My first cooking lesson in Barcelona began at the Boqueria market for a shopping tour. Everyone was from a different country and the group included (mostly) newly-weds and families traveling together. I was the only one on my own, but felt very welcomed.
Our market tour started at 3:45 pm that day and never before had I enjoyed shopping for groceries as much! The Boqueria is an amalgamate of scents, flavors, and people (it tends to be busy throughout the day). Even pigeons fly in to get a peek – or taste, if they’re lucky! Even if you’re not hungry walking through it, your stomach will start to rumble with the wide collection of fresh foods all around you.
Theresa, our cooking class chef from Cook & Taste, was very helpful and kind as we bombarded her with our millions of “What’s this?”, “How do we eat this?” and “Where is this from?” curiosities. Did you know that they sell bull meat at the Boqueria? It looks just like steak but much more expensive and quite controversial with the uprising against bullfighting. Theresa also showed us all the good places to shop within the market itself as it is quite huge, such as steering clear of the middle shops with fancy displays which tend to not have the best quality and are too expensive.
After picking out our fish, shrimp, cheese (I am in love with Manchego cheese), eggs, vegetables and olives, we headed back to the kitchen based a few blocks away from the Boqueria on the popular Ramblas. The kitchen was huge, clean and ideally the type I’d love to have for myself.
Each of us got to work on a different plate from the set appetizers, main course and desert on the menu. It was really fun learning how it all came together. My dish was “chupito de sopa tomate” – a tomato soup (considered an appetizer) topped with garlic, nuts, parsley and grated sheep cheese. It came out really well, if I can say so myself!
The wine generously kept flowing as we all got to know each other over the dinner we’d prepared together. Chef Theresa was wonderful and I would recommend taking a class with her if you want to learn more about Spanish cuisine. We left the kitchen at 10pm that day, feeling stuffed to the brim from all the food but very much inspired to cook more!