Mercat de Sant Josep de La Boqueria, Barcelona
The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria lies in the heart of Barcelona, next to the Rambla, a major pedestrian street that is central to the city’s identity. “La Boqueria” is a traditional marketplace. It existed before supermarkets, before Trader Joes, before car-focused suburbs. They still exist in much of Europe and Latin America, a central place to buy your food from different vendors located in the center of your city or town.
La Boqueria is a daily ritual or shopping, eating and connecting with your community and its identity. It is either a pleasure or a chore, whether you are in a hurry, you enjoy crowds, or have trouble parking. Hint: In Barcelona, don’t bring your car. In fact, don’t have a car if in Barcelona in the first place.
Walking among the stalls, you are hit with all senses. The freshest fish imaginable is sitting on a bed of crushed ice inches away from a rows people looking across displays of shrimp, clams, mussels. Elsewhere, displays of fruits and vegetables in colors that you didn’t know existed are carefully stacked.
Decide what to eat for dinner tonight based on whatever grabs your attention today at La Boqueria. Choose from fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, spices. For dessert, pick from a bank of popsicles in wild, pastel colors and flavors.
Perhaps in keeping with Barcelona’s position on the cutting edge of design, art and culture, La Boqueria has a modern and sophisticated website. With information published in four languages, the site has a modern layout using the latest web design components and optimized for your iPhone or handheld device. Humanity’s oldest social triumph – the marketplace – meets its newest on the web.
Practice your Catalan language skills and read the poetic quotes of writers, chefs and restaurateurs on the front page. “At the Boqueria,” a British chef writes, “people eat, shop and gossip together doing what the Spanish excel at, living life well and enjoying a sense of community.”
No less than Ferran Adrià, the uber-chef of famed El Bulli restaurant and one of the most in-demand restaurateurs in the world, proclaimed La Boqueria to be a “gastronomic temple”. Your local air-conditioned supermarket this place definitely is not.
Perhaps the most poetic comment on La Boqueria’s modern website comes from one of the vendors working the stalls each day: “Each day, after the doors open at the market of La Rambla, life goes on.”
With or without independence, whether in its own country of Catalonia or as an enduring part of Spain, whether or not Scotland stay inside the United Kingdom or goes its own way. Life goes on.
[…] The biggest question perhaps is: “What is a community?” What is a country? A people? A culture? Who decides? We have seen how such politics gets worked into the food we eat. Where better then to revisit one of the hearts of Barcelona, its central market in our next post. […]