In America, we think we are hot stuff because of all our growing farmer’s markets across the country. Or in Manhattan, a place like Eataly seems like a whole new invention. And then you go to Barcelona, which, like many cities in Europe, has a food market in the middle of the city that has been there forever. Actually, la Boqueria of Barcelona is (according to my Frommer’s Guide) the largest in Europe. If you love food, la Boqueria is worth a visit to Barcelona in and of itself.
My daughter and I visited there a few weeks ago, and I took some pictures with my iPhone that, hopefully, give you a sense of what it’s like.
Then, you have your choice of dozens of flavors of delicious fresh juices. I picked a hot-pink cactus fruit with coconut. YUM!
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We had breakfast at El Quim, which is apparently a famous eatery inside the market. I couldn’t help but snicker, since it is also a horridly rude Victorian slang term for a female’s private parts.
But if there is one thing you learn at la Boqueria, it is that no part goes unsold. I DID NOT take pictures of all the stands selling innards—too rude even for me. And of course there was fish, fish, and more fish, all fresh.
What la Boqueria makes me think about is how vital a city can be if it keeps fresh local food at the center of it. In America, our idea of “progress and efficiency” has pushed food to the outskirts of towns. The return of farmer’s markets is a great sign of hope. But you have to respect a culture that never pushed food out to begin with.
By the way, the Catalonians (as they call themselves in Barcelona) aren’t opposed to progress and efficiency. In fact, they have built the largest urban solar energy installation in the world, which they also use as a pavilion to shade concerts and events!
I did not take pictures of all the gorgeous fruits and vegetables—it was too painful, since I knew I couldn’t take anything home to cook.
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