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FoodMan

Barcelona food shopping

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I will be in Barcelona and elBulli in the end of this month. Of course I would like to bring a few food items back with me. What should I bring back? Cheeses, chocolates, wine,...? What shops are a must-visit?

Thanks

Elie


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I will be in Barcelona and elBulli in the end of this month. Of course I would like to bring a few food items back with me. What should I bring back? Cheeses, chocolates, wine,...? What shops are a must-visit?

Thanks

Elie

when i returned from a stay in barcelona i filled my carryon with as much excellent olive oil i could carry. if i remember correctly it was llerida - very cloudy and very very good. the other thing you can bring which is light and easy to carry is saffron. i brought loads back for everyone in the family plus the dog sitter, plant waterer, etc.

have fun - barcelolna is a great city. make sure to see the gaudi buildings, museums and just soak in the barrcelona atmosphere on paaeig de gracia. :smile:

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- One wheel of mature Manchego (Queso Manchego Viejo).

- Jamon Serrano ham (poor brother to Parma Ham)

- Few bottles of Cava bubly (Spanish answer to Champagne) and Rioja red (Cross of Burgundy v Chianti)

- Olive oil (quite good actually)

On second thought just get one wheel of mature Manchego...

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- Jamon Serrano ham (poor brother to Parma Ham)

You might want to add "In my opinion" to your quoted sentence. Many people would not consider Jamon a poor brother to anything.

Regarding what to bring, be aware of custom regulations. Some items such as Jamon Iberico are ilegal to bring to US soil. You have the risk of losing those items.

Alex

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I will second Olive Oil. Dauro is a producer that I brought back. It is quality oil. Vinegars are excellent as are wines. There are a multitude of each of these, although since you will be in Catalunya I suggest concentrating on examples from that area. Bring back whatever you try and like. Other possibilities include rice from Valencia, dried beans, anchovies from L'Escala, chocolate, especially from Cacao Sampaka or Oriol Balaguer, piquillo peppers, jarred tuna -esp. ventresca, other canned "tapas". The area is also known for its foie gras, of which, I believe, the canned varieties are legal to bring back. The Boqueria alone will giveyou all sorts of ideas. bring an extra suitcase. :wink:


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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If you're OK with bringing some Jamon in your suitcase, don't miss Jamonisimo, on the corner of Viladomat and Provença. They are allegedly one of the best ham purveyors in Spain, and will vacuum-pack as much of it as you can afford (it goes for about 135 EUR x kg). Try some, and then let us know who's "poor brother" this ham is.... :angry:

One other item I would bring back are some boquerones back as docsconz suggests.

If you are interested in oil, search this forum, i think it was vserna or pedro who published a list of "best spanish oils" or something to that effect.

As for wine, Rioja is indeed the best well known Spanish wine region outside of the country, but do visit one of the big wine shops and let someone knowledgeable suggest some other great regions to take with you, i.e. Priorat, Somontano, Ribera del Duero, etc.

SD


We''ve opened Pazzta 920, a fresh pasta stall in the Boqueria Market. follow the thread here.

My blog, the Adventures of A Silly Disciple.

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- Jamon Serrano ham (poor brother to Parma Ham)

:blink::blink::blink:

- Rioja red (Cross of Burgundy v Chianti)

:blink::blink::blink:

- Olive oil (quite good actually)

:blink::blink::blink:

My God! I'm crosseyed!!

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Thanks for the suggestions.

I love the idea of picking up some canned tapas. Also I cannot believe I forgot about Saffron. Needless to say the great Jamon Serrano and Manchego were already on the list.

I am hoping I will have time to stop by The Boqueria. From these pics it looks like an amazing place.

So the list thus far looks something like this:

-Jamon

-Manchego

-Saffron

-chocolate

-Canned stuff (Piquillo, anchovies,...)

