Spain is synonymous with tapas, but are tapas a culinary tradition of the fervently nationalistic region of Catalonia? Long before the Andalusians from the south brought north their gazpacho and the hot new chefs were topping tapas with wasabi, there was a local tradition of “pica-pica,” or enjoying some nibbles over a glass of vermouth before a meal. On this three-hour walk, a culinary expert or chef takes us on a delectable tour around the up-and-coming Poble-Sec area where we will learn the basis of Catalan tapas and see how they have evolved from the influence of the rest of Spain and the recent avant-garde culinary movements.
To picar in Catalan means to eat small portions of different types of food, such as olives, croquettes, cheese, or fuet sausage. Ideal places for this are the bodegues, Catalan “taverns,” which is where we will start our walk. Settling in at a traditional-style (though modern) bodega, we will learn the basics, and possibly even make our own pa amb tomaquet (tomato bread), to be sampled with a variety of cheeses and locally produced vermouth.
We will then head to one or two other nearby bodegas, possibly a newly opened one where the friendly owner puts an innovative twist to some favorites including bomba, potato balls with spicy meat, or daily specials which could be topped with caramelized onions and delicate blue cheese or homemade tomato jam and fava beans, allowing us to start to see what the chefs of today are experimenting with. We might also stop in at the historic “Quimet y Quimet.” The current owners are the fourth generation of this family serving up possibly the world’s best montaditos, or small sandwiches. We will taste for ourselves how they can make wonderful made-to-measure creations... using only preserves and perfect to enjoy with some regional Catalan wine.
Our final taverna will highlight Barcelona as a cosmopolitan city. Over the last century, people from all parts of Spain, especially Galicia or Andalucia, flocked here in search of work and brought their culinary traditions with them. We may stop in at a hip Basque bar serving up seasonal pintxos, tapas on bread typically from the region on the opposite side of the country which is now Catalonia's rival on the contemporary food scene. This will give us the opportunity to come full circle, discussing how these outside elements are shaping Barcelona today making it a truly modern city combining tradition and innovation.
This walk is adaptable for anyone with allergies or other dietary restrictions. Please indicate these in the notes when booking so your docent can be prepared.Note: the various tastings on the walk are significant and can be considered a replacement for a meal.