas
Croquetas are one of the most popular kinds of tapas in Barcelona. These fried rolls are lightly sprinkled with breadcrumbs.
Almost any type of meat or vegetables could be inside (it’s the rolling, breading and frying that makes a croqueta a croqueta). The most traditional croquetas also contain bechamel sauce, but more modern versions skip the bechamel.
One of the most well-known croquetas in Barcelona is croqueta de jamón, filled with ham. Other classic versions hold pulled chicken, shrimp, cod, or mushrooms. But keep an open mind. Some tapas restaurants stuff their croquetas with less common ingredients---including squid. You’re sure to find croquetas that will please your taste buds!
Want to learn how to make croquetas and other authentic Spanish tapas? Check out this cooking class so you can take a bit of Barcelona home with you!
Bursting with Heat and Flavor
If you’re a spicy food enthusiast, you’ll love the flavor explosion of the bomba, another tapas dish. A bomba, meaning “bomb” in English, might seem a bit like a croqueta, but there are a few differences. Bombas are always breaded, fried balls of mashed potatoes. They’re stuffed with pork or beef in the center. Then, they’re topped with a super-spicy sauce and an alioli (the Spanish name for aioli)! Bombas are definitely a must-try in Barcelona for those who can stand the heat. Boom!
Enjoy This Popular Dish, But Be Sure It’s Authentic
Paella is perhaps the most famous Spanish meal on this list. It’s a medium-grain rice dish filled with meat and vegetables. The original paella, paella Valenciana, was first made in Valencia with chicken and rabbit. Some Barcelona restaurants serve paella Valenciana, but you can also find seafood paella, vegetarian paella, and paella mixta (paella with a mix of meat and seafood).
One thing to note: Most Barcelona restaurants serve paella, but it’s harder than you think to find the freshest, most authentic versions of this dish. So, why not take a cooking class at The Paella Club or Barcelona Paella Experience? That way, you can learn how to make fresh, authentic paella yourself with the help of professionals, and be sure that your paella is of the highest quality.
Barcelona’s “Answer” to the Paella
Fideua, a Catalan dish, is similar to Valencia’s famous paella. But don’t confuse the two---fideua is still a distinct delicacy. Fideua uses a noodle base instead of rice, and often comes topped with garlic alioli. Most importantly, fideua always includes some type of seafood.
You’ll Go Ham For This Delicacy
Jamón is iconic Spanish ham. It’s salted and cured to perfection, then thinly sliced. Jamón is used in all sorts of Spanish dishes, but it’s well worth trying on its own or on top of bread.
There are two main types of jamón: jamón serrano, from white pigs that live in the mountains, and the higher-quality jamón Ibérico, from black pigs.
Seafood Salad With A Bacalao Base
Esqueixada starts with bacalao, the Catalan classic of raw cod salted and then soaked in water. Shredded bacalao forms the backbone of this Catalan traditional salad, along with tomatoes, olive oil and onions. Then, the salad’s usually topped with olives. Some chefs will also add peppers, or top the salad with a hard-boiled egg. Like many of the best Barcelona dishes, it starts with a traditional base, but leaves some room for ingredient flexibility.
One Of Barcelona’s Top Veggie Dishes
Escalivada is a must-try dish if you’re a vegetarian, as it draws on Catalonia’s fresh, native vegetables. It features roasted red peppers, eggplant, onions and tomatoes, all sprinkled with olive oil. You might find it on its own or on top of bread. And, like most Catalan dishes, it comes in a tapas version.
Brave the Heat of These “Brave Potatoes”
Here’s another tapas dish for all you spice-loving travelers, one that shows up in almost every tapas bar in the area. Cubed, fried potatoes form the base of patatas bravas. Then, they’re topped with a spicy chili, paprika and red pepper sauce, and served with the popular alioli. They’re the perfect food pairing with beer.
After enjoying this spicy dish, you’ll want to check out this cooking class. You’ll learn how to make patatas bravas, seafood paella, and more!
Pa Amb Tomaquet
Simple But Satisfying
Pa amb tomaquet is one of the simplest foods on this list, but don’t let that fool you. It’s still a Barcelona foodie essential, especially when you go out for tapas. You’ll probably make this one yourself at your table. Take the toasted bread, sprinkle it with salt, rub it with a slice of local tomato, and drizzle it with olive oil. So delicious!
Not Just A Vegetable---A Seasonal Art
Calçots (leek-like sweet onions) are only available in Barcelona from November through April. So, be sure to try them if you’re lucky enough to visit during these months. Preparing and eating calçots is an almost ritual-like experience. The calçots are fire-roasted, skinned, and then dipped in Romesco sauce (a Catalan red pepper sauce made with tomatoes and almonds). Then, you eat them with your hands. There are even gatherings dedicated to the roasting and eating of calçots, called calçotadas. They usually take place at country homes. But, these gatherings are so popular that restaurants have also started hosting them.
Cream of the Dessert Crop
Crema Catalana is a burnt cream dessert made from milk, egg yolks, cinnamon, and sugar. It’s a lot like creme brulee, so the French and Spanish constantly fight about which dessert came first! But there are several big differences between the two. Crema Catalana uses milk instead of cream, includes cornstarch for thickening, and often contains a bit of bright citrus juice.
If you’d like to learn how to make crema Catalana, try out this cooking class in Barcelona. You’ll also learn how to make some of the savory dishes on this list, for a full, authentic Catalan meal.
Spanish Born, International Sensation
Although they’re now super popular worldwide, Spain’s where churros got their start, so make sure you grab this iconic dessert while in Barcelona. (“Churros” is spelled “xurros” in Catalan, but both words are pronounced the same.) In Barcelona, you pretty much need to dip churros in melted chocolate. Oh, and they’re totally fair game for breakfast, too. So find a xurreria/churrería, and enjoy!
This is it... plus a little bonus!
OK, there you have it--- the 12 foods you must eat in Barcelona! Is your stomach rumbling yet? Well, you can learn how to make many of these dishes yourself in a cooking class! Interested in a cooking class? Use the promo code _____ and get a _____ discount on www.cookly.me
Written by Jessica Huhn for Cookly.
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