Barcelona is hands down one of our favourite cities. We try to make a visit at least once a year to get a dose of its lively culture and cuisine.
Two major things Barcelona is known for is its cava and tapas.
Cava is a Spanish sparkling white or rosé wine mostly produced in Catalonia (the region around Barcelona). Previously known as Spanish Champagne (which is no longer allowed by European Law), it’s produced using only the champenoise traditional method, if it’s produced using any other method it cannot be labelled cava but only sparkling wine.
Typical grapes used to make cava: macabeu, parellada and xarel·lo.
The younger the cava, the more fizzy and dry it will be, while an older cava will have a more potent and “juicier” flavour.
We have scoured the streets of Barcelona to find vinotecas and restaurants that have great cava and tapas.
Unlike Florence, Barcelona has a lot less enoteca’s around, and the supermarkets have a minimal collections of wine. After asking around, our long search came to an end when we found “Vinos Barcelona“.
This small vinoteca had a great selection of Spanish wines, especially cava. One night we opted for a more expensive, (extra riserva- old), well known label, and another night we bought a younger, riserva, cava from a small local producer.
Both were great, but had very different characteristics.
Recaredo Cava Gran Reserva 2008. Its age gives this great Cava a fermented feel. Like a background of sweet overly ripe grapes, but in a good way. Still dry. very complex, a great experience. Perfect pair with the goat cheese.
Cava Bohigas reserva, more powerful bubbles. Compared to a gran reserva, it is more acidic and with stronger citrus scents. Real fun, great pair for.. Barcelona!
To complete our Catalan aperitivo, we found a specialty food store where we bought Spanish jamon iberico, catalan goat cheese and olives. Luckily there was a bakery next door.
Jamon iberico and catalan goat cheese, formatge garrotxa Blancafort.
Going for tapas is very Catalan tradition.
A friend who is from Barcelona, @PepTorn, recommended a restaurant to us that puts a modern twist onto traditional tapas.
Modern Tapas: El Canalla
Was great! It’s located outside of the center, so you need to take the metro system to get there, but it’s well worth it for the creative tapas and cava.
Grilled artichokes at el Canalla.
Chips tapas at el canalla Barcelona.
Cava Miquel Pons at el Canalla, a fresh and fruity reserva.
Traditional Tapas: EL XAMPANYET
If you want the whole traditional Catalan tapas experience, you need to eat at Xampaniet located in “El Born” quarter. They don’t take reservations so I suggest going early to get a table, since it will ALWAYS be packed. We ordered a Priorat, a really amazing Catalan red wine.
Tapas Galta de ternera con pure de boniato.
Tapas Calamaro andaluz.
Priorat Les Crestes at Xampaniet, a fantastic value for its price.
Planetes de Vin, a more expensive Priorat, intense and fruity. Pretty complex, it support its alcohol content with a unique elegance and class.
Tapas meat and peppers.
El Xampaniet Barcelona.
We recommend in Barcelona
In Barcelona there are a million things to do, but we particularly enjoyed:
- The Fundació Joan Miró, Centre d’Estudis d’Art Contemporani – it’s crazy how Mirò managed to explore the reality around him, arriving into a beautiful surrealism*
- La Pedrera – Very inspiring. This masterpiece of Gaudì, is such a great thought provoking experience.
- Park Güell – a beautiful walk, go there after La Pedrera, so you know more about how much Gaudì was inspired by mother nature.
- Take a run on the seaside, from Barceloneta, all the way to Bogatell and beyond.
* Mirò didn’t consider himself to be a surrealist, although he was inspired by the works of many surrealist artist, such as Dali. He said that his works were directly inspired by real thoughts, things and emotions not making them surreal, but in fact, real.
Park Guell with a Spanish guitar.
View on Barcelona from Park Guell.
I loved running all along the seaside, from Barceloneta up to Bogatell and beyond.
Running at sunset in Barceloneta.
Bogatell beach Barcelona.
Casa Batlló and Casa Amatller.
Barcelona Placa Reyal.
Juve Camp Rosé, we didn’t try this yet. We brought it at home. But its colour already got me!