First is a tapas bar where my husband Jonathan and I had one of my favorite meals in Barcelona, Tapaç 24. Located just off Passeig de Gracia, this fashionable tapas bar had a busy, vibrant atmosphere. The night was mild and we were able to get one of the restuarant's sidewalk tables.
|Olives and vermouth|
|Pan con tomate|
We ordered a variety of different tapas to share. We began with olives and vermouth. We got two types of olives - simple green ones and others that were stuffed with anchovies. Olives have always been a favorite food of mine. As a child I used to like eating the black pitted ones by putting them on my finger tips. Since then I have grown to enjoy all olives and these were no exception. And like at Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid, olives and vermouth were the perfect way to start our meal at Tapaç 24. The only variation here in Barcelona was that we also had pan con tomate. This is a crisp bread rubbed with tomato and served with olive oil and salt and is a speciality of the region.
To accompany the rest of our meal we ordered a local wine from the Cataluña region. It was served in an unlabeled bottle with the year (2009) handwritten in silver marker. Since Barcelona is located on the Mediterranean Sea, the cuisine here focuses primarily on seafood. Then we got fried sardines. Like when we cooked this type of fish in San Sebastián, these sardines were fresh not preserved. They were light, crispy, and delicious. Next we got grilled shrimp and langoustines served with an orange sauce. Finally, our last dishes were arroz negro (rice cooked in squid ink) and tripe (for Jonathan). The local wine paired well with the food and both were excellent. The seafood was all local and therefore extremely fresh - not frozen or transported in from distant locations. This focus on local and intense attention to detail about all things food related in this city translates to amazing food!
|Langoustines with orange sauce|
|Tripe (for Jonathan)|
To finish our meal at Tapaç 24 we shared chocolate mousse served with olive oil, fleur de sel, and baguette crisps. It might sound like an odd combination, but it was wonderful. The chocolate mousse was thick and smooth with a rich milk chocolate flavor. It was placed in three scoops on the plate and sprinkled with fleur de sel. The grassy olive oil and salt complimented the rich chocolate, while the bread was a perfect crunch.
Next time I'm in Barcelona, I will definitely return to Tapaç 24 for tapas and chocolate mousse.
Continuing on the theme of sweets and chocolate, the last place I want to share is a chocolate shop and patisserie called Bubó. Located on the narrow streets of El Born close to the Church of Santa Maria del Mar, this beautiful little shop and cafe is a required stop of all chocoholics visiting Barcelona. We wandered upon it on our last afternoon in Barcelona and stopped for a snack. Bubó is the cutest shop and the pastries and chocolates look more like works of art than food. The only problem at this place is deciding what to get. There are so many beautiful sweets to choose from - classic pastries, small cakes, macaroons, chocolates, and more. I probably walked around the shop at least a half a dozen times admiring my options before selecting a small chocolate cake. To accompany our beautiful chocolate snack we also ordered two glasses of cava.
|Mid-afternoon snack at Bubó - chocolate and cava!|
We then took a seat in the shop and waited for our snack. Soon our snack arrived. The cava was served with strawberries floating in it. For the pastry I selected calling it a chocolate cake does not truly describe this delicacy. It was rectangular with crisp wafers on the top and the bottom and chocolate praline and mousse in between. It was crowned with a thin chocolate wafer. It was almost too beautiful to eat, but only almost. After admiring it for a moment, I took a bite. It was lovely - rich, chocolatey, and nutty. This was either the most decadent snack ever or a case of eating dessert before dinner. I savored every bite and enjoyed sharing this perfect afternoon interlude with Jonathan.
Attention chocoholics: next time you're in Barcelona, stop at Bubó for a snack.