12 June 2009

Mercat de Sant Josep de La Boqueria

Barcelona has a very active market culture with mercats (markets) scattered across the city. There is a very good website in Catalan - Mercats Municipals de Barcelona - which has a lot of good information on the markets.

The most popular mercat for tourists to visit is centrally located on Las Ramblas. Its name - Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria - is more commonly abbreviated to La Boqueria and it's located not far from the Liceu Metro station on the L3 line.

Click images to see sharper, bigger ones

La_Boqueria_EntranceThe main entrance to the mercat off Las Ramblas

Wandering through the aisles brings the realisation that there isn't much in the way of fresh produce that isn't sold here. Interspersed with café bars selling delicious food, the market is divided into sections.

The main entrance is lined with fruit and vegetable stores; their produce stacked high in beautiful displays that must take some skill to build. Fresh fruit juices of all kinds can be bought and sipped on as you wander deeper into the market.

Fruit_JuicesDelicious fruit juices

Fruit_VegesChoosing fruit and veges

Fruit_StallPrepared fruit to takeaway or eat immediately!

Fruit_ShopThe locals shop at the stores that are further into the mercat

FruitBeautiful fruit displays

LettuceWhich lettuce to choose?

Dried fruit, nuts and sweets are mixed into the fruit and vegetable section, and the amount of available produce is astounding. It all looks really delicious, but there are so many choices that I can never make a decision about what to buy.

SweetsDried goods and candies

Dried_Fruit_NutsMore stock is added

LolliesSpot the tweetie birds and smurfs!

Dry_FruitA bewildering selection - at least to me!

CandySweets of all kinds

The fish section is loud, large, wet and full of all kinds of intriguing seafood. Lots of shellfish and so many different types of shrimps and prawns are stacked on ice together with octopus, squid, and scale fish. Look, but don't touch unless you're intending to buy!

SeafoodA small selection

Fish_StallWaiting to be served

The meat area is full of little shops offering fresh meat as well as processed varieties. Jamón Ibérico and lots of other choices hang from racks waiting to be bought.

Meat_Counter Processed meats

Jamon_IbericoJamón Ibéricos

ButcherThe butcher cuts up chops

There are even shops which specialise in selling offal - and other delicacies!

OffalStomachs, guts and tongues

SheepHeadsSheep heads

In the poultry section, there's a shop which sells all kinds of eggs including ostrich and emu.

EggsEggs of all sizes

On our first visit to Barcelona in January, we stopped at one of the market's cafés for a bite to eat. Finding a seat can be a challenge, but it's worth the hassle for a taste of some of the best food (and at a reasonable cost) that Barcelona has to offer. Just remember to keep all your belongings in front of you on your lap, as theft can happen quite quickly when you are distracted by the lovely food and all the activity behind the counters!

PrawnsI had big prawns (gambetas)

CalamariJ had calamari (sepia)

We take our guests into La Boqueria so that they can get a sense of what the market is all about. Of course, I love to wander around to take photos.

PimientosPimientos and garlic hang in front of preserves and condiments

Cross_It_offCross another item off the shopping list

We do advise that you go early as the crowds start to build during the day, and at times it can be quite difficult to struggle through the masses to look at everything. Plus, some of the stalls do close between 1pm and 4pm for the traditional siesta time.

LatinoSouth America is represented

We have local mercats that are much closer to where we live. When we explore these, we'll also share what we find on this blog!


Jayne said...

I would lurrrve to do my shopping in a place like that hon! There's just sooo much charachter about it & i bet if you're a regular, you'd get to know the traders & their 'stories'.
So much more appealing than an Abu Dhabi Co-op or Lulu store!

JR said...

Awesome market,great photos.I would love to eat my way through it and spend forever photographing the people and the produce.Glad you photograph your meals before you eat them it's a wonderful way to relieve the experience.

Pandabonium said...

Rule #1 - never visit there when hungry. (But do take a camera.)

Oman said...

So – if a market is called a mercat – what is a meercat called :)

nzm said...

Jayne: It's awesome! We're looking forward to going to some of our local mercats when the weather gets cooler! Co-op and Lulu have nothing on these places!

JR: thanks and welcome to our blog. Good food should be recorded for posterity and the memories!

PandaB: you're correct. My mouth drools at some of the food, so the camera comes in pretty handy at hiding it!

Oman: welcome to our blog. Do you know how much we love Oman? :-) AFAIK, a meercat is a meercat in Spanish too!

Carlos Lorenzo said...

Hey, great series. La Boqueria in all its splendor. Colorful and contrasty. Nice work.

nzm said...

Thank you Carlos, and welcome to our blog. I have learned so much about Barcelona and Catalunya from visiting your blog!