There is no denying Barcelona is a beautiful city. Gaudi is a genius in my opinion. His buildings are stunning; I just couldn't fathom dreaming up something like that. Even the rest of the architecture here is so dreamy, with the weathered stone, and overhanging plants.
I just love how narrow the streets are- each one could be hiding something amazing. Which is the exciting thing, but also the nightmare. So many great places get lost and undiscovered.
Me and Caroline thought about this in hindsight, and so did a bit of digging. Barcelona is famous of its great tapas bars, but many are not the ones traditional tourists would know about. They are the 'Locals' haunts, and often look a tad scary or dark for tourists. But this is often where the hidden gems lie. Strip away the flash signs, fancy tables, and your left with raw talent and excellent food.
So to discover these hidden backstreet gems, we booked ourselves on a Tapas tour around Barcelona. Ran by a company called Food Lovers Tour, the concept is that two locals take a small group to a handful of hidden Tapas bar gems that the locals love.
Count me in! Just hopefully not too much walking, my heels can only get me so far...
We started at a small place called La Bodeguetta Provenca, where we met the rest of the group and were given a history of tapas. Did you know the origins tapas were actually slices of bread and meat which sherry drinkers used to cover their glasses to stop flys getting in which were common in hot Spain. These then spawned bar snacks like this, which then led to small dishes being served along side the drinks. Tapas is all about the conversation and engagement with friends.
Tapas has moved on alot since the days of bread covering sherry, with now a whole host of small dishes being used in a tapas menu. We started the evening by having a selection of Catalonian dishes, such as cod fritters, anchovies and octopus.
Each dish was so fresh. There is something about foreign seafood that just tastes like its only been caught hours before.
But before I could take yet another delicious cod bite, we were up and on to the next place on our tour.
Colmado from the outside looks like one of those places I described before. Dark and a bit intimidating to the average tourist.
Its absolutely tiny inside, barely enough room to have two people standing next to each other. However if you want an authentic Spanish haunt, then this is where they come.
It's also where they come to drink Vermouth. So sweet Vermouth. Having never drank it before I had absolutely zero expectations. Well! Let me tell you, its a right gem. Sort of like mulled wine, but not hot. It is so drinkable, I could easily drink this in large quantities... typical British attitude coming out there.
As I said before tapas is all about generating conversation, so plates are piled in the middle, no fancy table required and everyone to gets stuck in.
My favourite dish was the aged chorizo sausage, again, one to many eaten.
Although I think Caroline's favourite was of a liquid variety.
The final leg of our tapas journey was to a real winner of a restaurant- Bardot. Fancier than the last two, this was a sit down meal, but no less a local secret than the former. The tapas dishes came out thick and fast, and by this point I was feeling the strain on my dress. You'll never go hungry or have an empty glass here in Barcelona that's for sure.
I'll be honest, I can't remember all the dishes we had, but I can tell you one surprise- Shark. Yep, shark. This crispy looking thing below is shark in breadcrumbs. Not often you hear that being said.
I remember loving this dish, but I do not remember those eyes!
Now on to the main course. Yes that's right, a main. Seriously.
While logically it would be fitting to call it quits, don't. The hot plate steak was - wait for it- THE BEST STEAK I'VE EVER HAD- woah! Honestly, it was the most melt in the mouth, tender, flavoursome meat I've ever had. Gosh I wish I this was London, as I'd be going back there again and again!
We wrapped up with a few desserts which most people poked at after having gorged on steak. By this point it was 1:30 in the morning. Doing it Spanish style takes it toll, and soon two very happy food bloggers huddled in a taxi and flopped into bed.
The Food Lovers Tour is a must if you want to really have a culinary adventure. Priced at 89Euros, its worth every penny. http://foodlovertour.com/ Enjoy food lovers.