Thursday, August 23, 2012
Mercat Del Clot: An amazing market and culinary experience in Barcelona
As you know, I took a little vacation to Spain this year and as usual, I took the chance to make my vacation into a culinary trip. I made a point of tasting all the local foods, visit supermarkets, try out some restaurants and even giving it a go at cooking some of the local dishes. I spoke to as many people as possible to get the tips and tricks and directions to the best places to eat and enjoy the fantastic food Spain has to offer.
Very close to our hotel in Barcelona, there was a churros van, which we eagerly adopted as our breakfast spot everyday (no kidding). While eating our yummy churros, I noticed people coming up the street with bags full of amazing vegetables and fresh bread. It hit me - "Farmers market! there must be one very close by". So I took my daughter for a little adventure down that road. And success! less than a block down the street was the most amazing market I have seen - Mercat del Clot
The market, is a mix of fruit, fish and meat market. It is amazingly clean, bright, colorful and what struck me the most is that even though we were surrounded by fish mongers, there was not a hint of fishy smell in the air.
As you enter the market, you were greeted by 2 huge fruit and vegetable stalls. It was amazing to see the color, the freshness and the variety. I had the greatest time showing my daughter all the different fruits and vegetables, some new to her. (During the whole trip we played a game with my kids every time we went to a supermarket: we had to go to the produce section and find a fruit that they had never seen before, we will then proceed to buy it and eat it - true culinary discovery for my kids!!! They loved it and so did I.) Anyhow, she found many new fruits in here to inspire her.
Then there were a series of olive vendors, there were many different varieties. I tried them all! I love olives. My daughter, well, she was not that impressed so I could not hang out there long enough, she kept pushing me to the fish counters, and I know why. Right there in front of her were all these fish staring at her! Literally!
Remember this is Barcelona, so you can't get any closer to the sea and the quality of the fish was bar none. I was in heaven!
From there I had to stop on the ham counter.
I truly spend my 2 weeks vacation eating a different Jamón Ibérico everyday. I bought a little of each one of the hams on display and about a pound of the most amazing fuet (a type of salami that it is to die for)!
On our way out we went to the meat counters and my daughter stopped very suddenly in front of one of the glass counters pointing at a small animal. It did not take me long to recognize the little rabbits. I am glad that she had the same reaction I did when I was 6 years old and was shown a perfectly skinned rabbit, ready to be cooked:
Why would anybody eat such a nice fluffy little animal?