-Olive Oil

-Wine

Elie


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Hi Foodman

I have to second docsconz on chocolates from Cacao Sampaka. The flavors are very unique and the packaging and presentation just beautiful. I make sure to bring a couple of boxes back as gifts every time I go home for Christmas. The store is on C/ Consell de Cent 292 between Balmes and Rambla de Catalunya. Tel +34 932720833

Another place worth a visit is the Colmado Quilez, just a few blocks up Rambla Catalunya from Cacao Sampaka. I believe it was mentioned a while back on another thread. This place is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the palette. The store has been around or almost a century and stocks almost everything you can think of: wine, spirits, cheeses, canned goods, spices, you name it. If you don't see it behind the counter, then ask the sales staff. I'm sure they'll have it in the back! This is a good place to get your canned tapas. They are located at Rambla Catalunya 63. Just on the corner of C/Arago. Opening hours are 9:00-14:00 and 16:30-20:30. Tel +34 932152356

If you manage to hit the Boqueria in the morning, then check out the mushrooms at Petras. I like to stock up on dried mushrooms whenever this stall is open. I dont have their number handy, but I can dig it up if you like.

Hope this helps.

Bash

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I'd take a run to a frutos secos store for marcona almonds, almendras garrapiñadas... Also--if you like to cook--bomba rice, fabes from Asturias, Fuentesaco garbanzos, those tiny little lentils... A couple of Valor "Chocolate a la taza" bars... Canned mussels, navajas, berberechos from Galicia... White asparagus and pimientos del piquillo from Navarra....

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Take a look at this thread and don't leave without a butifarra and a botle of spanish wine.


Rogelio Enríquez aka "Rogelio"

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Of all the canned fish and seafood, I'd favor some nice plump anchovies. I favor the white bocarones over the standard anchovies one usually finds in the markets in the US, but they have a much shorter shelf life, even if they're not opened.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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As for sourcing the anchovies, it is a legitimate item for discussion as to where the best anchovies come from. Some prefer the Mediterranean anchovies from L'Escal, while others prefer Cantabrian anchovies. Since you will be in Catalunya, I suggest you get those from L'escala. If you are going up to San Sebastien as well, get those too and see for yourself!


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I favor the white bocarones . . .

Bux, you must be referring to boquerones en vinagre.


PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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I favor the white bocarones . . .

Bux, you must be referring to boquerones en vinagre.

Si señor. I was searching for the spelling. I should never trust finding it on google. The web is full of misspellings. On the other hand, "bocarones" may well be the French spelling and an acceptable English spelling as well. I always ask for boquerones in my local shop, but it's an Italian shop and I have to correct myself and ask for the "anchovies in vinegar." The ones I get exported from Italy to the US, make it well worthwhile bringing them back from Spain. The ones I've found in NY are too acidic, perhaps to keep longer and not nearly as fat as the ones I will see in bulk or even in small jars in the market in Spain, or at least in San Sebastian and Barcelona. I should add Madrid as well though I miss the regional quality I don't find in markets in Madrid. It's the same way shopping in Paris. The quality is excellent, but it misses the atmosphere.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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If you're really going to go through the trouble of a leg of ham in your suitcase, go all out and get a leg of Jamon Iberico.

The brands I know are, in ascending order of quality, Jabugo, Bellotta, and, if you could get it, Joselito (IMO, of course). I am sure they are legions more, those who are more enlightened than I am on this matter could help you out. Do pay attention to brands though, not all iberico hams are created equal.


chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

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If you're really going to go through the trouble of a leg of ham in your suitcase, go all out and get a leg of Jamon Iberico.

The brands I know are, in ascending order of quality, Jabugo, Bellotta, and, if you could get it, Joselito (IMO, of course).  I am sure they are legions more, those who are more enlightened than I am on this matter could help you out.  Do pay attention to brands though, not all iberico hams are created equal.

No I really am NOT lugging a whole leg of ham for several reasons:

- Luggage space

- $$$

- Customs

- Wife's wrath if I try smuggling a cured pig's leg in her suitcase

So, at the most I'll buy a nice slab vac packed and bring that back.

