March 3, 2013

Visiting Boqueria Market

St Josep Boqueria (or the Boqueria Market) is located just off La Rambla and is a treasure trove of things to eat. There are stalls selling unprepared ingredients and vendors cooking food at small lunch counters.

Lunchtime at Pinotxo Bar in Boqueria Market.
We arrived at the market at the beginning of lunch hour, so we decided to begin our visit at Pinotxo Bar. This popular cafe is located just inside the entrance to the market. Market workers, locals from the neighborhood, and tourist alike crowd elbow to elbow around this small lunch counter. After waiting a short bit, two seats opened up and we joined the others for lunch. The menu changes daily based on the ingredients available in the market. I ordered a dish of baby squid and white beans with balsamic reduction and Jonathan got breaded fried lamb chops. We looked around and followed what the locals were doing and ordered cañas (or small beers) to accompany our food. Perched on our stools we were able to everything prepared and soon it was on our plates. My food was light and delicious - a perfect lunch! The flavor of the squid dish was a good balance of sweet and salty. Jonathan enjoyed his food as well, and said the lamb chops paired well with the beer.

My lunch at the market.
After lunch it was time to explore the rest of the market. There were vendors selling fresh fruit and juices. Vendors selling vegetables, meats, or seafood. Then there were stalls filled with nuts, dried fruits, and candies. There were stalls selling spices; others selling olives and all things pickled. Others sold cheeses, eggs, and charcuterie. And, of course there were stalls selling turrón (a delicious Spanish nougat candy) and chocolate. The color and variety was beautiful.

Spanish hams at the market.
Sweets made with pine nuts at the market.
We walked up and down every aisle, taking photographs and wishing we could take everything home. Before leaving we bought a few things that we could take home - pimentón (Spanish paprika), chocolate, turrón, and snacks for the flight back to Washington, DC. I just wish I could take the whole market with me!

The grapes, mangos, and other delicious fruit at the market.

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