A Taste of Catalonia

29 Apr 2011

Barcelona – a city well known for its many bustling food markets including the world famous Mercat de la Boqueria – had its first taste of a smaller market with a difference this month, when a trial Earth Market brought good, clean and fair local produce to the city as part of the Earth Fair held over April 16-17.

In the midst of this colorful eco-event held in the Ciutadella Park, a group of fifteen stands offered quality artisan products directly from producers hailing from the surrounding farmland and mountains of Catalonia. Organized by Slow Food Barcelona, the convivium hopes to launch a regular Earth Market by the end of the 2011 and in the meantime will be offering further glimpses of what shoppers can expect at several more one-off Earth Markets over the coming months.

So far, twenty-four organic producers have been selected by the market committee to represent the philosophy of the Earth Markets. This initial group includes seven fruit and vegetable growers from the Baix Llobregat Agricultural Park on the city’s fringe, four cheesemakers, four farmers offering beef, pork, rabbit and lamb, two wine makers, a baker and producers of olive oil, chocolate, legumes and natural cosmetics as well as producers from the two Catalan Presidia, Stiges Malvasia and Ganxet Beans.

In the midst of the producers, a Slow Burger stand may have at first appeared incongruous, but demonstrated just how slow fast food can be by bringing together many of the raw ingredients available into a tasty lunch. Organic meat for the hamburgers and sausages came from farms in the Pyrenees; the organic Barcelona Reykjavik Bakery provided sourdough bread; and the seasonal produce available determined the toppings. A great artisinal beer made by Albert Sanchis and biodynamic wine from Casa Pardet completed the simple menu.

The market will pop up again on May 11, this time in the Poble Sec district of the old town during the traditional Saint Ponç festival, which celebrates the patron saint of herbalists in one of Catalonia’s oldest celebrations. To follow the theme, the Earth Market will focus on plants and seeds, medicinal herbs, honey, dried fruits, vermouth and artisinal beers, all of which can be fully appreciated in a series of Taste Workshops.

We look forward to seeing the Earth Markets become a regular fixture in Barcelona’s rich food culture in the near future.

Check the Barcelona Earth Market blog for photos of the April market and more information.

Visit the Earth Market website to find out more about this Slow Food International project.

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