Elie


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Eat and drink all you can in Barcelona. The best place El Mercado de la Boqueria (the market) is in La Rambla. Dont miss there the food book store and the lady that sells insects for cooking

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A very typical Catalan product that has not been mentioned is llardons, pork scratchings (they're called chicharrones in Spain but I'm not sure they're done the same way). They're used in the more widely known 'coca (cake) de llardons' but they can be outstanding on their own. Unfortunately most butcher shops and supermarkets have an industrial version that is not quite the thing. Be advised that the name llardons comes from llard, pig lard, so it's a very heavy snack.

I've never bought them in Barcelona, since my mother brings me some every now and then, but I'd try La Botifarreria de Santa Maria (Carrer Santa Maria 4, in El Born neighbourhood) where you could probably find them and also stock up on excellent botifarres and embotits (Catalan sausages).

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If you're really going to go through the trouble of a leg of ham in your suitcase, go all out and get a leg of Jamon Iberico.

The brands I know are, in ascending order of quality, Jabugo, Bellotta, and, if you could get it, Joselito (IMO, of course).  I am sure they are legions more, those who are more enlightened than I am on this matter could help you out.  Do pay attention to brands though, not all iberico hams are created equal.

That "not all iberico hams are created equal" is very good and very important advice although I don't ever recall having bad ham in Spain. Jabugo, Bellotta and Joselito are not all brands however and thinking of them as different brands or grades is bound to casue some confusion. It's unfortunate that someone seems to have trademarked the term "jabugo" in the US. It would be like trademarking the name "champagne" or "roquefort," unless that someone happens to be an association protecting the rights of those who raise pork in Spain. I don't know that is the case as the web page for jabugo.com has been taken by a web source for Spanish products.

Jabugo, to the best of my knowledge, is the name given the ham from the "black foot" pata negra breed of pig. Bellotta is the Spanish work for acorns and when applied to ham it signifies the pig from which the ham is made was fed on a diet of acorns. Joselito is a brand name and its generally agreed they make the best ham in Spain, but even they make more than one quality. A jam bearing all three words should be of the highest quality found. Such hams are very expensive, even in Spain. That real jamon, cured in Spain from pigs raised and slaughtered in Spain, has not yet been available in the US may be the reasons some are shocked by prices brought by top quality ham in Spain.

I'll look for one of our resident experts to edit and amend my definitions.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Having just returned ( yesterday) from BCN here is my list

Some fine Jammon (2 200 gr. packages) but not Bellota ( if US customs found it they would take it and I could not stand for that and to avoid being arrested for my irate response .....)

A big hunk ( 1/4 wheel) of manchego viejo

1 whole fresh cheese from Santiago ( Vaca. like a young San Simon? ) bought at the market from a very old women that was keeping them fresh by covering with damp , very old sweaters. Which prompted the wife to ask " you're not going to eat that are you?" Yes and so are you was my response. Of course she did and it is great.

2 Picon from Bejas direct from producers

2 Cabrales from Sotres direct from producers

Assorted small whole cheeses of Oveja, and Cabra from in and around the Pyrenees such as Roncal and Benasque.

2 small sealed packages of boquerones ( white anchovies)

Several chorizo de' casa bought all over Spain.

Several packages ( cans) of Pat'e ( goose and duck) from the Pyerenees near the French border. Some better than others and some expensive, some not.

Some really fine Membrillo

Some artisanal chocholates from Catalunya near Bor. as well as others.

Amazing ceramics from Bun`o and Bonxe.

We did not have any problems with customs so in hindsight I wish I had bought some Bellota.

David


David West

A.K.A. The Mushroom Man

Founder of http://finepalatefoods.com/

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That "not all iberico hams are created equal" is very good and very important advice although I don't ever recall having bad ham in Spain. Jabugo, Bellotta and Joselito are not all brands however 

learn something new everyday, thanks.

Joselito is certainly the best I've had, and incidentally it's the brand that Robuchon serves at both L'Atelier and La Table in Paris. Unfortunately they've taken to pre-slicing and keeping the slices in the fridge prior to serving, a serious disrespect for this marvelous ingredient.


chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

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If you're really going to go through the trouble of a leg of ham in your suitcase, go all out and get a leg of Jamon Iberico.

