If you're a foodie, Barcelona is the place to be! Specifically, Isha recommends visiting La Boqueria, a bustling market where you'll find native Catalonian specialties, as well as high-quality food from around the world.
Barcelona, the cosmopolitan and globalized capital of Catalonia, is known to be one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. From being home to different identities within the country to a mecca for immigrant groups from around the globe, the city has a culture that is very diverse in its roots.
But the Barcelona we see today, where the historical architecture and urban planning are constantly appreciated by the people visiting from all around the world and the rich culture of arts, music, and literature are evolving, was not built overnight. Over the past centuries, Barcelona has been built, destroyed and reconstructed, but amidst all of this what has remained constant is the change. The change in the planning of the city and the evolution of its heritage, both of which are the most important contributing factors to the city’s growth in tourism.
One such example of these tourist sites that is very significant in today’s time is La Boqueria—the most famous food market and widely visited tourist spot located in the center of La Ramblas. In the late 19th century after the death of Fernando VII, his daughter Isabel was left as the heir of the Empire. She was in power under the regency of her mother and her Minister of Finance was Juan Alvarez Mendizabal, a liberal military man who had returned from England. Mendizabal confiscated the properties of the Catholic church and sold them to raise capital and once these buildings were sold and demolished, new housing structures like factories, theatres and markets were built. During this time, medieval buildings like Capilla Real de Santa Agata were lost but gave birth to important tourist hubs in the city, one of them being La Boqueria.
About two-thirds of the way down La Ramblas - the most widely visited street in Barcelona, you enter the food paradise of La Boqueria where different cultures unite over the common connect of food.
Visiting a local market while studying abroad is always beneficial, especially while you’re living in an apartment. It helps you stock up your groceries for the week when you’re busy with exams or have a hectic week at your internship and also helps you balance your meal costs through the program. Other than this, markets like La Boqueria are also great places to witness the culture of Barcelona which is greatly connected to their diversity in food.
One of the best places to buy the special Jamon Iberico!
In addition to seeing the lifestyle of tourists and locals in Barcelona, La Boqueria is also the right spot to do so without compromising on the quality of food. Their vendors are always selling good quality vegetables, fruits and take away food that caters to the local culture of Barcelona. In addition to some of the native specialties of Catalonia, the market also sells good quality produce from around the world. So if you’re missing some food from home, visit and you might just find it there.
Just being in the bustling market food is a very delightful feeling for foodies. One visit and you will marvel the richness of the produce in the market and the people from all walks of life uniting for the sake of delicious food.
Spices from around the world.
Isha Mahajan was an official CEA CAPA blogger for fall 2019, sharing her story in frequent posts on our blog. A Political Science and Journalism major at University of Massachusetts Amherst, she studied abroad in Barcelona.
Isha's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.