19 may. 2014

LA BOQUERÍA MARKET: is there still something genuine there?

La Boqueria has deep roots in my mind. In my childhood memories, it is the market where I used to go shopping with my mother. As I grew old, and went to live alone, I went there on Saturday morning to buy the weekend's menu. 
Parades de pageses

Over the years, it has changed, as Barcelona has changed. I guess it cannot be avoided and I have seen the same happen in many other touristic cities, but it is still painful. Why? Because "parades" are being replaced by "souvenir-selling stalls". The usual locals buying in the market are leaving the place, while crowds take photos. I don't think neither locals or visitors are winning with this change. Very soon, the tourists will miss in La Boqueria the experience they are looking for. Will La Boqueria "die out of success"? 

But I am not accepting defeat that easily. There must be still something genuine in La Boqueria. And here is what I have found: 

  • Parades de pageses: Farmers from the villages surrounding Barcelona come to the market to sell their products. There are no better artichokes, tomatos or salads in the market. You may find them in their modest stalls in Plaça Sant Galdric.

  • Carns Casanovas: It is near Plaça Sant Galdric. Casanovas is a big market stall with a long tradition. I buy my meat there. Is there a better recommendation?

  • Petras: when mushroom time arrives, Petras has a good choice of fresh product. When it is not the right time for fresh mushrooms, you may still find a good choice of dry ones. He used to sell eatable insects, until the sanitary authorities forbid it. 

  • Celler de la Boqueria: For wine shopping, I am particularly fond of their shop in Carrer Petxina, which is more calmed that its siblings in the market. The choice is not immense but I think it will cover most tastes. If you don't know what to buy, ask for advice, including the magic words "no quería gastar mucho" or "bueno, bonito y barato". 

  • Early hours: this is not a stall or a shop, it is a recommendation. If you want to have a feeling of "real Boqueria" go there early on a Saturday morning. 8.30 or 9 am are ok. By then, all the shops are already open but the tourist crowd has not yet arrived. Escape from the market "main street" and favour the side walks. 

I will not recommend anywhere to eat in the market. I think you may find the names of those places in most Tourist guides. I am not going to complain about their quality, but - in my opinion - the crowds of tourists willing to eat there and try "the genuine experience of market food" have little to do with the pleasant experience of market food on the spot. 

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