As the weather shifts, restaurants and markets in Barcelona change their menus and displays, offering the best of seasonal fall foods. Here are four to look for this year.
The grape harvest depends on the region, and usually the further south you go the earlier the harvest is. In Penedès, a wine producing region about 45 minutes from Barcelona, the harvest is over by the time October rolls in. To celebrate, they drink.
What’s in the glass? Cava, of course! In early October each year, Sant Sadurní d’Anoia hosts CavaTast, a sparkling wine festival. The village is easy to get to by train (check RENFE). If you can’t make it to CavaTast be sure to at least imbibe some Penedès cava in Barcelona proper.
Or “setas” or “champiñónes” or mushrooms. Call them what you will, they are delicious with a bit of garlic and olive oil. You’ll see ‘shrooms of all sorts incorporated into menus this time of year.
If you’re out for tapas, ask for ‘shrooms straight up. You’ll get them sauteed with flat leaf parsley and garlic which goes down just fine with a glass of white wine from Empordà or a bubbly cava from Penedès.
Pears and Apples
Mediterranean Spain serves up countless vegetable dishes. Often visitors tell me that they are surprised by how many salads are on offer. One standard salad in Barcelona eateries is made with local goats’ cheese. This time of year you might even get it with thinly sliced apples from Girona or crisp pears. Look for apples, pears and all kinds of fruit at your local market.
The scoop is that La Boqueria is impressive but overwhelming. Try Santa Caterina Market. (More about Barcelona’s markets.)
As the weather cools we can think about coffee, tea and hot chocolate again. It’s been too hot for me to drink a coffee without ice in it since, oh… June. But cool winds now shake leaves from the trees and a nip is returning to the night air (thank goodness!). The numerous “granjas” around Barcelona are top spots for a thick hot chocolate. La Pallaresa is a good one (Petritxol 11 – Gothic ). (Read my previous post about where to find the best hot chocolate in Barcelona.)
If I’m honest, fall and spring are my least favorite seasons. Summer and winter are my kind of weather – solid and unchanging. Spring and fall are too unpredictable leaving me consistently overdressed or unprepared. Somehow fall foods make up for the wavering ways of summer’s end.