Whilst walking to Cafe Viena for a sandwich, we first encountered the amazement of La Boqueria, Barcelona's central food market. So it's only moments on that we find ourselves back to bask in the delights.
A quick stroll around the market turns into hours, as after 5 months of winter in Hokkaido, fresh fruits and vegetables are effecting us in so many positive ways. The colours, the smells, the vibrance & immediately the inspiration that comes from buckets of dried morel mushrooms;
bunches of wild asparagus sitting in little buckets of water, so wild and free it's as if they have their own personalities;
plump red tomatoes along with zebra striped heirlooms, citrus fruits & green leaves;
our minds and senses are overwhelmed ... trying to keep and store all of these sensations and informations for enjoyment down the line.
It's hard work I tell you ... so when we finally make it to the rear of the market and spot Barcentral, we know it's time for a drink. We start with 2 glasses of cava, Spain's version of sparkling wine. This one comes from the Penedès region in Catlonia, which is only 40km South West of where we are. It's refreshing and crisp, although the glass is small so is the price, so you just have to drink more of them ;p
Whilst we savour the cava, we point on top the counter and in no time have our settings graced with a plate of crispy fried artichokes;
and fried padron peppers. They both come with these incredible penny-sized flakes of salt, which are licked off our fingers as we devour them in no time.
This has only just wet our appetite, so we order a plate of Navaja's, or Razor Clams. They are thrown on a flat grill and splashed with wine & lemon juice. Once they open, they are placed on a plate with a generous splash of a garlic & parsley oil, a sprinkle of salt and a wedge of lemon. But thee flavour that stands out is simply the taste of the sea, lightly salty and oh-so fresh.
As we are sucking the little suckers out of the shell, we see a plate of pulpo (octopus) being plated up with precision. Of course we find room for 1 more plate. Slices of fried potatoes are scattered on the plate and then sprinkled with those giant flakes of salt, then a whole octopus leg is taken from the showcase and sliced into rounds which are then placed on the potato and completely cover the plate. A good sprinkling of paprika and a good glug of olive oil and here we have a very fine example of tasty octopus - so tender and not at all chewy.
It's our first day in Spain, and we both feel like we've slotted in just fine. Looking forward to the next 6 weeks of our adventures here.
Plaça de la Boqueria,
La Ramla 91
08001 - Barcelona, Barcelona
T: 93 318 2584
at the Carrer de Jerusalem entrance