The brands I know are, in ascending order of quality, Jabugo, Bellotta, and, if you could get it, Joselito (IMO, of course).  I am sure they are legions more, those who are more enlightened than I am on this matter could help you out.  Do pay attention to brands though, not all iberico hams are created equal.

That "not all iberico hams are created equal" is very good and very important advice although I don't ever recall having bad ham in Spain. Jabugo, Bellotta and Joselito are not all brands however and thinking of them as different brands or grades is bound to casue some confusion. It's unfortunate that someone seems to have trademarked the term "jabugo" in the US. It would be like trademarking the name "champagne" or "roquefort," unless that someone happens to be an association protecting the rights of those who raise pork in Spain. I don't know that is the case as the web page for jabugo.com has been taken by a web source for Spanish products.

Jabugo, to the best of my knowledge, is the name given the ham from the "black foot" pata negra breed of pig. Bellotta is the Spanish work for acorns and when applied to ham it signifies the pig from which the ham is made was fed on a diet of acorns. Joselito is a brand name and its generally agreed they make the best ham in Spain, but even they make more than one quality. A jam bearing all three words should be of the highest quality found. Such hams are very expensive, even in Spain. That real jamon, cured in Spain from pigs raised and slaughtered in Spain, has not yet been available in the US may be the reasons some are shocked by prices brought by top quality ham in Spain.

I'll look for one of our resident experts to edit and amend my definitions.

Not exactly like that, I'm afraid. Let's see:

There are five official "denominaciones de origen" for jamón:

Jabugo is a town in the Jamón de Huelva D.O. This town has a long tradition of producing outstanding hams and the term jamón de Jabugo has always been a synonym for the best ham in the country. The 5J of Sánchez Romero Carvajal is one of the best products of this D.O. BTW, in geographical terms, Huelva is a province of Andalucía.

But Guijuelo is competing with Jamón de Huelva for the supremacy in the production of the very best jamones. Even though the Guijuelo D.O. allows for pigs coming from a number of provinces (Salamanca, Ávila, Zamora, Segovia, Cáceres, Badajoz, Sevilla, Córdoba, Huelva, Ciudad Real and Toledo; please notice that Huelva is included on that list), the elaboration is restricted to some towns in the southeastern of Salamance. Of course, Guijuelo is one of these towns. And Joselito is one of the best producers of this D.O. Which is to say one of the best in the country.

Bellota, with a single 't', is the name for acorn, as Bux wrote, and he was also correct about the pata negra, or more properly, cerdo ibérico (Iberic pork), being a breed of pig. Not all the Ibéricos have to be fed with bellotas, though that combination is the most valued one. Each D.O. has its own regulations about whether the pork has to be 100% Ibérico or which percentage of blood coming from other breeds it's allowed, the food that they can eat and the classification which depends on those factors (among others).


PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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. . . .

learn something new everyday, thanks.

. . . .

You're welcome, but no kidding, foreign travel brings one in contact with an array of confusing terms and I have a mind like a sieve, but at those prices, I ought to have some idea of what I'm buying. I'm grateful to Victor and the other Spaniards on the site for straightening much of that stuff out for me. Which is not to say I still don't need more lessons than I can give.

Edit to say: I see Pedro's just been giving a lesson while I was posting. I'll take a seat in the back of the class next to Pim.

In terms of slicing, die hard aficionados of fine ham believe mechanical slicers run too fast, heat up the meat and ruin the taste. Certainly for art and a sense of place, nothing competes with seeing the entire ham behind the bar and watching an expert slice it by hand. I would assume those prepacked offerings, even at better shops are all sliced by machine. In any event, I don't think Robuchon is the place to enjoy Jamon. Even in Paris I suspect there are better places. I've defended the quality of the food at l'Atelier de JR and the value of a meal there, but I don't think ham is a good buy. A bit off topic, but Bellotta-Bellotta on rue Jean Nicot has been recommeded to me for Spanish tapas and ham in Paris. I never made it there. It was not so surprising as I was on my way to San Sebastian when the recommendation was made.


Edited by Bux (log)

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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