The Greatest Food Show on Earth

If Barnum & Bailey got together with Ferran Adria and Thomas Keller to create “The Greatest Food Show on Earth” you’d have something that looks, well, exactly like La Boqueria in Barcelona, Spain. La Boqueria can only be described as an electric cornucopia of culinary sights, sounds, and smells. Comprised of dozens upon dozens of neatly aligned stalls, each packed to the brim with fresh fish, fruit, candies, meats, cheeses, and other edibles – these interspersed with open-kitchen, bar-style restaurants, wine purveyors, and meal-making accessory shops – Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria (the official moniker) simply has no equal anywhere on the globe. And hasn’t for close to 800 years. Yes, it’s been around in one form or another since 1217. A trip to make our Layer Cake Garnacha does not happen without an extended stopover here first (and last). After tantalizing our senses with a stroll through the central ring of all-manner-of-seafood sellers, we pop into Bar El Quim for grilled squid, padron peppers, succulent shrimp, and a frosty cerveza (yes, it takes a lot of beer to make great wine), and then head over to our friend Pinxto, the always smiling namesake of Bar Pinxto, where another round of quickly grilled lobster, mushrooms, and beef send us into gustatory nirvana. It’s near impossible to get a sense of the scale and offerings of La Boqueria without actually being there, but if you’ve ever seen Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, you’ve got the idea.