Europe, Food & Drink, History & Culture

Exploring Gràcia with Devour Barcelona

May 18, 2015

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.

Sundial showing 12 signs of the zodiac in Placa de Sol Gracia in Barcelona.

Astrolabi sundial in Place de Sol

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.

Shelfs full of dusty bottles at Bodega Ca'l Pep

Bodega Ca’l Pep

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.

A platter of Syrian pastries at Pastisseria Principe in Barcelona

Delicious Syrian pastry at Pastisseria 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.

Bowls of olives, onions and peppers in the display case at at Conserves Gloria

Olive, salt cod and tomato on a skewer at Conserves Gloria in Barcelona

Olives and salt cod, Conserves Gloria

Mercat de l’Abaceria Central is fabulous – stalls loaded with fresh offerings at reasonable prices, elderly locals strolling the aisles and friendly merchants.

Loads of fruits and vegetables for sale at Mercat de L'Abaceria Central in Barcelona

Mercat de l’Abaceria Central

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!

olive oil at Oli Sal Devour Barcelona Food Tour

Olive oil and gourmet items, Oli Sal

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.

Devour Barcelona Food Tour patatas bravas from L'Anxoveta

Spicy patatas bravas, l’Anxoveta

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.

Mini cremats on a plate Devour Barcelona Food Tour

Mini cremat, Pastisseria Ideal

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.

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  • Reply Renee May 19, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Hi Nancy! Thank you for such a lovely post! It sounds like you really got the feeling we are trying to create when taking people to all these tiny, family run places around Gracia. Let us know next time you’re back in town!

    • Reply LuxeTravelFamily May 19, 2015 at 8:08 am

      Thank you Renee! It was a wonderful tour through the Gracia. Hope to see you soon:)

  • Reply Katie May 19, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Very cool. I will pass to my friends for our Barcelona girls’ getaway!

    • Reply LuxeTravelFamily May 19, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      Thanks Katie. It was a great experience and the Gracia neighbourhood is fun to explore.

  • Reply Lauren Aloise June 3, 2015 at 3:44 am

    These are such gorgeous pictures from your tour! Thanks again for coming along and it was lovely to meet you in Costa Brava!

    • Reply LuxeTravelFamily June 3, 2015 at 6:34 am

      Thanks Lauren! It was lovely to meet you too. The Devour Barcelona tour was one of the highlights of my trip to Barcelona and Costa Brava.

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