I first went to Barcelona in 1957 with my parents and I actually have a memory from that time because we went on board
a replica of the Columbus’ Santa Maria which was very cool. We also went on board a US Navy frigate for some reason, probably so my US Air Force father could pick up a pay check or perhaps his spying instructions.
I visited Barcelona later too, the last time a few years ago when I rented an apartment while my son was on his study-year abroad. The Boqueria is the famous Barcelona market, but I often went shopping at the Mercat San Caterina in Sant Pere because it had no tourists who tended to get in your way when shopping at the Boqueria.
My apartment was in the Gothic Quarter so I went via C/ Jaume and crossed over Via Laietana to Princesa and made a left at some little street. An easier way to go is perhaps from the northwest side off the Avda Francesc Cambó. I circulated for a while taking everything in: there’s a lot and I also had to keep focused on what I was making that evening. I stopped at Olives i Conserves Torres, mcat. Sta. caterine 15-16 (Tel: 93 319-21-51) where I bought some Jaen green olives that are a slightly bitter and spicy. I also got saffron and noticed a jar of allioli and asked the guy if it was any good. He started explaining how to make it and I said I knew how to make it I just wanted to know about the quality because the jarred kinds were awful. He smiled and said this was very good. He asked if I was Italian because I kept using Italian, and I said no American, and he said but somebody is Italian, right, and I said my grandfather. He was satisfied.
Then I moved on to get vegetables at Labrador: fruit dels bosc i bolet, mcat. Santa Caterine 168-171 (Tel: 93 319 95 03) and I bought mushrooms, they look like golden trumpet, at 24 euro a kilo. I bought 6 euro (400 grams). I also bought some tomatoes, mongetes (runner beans), and a fleshy red bell pepper (marrones). It was rather expensive as all the vegetables cost 13.69 euro. On the other hand, I guess that’s what I spend at home. Then I went to Maribel: xarcuteria i cansaladeria, mcat. Santa caterina (Tel: 93 268 05 80) for the sausages. This was fun as I told them I wanted 4 different kinds of sausage for 4 people. They sold me botifarra negre for boiling and the same for roasting and then three types of white botifarra. The vendor tied a red string around the one that was to be boiled, otherwise it
might burst, but as soon as I got home I couldn’t remember if the red-string one was to be boiled or roasted. I also got two cheeses, one a nameless (I guess) goat cheese with an orange rind that was slightly tart and bitter. I also got a Tres Leches, Artesano de Cantabria (quesos artesano de los picos de Europa) made with 50% sheep, 40% cow, and 10% goat milk.
Dinner that night was great and it is so fun to having a relaxing dinner at home in Barcelona.