Anyone who reads this blog knows I'm a dyed-in-the-wool, card carrying foodie. I'd rather spend my time (and my money) on a paella pan than a pair of Jimmy Choos and I'll go to great lengths for a good meal. Those who know me personally know that the way to my heart is through my stomach. So it surely will not come as a surprise to you that when the signs started going up around town for this festival gastonomía, I was going to be there.
Hard to believe, but Thursday was the end of the first half of the semester and the students headed off for a variety of places, from Amsterdam, London and Rome to Dobrovnik, Paris and Lisbon. They have 10 days to explore as much of Europe as possible and the faculty get 10 days to unwind, catch up on grading, and explore a little ourselves.
On Friday afternoon, my British colleague Sarah and I head over to the Mercat de Mercats, the Market of Markets, a magnificent food festival at the steps of the equally magnificent gothic Cathedral in the Barri Gotic, the old gothic quarter of town.
This was no ordinary food fest. Lined up in tents four rows deep, Catalunyans and tourists alike sampled delicious vino tinto and blanco from Galicia, cavas from all over Catalunya, and tapas that could best be described as to die for. There was not a single dud in the bunch. Patatas bravas, sauteed mushrooms in a decadent cream sauce with a sprinkling of sea salt, beef skewers wrapped in brioche and a warm calamari stew that was nothing short of amazing. And that wasn't all. There were cheese vendors and salumi venders and huge loaves of fresh bread. There were freshly baked sweet cocas of chocolate and apple and savory ones with roasted vegetables and anchovies. There were olive and sweet pepper jams and decadent candies made of chocolate and nuts and candied fruits. For about $20 you could enjoy four glasses of the tastiest cava and four generous, tapas sized portioned of delicious food all while gazing up at the spectacular Gothic pillars of the Catedral.
Surely there are worse ways to spend a Friday afternoon.