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My Favorite Culinary Getaway - Barcelona, Spain

by  Chef Dana Herbert on May 01, 2014
My Favorite Culinary Getaway - Barcelona, Spain

With there being so many places in the world to go, one would think this would be a hard choice for me but ironically when asked what my favorite culinary getaway is, it was quite simple.  I am in love with Barcelona, Spain. I visited Barcelona a few years ago in route to a cruise.  It’s definitely a metropolitan city but not quite as busy as some populated big cities in the U.S..  We decided to go to Barcelona a few days earlier to explore before going out to sea.  To my surprise, this was a town rich in history and flavor.

We started our culinary expedition at a restaurant near our hostel.  One of the things I truly enjoyed about Barcelona was the Tapas.  Tapas are small plates or small bites.  After a long flight from the U.S., this was perfect.  It gave me the ability to sample many things at a sitting.  The selection was incredible.  Some of the things I truly enjoyed were some of the different meats and sausages that they had there.  The cheeses were great as well. I fell in love with the manchego cheese. Everyone in the family also enjoyed their version of the frittata with thin layers of potato and egg together.  Many of the restaurants in Barcelona were tapas style and had varieties of local flavors.  They were truly unique and gave the chefs a way to show off in 1-2 bites. 

Next we went to Las Ramblas.  Las Ramblas is a promenade of street vendors offering everything from cookies, nuts, and some fruits to local art and music.  It's a great experience as there are street performers as well making balloon creations, mimes, people playing music and more.  Definitely a little culinary gem for finding quick local snacks.

Our last place visited was La Boqueria.  This was my favorite experience.  It’s an incredible open market where you can find anything and I mean anything.  At the entrances are all sorts of cured hams and sausages hanging.  As you proceed into the market you are hit with all sorts of fruit vendors.  It’s like a sea of color.   As you got deeper in the market you see chickens and hens being roasted on rotisseries and hung for purchase as well as fresh seafood.  For a chef and foodie, this is the place to be. 

If you ever get to Spain, Barcelona is definitely a place to go and indulge in the history and wonderful foods of the city.   My only wish is that I could have stayed longer to try even more.

Inspired by my experience and the food, enjoy my recipe below for Guava Crema Catalana.

 

Guava Crema Catalana - Catalan Cream

Makes 4 Servings

INGREDIENTS

4 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 stick cinnamon
2 tablespoons guava jam
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 guava, diced

PREPARATION

1.  In a bowl, beat together the egg yolks and ¾ cup sugar until thoroughly blended and the mixture turns frothy and combined well.

2.  Add the cinnamon stick and guava jam.  Pour in the milk and cornstarch. Slowly heat the mixture, stirring constantly with a rubber scraper just until thickened. Remove pot from heat immediately.  Only cook it until thickened or it may separate and become grainy.

3.  Remove the cinnamon stick and ladle the milk mixture into ramekins. Allow it to cool, then refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours.

4.  When chilled, take from the fridge and sprinkle with sugar and torch like a Creme Brûlée and serve with diced guava on top.


Chef Dana's Tips & Notes

You can also serve this recipe warm by following the same procedure for Creme Brûlée.

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