Every time I think of Barcelona I can't help but sing that song by Freddie Mercury from the 1992 Olympics: "Barcelonnnnnna! It was the first time that we met..." You've got to love a rousing Olympic song, I haven't heard one for this year yet though. Anyway, since my long weekend to Spain with my friend H, when I think of Barcelona I now think of Freddie and food.

One of the things that I love about H is that she is someone who enjoys food as much as me. Breakfast is spent discussing where to go for lunch, lunch is spent discussing where to go for dinner and dinner is spent discussing all of the food enjoyed that day. Perfect. Bless her, she didn't even judge me when, despite being full from dinner, I ordered a 'four-baller' from the ice-cream stand, confessing that the only reason she wasn't joining me was because she has a wedding dress to fit into in three months. I'd say go empire-line and scoops away, but maybe that's just me.

Anyway, this was my first time in Spain and I wasn't disappointed. To be honest, how could you be disappointed in a country where, instead of serving dodgy peanuts on the bar (together with the 52 types of urine), they serve tapas, or should I say, tapath. Tapas is, however, as dangerous as the urine soaked peanuts in its own way. Laid out on the counter in all its glory, you would have to have a will of steel not to keep asking for more. Especially when it's as good looking as this:

We also enjoyed black pans full of paella which, according to the locals, should be eaten on a Thursday evening. My favourite bit of this meal was scraping up the nutty toasted grains of rice which had charred in the juices in the bottom of the pan. Yum.

Our guidebook led us to believe that breakfast isn't a big deal in Spain, but after finding a cafe full of baked goods I beg to differ:

Perfect. Especially when dunked in the spectacularly good Spanish hot chocolate. Seriously, this stuff was like chocolate custard.

Like other European cities I've visited, there seemed to be a great importance placed on the quality of the ingredients. The markets were full of people (not just tourists like me taking photos) and full of ingredients that just made you wish your hotel room had a kitchen.

I don't know whether it's just because I'm in holiday mode and out of the hamster wheel of my everyday life, but I always feel a bit cheated when I come back to London after visiting Europe. The food, the attitude to life, the free jazz in the park - how do other cities manage to get it so much more right?

Unfortunately I missed July's Daring Bakers' challenge while I was away, but I have had a peek at August's challenge and I will not be missing this one.


jasmine said...

Oh, you just brought back my memories from my March break trip to Spain when I was 16. I loved every moment of it.


Joy said...

Perhaps time to plan another trip to Spain Jasmine...

Anonymous said...

Viva Espagna! Your photos have given me a serious craving for tapaTH! Can't wait for our next trip... H xx