Exploring Gràcia with Devour Barcelona
“It’s 1:00 pm and time for vermouth”, announced Renée, our Devour Barcelona tour guide. At home, vermouth at 1:00 pm would be unusual, but it seemed entirely appropriate as we strolled through the Gràcia neighbourhood. Things are different here – in a good way. Life in Barcelona, Spain seems more relaxed, spontaneous and richer – especially when it comes to eating and drinking.
I have spent time in the capital of Catalonia, but the Devour Barcelona food tour is responsible for introducing me to the authentic Gràcia neighbourhood. The food and drinks on the Devour Barcelona tour were delicious, and the accompanying stories made the experience even richer. The four-hour journey through the Gràcia neighbourhood reminded me of unwrapping a beautiful gift. We took our time. We savoured the experience – stopping in beautiful plazas, visiting Gaudi’s first major commission (Casa Vicens) tucked away on a peaceful street, and learnt what makes the Gràcia neighbourhood so special.
Our Devour Barcelona food tour included nine stops, and the focus was on traditional food experiences. Imagine a tiny bodega with dusty wine barrels and shelves filled with old glass bottles. On my own, I may peer into Bodega Ca’l Pep but wouldn’t be sure if I should stay. It was fabulous.
Or how about a tiny pastry shop run by a man who fell in love with a woman in Barcelona and immigrated from Syria decades ago? You can taste the love and dedication in the pastries at Patisseria Principe.
Every place had a story, and they were all compelling. I won’t spoil the surprise by detailing each stop, but I will tempt you with a few more highlights.
We visited Mercat de l’Abaceria Central, a historic covered market, for olives and salt cod at Conserves Gloria and a selection of local cheeses at La Trobada del Gourmet.
Mercat de l’Abaceria Central is fabulous – stalls loaded with fresh offerings at reasonable prices, elderly locals strolling the aisles and friendly merchants.
Oli Sal is a fabulous new shop focusing on olive oil, salt and a few other gourmet items. Here we sampled a variety of delicious Spanish extra virgin olive oils. I love good quality olive oil and left Oli Sal with a large shopping bag!
L’Anxoveta was a refreshing and interesting stop where we learnt how to pour a proper caña (beer) and make Pa amb tomàquet (Catalan tomato bread). The patatas bravas, fried potatoes with a spicy sauce, were unforgettable.
Our final stop was a sweet one – Pastisseria Ideal. Pastisseria Ideal has been in the same family since 1916 and today brothers Lluis and Miguel Ángel operate the shop. We were fortunate to sample a mini cremat, sponge cake topped with crema Catalana, invented by the brothers’ great-grandfather. It was a fabulous ending to a fabulous food tour.
Booking a Devour Barcelona Food Tour
- Devour Barcelona Tours are offered Tuesday to Saturday mornings at 10 am.
- The cost is €75 per adult (21% Spanish sales tax included in all prices), €45 per child age 12 & under. Free of charge for non-eating children under 5.
- Plan to arrive somewhat hungry because there at least 12 food tastings and two beverage tastings.
- Food tours are also offered in Madrid, Seville or Málaga.
Although Devour Barcelona invited me to join the tour as their guest, the opinions expressed above are my own.