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 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 Barcelona tapas tour, our Barcelona tour guide, a culinary expert or chef, will shine light on this tradition, taking us on a delectable tour of top tapas purveyors around the trendy, up-and-coming Poble-Sec area. Together, we will reveal the basis of Catalan tapas and see how they have evolved with the influence of the rest of Spain and its recent avant-garde culinary movements.
Barcelona Tapas Tour
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.” We will begin our mouth-watering walk in a Poble-Sec taverna. 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. While this traditional Spanish libation has remained a local favorite, vermouth has enjoyed a recent resurgence outside of Spain thanks to the craft cocktail movement, inspiring the rest of the world to sit up and take note. This sweet, fortified wine is traditionally enjoyed over ice, and pairs well with Catalan tapas
Following our introduction to Barcelona's approach to tapas, we will then head to one or two other nearby bodegas, perhaps one where the friendly owner puts an innovative twist on favorites such as bomba, potato balls with spicy meat. Along the way we might find 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 neighborhood favorite “Quimet y Quimet.” The current owners are the fourth generation proprietors, serving up possibly the world’s best montaditos, or small sandwiches. We will taste for ourselves their wonderful made-to-measure creations.
"Our tour was fabulous. Our docent knew the history and food of Barcelona and her knowledge was unbelievable. We visited several food venues that were different and unusual. We would have never found these on our own. She asked us what we liked and did not like but we trusted her to order for us so to expand our experience."
Our final taverna will highlight Barcelona as a cosmopolitan city. Over the last century, people from all parts of Spain, especially Galicia or Andalusia, flocked to Barcelona in search of work, bringing their culinary traditions along with them. We may stop in at a hip Basque bar serving up seasonal pintxos, tapas on bread traditionally from the region on the opposite side of the country, which is now rivals Catalonia's once steadfast hold on the contemporary food scene. This will give us the opportunity to come full circle, discussing how these outside elements are shaping Barcelona today, creating fusion approaches to classics.
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.
This walk takes place around dinner time. Will the tastings be enough for dinner?
The various tastings on the walk are significant and can be considered a replacement for a meal. If you are looking for a more formal meal, you may enjoy our seminar Modernista Menu: Avant-Garde Barcelona Cuisine.
I have dietary restrictions. Can I take this tour? We will do our best to accommodate you if you are on a group tour by ordering appropriate items. Taking a private tour would allow us to tailor even more fully to your needs. Please note that if you have severe allergies we cannot guarantee that the foods prepared in restaurant kitchens will not be subject to cross-contamination.