La Boqueria Market, Barcelona

La Boqueria Market in Barcelona is, without a doubt, one of the best food markets in Spain.

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More than just a market, La Boqueria is a gastronomic adventure, where visitors and regular shoppers alike can enjoy the vibrant colours of the exotic fruits and the freshness of the meat from the butcher, and can marvel at the size of the humongous fish presented on ice.

La Boqueria: the heart and the stomach of Barcelona

Despite having been to Barcelona many times, I’ve never written much about it here on, yet it is one of my favourite cities.

The reason I have not yet got around to sharing on the blog is because Barcelona is such a grand city, with so much to offer, that I’ve just never known where to start.

Well now, thanks to our current Destination of the Month: Markets of the World, I have found the perfect place to begin. And what better way to get to know a city than through its local gastronomy?

La Boqueria Market is right in the heart of Barcelona, on one of the most famous streets in the world: Las Ramblas. It is located half way up the Ramblas, between the sea and Barcelona’s busiest square: Plaza Catalunya.

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La Boqueria is the market of choice by local chefs

La Boqueria must be a good market if it is frequented by so many local chefs with restaurants in the area. And you can imagine how many fresh tapas are produced every single day at the restaurants up and down the Ramblas.

To have the seal of approval from local chefs means that the produce on offer here is of very high quality. But as well as local chefs and small restaurant owners, La Boqueria also has the seal of approval from world famous and world renowned chefs. Here is what Ferran Adria of El Bulli Restaurant, one of the world’s most admired chefs, had to say about La Boqueria:

“La Boqueria is a gastronomic temple, a place that congregates all the phases in the food chain, from the producers, harvesters, butchers and fishmongers who provide the food, to the individual and professional clients who wander through this magnificent, characteristic maze of traders in charge of the market stalls.”


Highlights of La Boqueria Market

For me, the best time to visit La Boqueria Market is on the last day of my stay in Barcelona, right before I leave to fly back to Majorca. That way I can buy lots of fresh produce and amazing cheese and any other fresh products that take my fancy and which we can’t get in Majorca.

The food markets in Majorca are steadily becoming more varied but its still difficult to get certain spices, exotic fruits or particular cuts of meat. For instance, I remember the first time I got fennel bulb at La Boqueria Market – I had never seen it in Majorca, but now it’s relatively easy to find. But there’s always something new or different at the market in the big city for us island-dwellers. And many times I have smuggled odd things, which shouldn’t be carried, onto the 25 minute Ryanair flight.

As well as being able to find just about anything from snakes eggs to sheep’s head at La Boqueria Market, it’s not all about buying. If you have read my other posts about markets, you will know that for me, the experience of the market itself is just as important as what you can buy there.

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My favourite experience at La Boqueria Market is brunch. There are many bars in the market offering tapas and dishes made with fresh produce from the market stalls. Some of the bars have been there for decades and offer the same traditional dishes they always have done and some of the bars are modern, offering their clients something a little more out of the ordinary. But at La Boqueria Market there is something for everyone. After choosing what to eat, the most difficult part is finding a seat.

One of the best ways to visit La Boqueria is on a tour. The Gastronomy Tour organised by the tourist information office is well worth 20€ and 3 hours of your morning. Not only do they take you on a tour of La Boqueria Market but they also take you around the city centre showing you the traditional bakeries, tapas bars, wine bars and much more. If you are interested in gastronomy then it’s one not to be missed.

History of La Boqueria Market

It is believed that the market has been in existence since the 12th century when it was probably an outdoor market on the Ramblas, that the stall holders would set up and dismantle every day.

It is believed that once the market became a permanent fixture it was held outside the city walls because there was not enough space within the walls. In the 18th century it was given a permanent spot on the Rambla de Sant Josep (in fact, still today, the market’s full name is El Mercat de la Boqueria de Sant Josep).

In the 1830s, the market was moved from its outdoor location on the Ramblas to its current place in a purpose-built market structure. In 1871 gas lighting was introduced in the market.

In 1914 the metal roof was inaugurated and from there the market began to modernise and develop both aesthetically and in terms of sanitation.

Many of today’s traders are third and forth generation market traders.

In 2003 a culinary classroom was added to the market and now there are regular events and cooking courses for people to take part in. Info here: Boqueria Food School.

My Favourite Markets

As you know, here on InMyShoesTravel at the moment, we are sharing our favourite markets around the world. Which is yours? And why?

Here are some of mine. Click on the link to read the post:

Filed Under: barcelonafeaturedfood and drinkMarketsspain

About the Author: Based in Mallorca, obsessed with the world and have a lot to say about both... Step into my shoes and join me on a journey...

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