48h in Barcelona – A local foodie and explorer guide

My happy place

After seven solid years lived in the Catalan capital I am proud to share some of my knowledge on food and places to explore in Barcelona.

Let me cut to the chase here and say that this post is about one of my favorite cities in the world, the one I chose seven years ago to live in. [Vicky, Christina, Barcelona movie theme plays in the background…]. It’s not by chance that Barcelona is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, as it claimed first place many times for remarkable architecture and outstanding cuisine. The city of the Modernist buildings of Gaudi has a reputation for fantastic design intertwined with the beauty of natural landscapes such as Jardins del Monjuic, Parc de Corserolla and the opening to the Mediterranean. But let’s get down to business. I got your attention all the way to this paragraph just because I want you to take something out of this blog post, which is information on how to enjoy this city and maybe look at it from the perspective of the local peep.

If you plan to come this summer, get accommodated in a boutique hotel with easy access to restaurants and the beach area so you can explore the reality of this city. Some examples of accommodation hotels: The Wittmore, stylish boutique hotel in the Gothic quarter; Cotton House, a superb boutique hotel in the heart of Barcelona with a beautiful rooftop garden; In the center of the old town lays this beautiful 5***** hotel with amazing views over the city, this is The Barcelona Edition.

I put together a 48h mini-guide about things to do, eat and enjoy in Bcn:

Day 1:

8AM: Morning walk by the Paseo Maritimo, pass the Port Vell and enjoy the sailing boats masts soft raffle in the wind. Speed up into a light jog and why don’t join a workout with SamFiT Club by the port.

9AM: After you stretched your legs, enjoy some breakfast either at La Cala Barceloneta – great coffee and avocado toasts with mozzarella; or walk a bit more on the beach side to Barna Beach Bar for a vitality smoothie or supercharged quinoa bowl.

10:30AM: Continue the walk towards Port Olimpico, pass the (once busy) clubs area and continue straight leaving the port to your right. Enjoy this beautiful walk, building up an appetite for lunch.

1PM: Lunch with a view at Xiringuito Can Fisher. Try the seafood or black rice paella with a bottle of white (go for a verdejo grape specialty). The views and sea breeze will match perfectly with the food and wine.

4PM: Now after rolling off your seat and taking the long stroll back home you can enjoy a much deserved siesta. 😉

7PM: Dinner can now be served in Barcelona from the 10th of May as restaurants are allowed to reopen until 10PM. Go explore the tapas bars in El Born. Why choose one place, when you can go to two or even three places and try various small dishes? Some examples of bars which offer these small dishes (tapas): El Xampanyet, Bodega La Puntual, Bar del Pla and Bormuth.

Enjoy sunset with an aperitivo before the day ends. Recommendation by the Port Vell area, best at Sagardi 1881 on the rooftop terrace of Palau del Mar. Other rooftop bars which are also great and have amazing views: Goja at Renaissance, Cotton House , Ohla L’Eixample, Bar Veraz and the terrace at Barcelona The Edition.

Bona nit! 🙂


Day 2:

7:30AM: Start fresh with a morning YOGA session either on the beach by the W hotel there are many tranquil spots to practice; or why not try one of the yoga classes online or in studios. More info on Urban Sports Club.

9AM: Have a healthy brekkie at Picnic or try one of their Mexican huevos rancheros. Walk to Mercat de Santa Catarina and choose some fresh fruits to snack on.

11AM: Walk up Paseo Sant Joan to Gracia and explore the more Catalan traditional way of living. Gracia (not so long ago) used to be its own standing city. Nowadays a picturesque neighborhood with much to offer from food, arts and crafts to a cosy cinema and live music venues. Authors -Gabriel Garcia Marques and
Mario Vargas Llosa used to be neighbours in Gracia, their friendly and at the same time surly relationship made history on the streets of Gracia. Let youself carried away by the history and anecdotes and visit a bookshop while you’re there.

1PM: Eat some good lunch (tapas!) in one of the squares seated in the sun. Some place like Plaza del Sol will have some good options. But if you want a vermut and tapa to start your lunch experience then go to Extra Bar.

3PM: Save room for desert. Not a Catalan, but a Portuguese one. Pasteis de nata or custards are at their best at La Casa Portuguesa. Have a coffee with them too.

4PM: Who needs a siesta when it’s so much to explore? Head back to the center, Eixample district and do some shopping and a nice stroll on the Modernist side of town. Admire the Casa Mila, Casa Batllo and Casa Amatller all located within blocks of eachother on Passeo de Gracia. Really focus on visit the Casa Amatller. Everyone talks about Gaudi’s art, but THIS house…. it’s an unmissable gem. Try to identify how many architectural styles you can see on the façade alone. Go inside and try the chocolate. Ultimately this house used to be of one of the best chocolatiers in Barcelona. They have a cute cafe at the back as well.

Without leaving Passeo de Gracia, walk a bit more down towards Plaza Catalunya and few oysters and cava at El Nacional.

Finish your 48h exploration with a nice stroll or why not put your feet up and enjoy a massage and a circuit of waters at this ancient baths SPA: Aire de Barcelona.

Barcelona has endless possibilities for making your 2-days city break into a wonderful experience. Have an awesome time in Barcelona 🙂

Berries Smoothie Bowl

When I have a bit of time in the morning, after a workout routine I like to make a “hearty” yet nutritious smoothie bowl. The video below here shows the recipe step-by-step guide on how to make this easy smoothie.

Can top-up with everything you have around your kitchen, from nuts to fruits and seeds.

BENEFITS!!

This specific recipe I created here provides you with a good amount of nutrients to start on a great day!

Chia seeds are known for their high content of Omega 3 which are essential healthy fats for your brain’s optimal functionality. Goji berries, although sweet and tangy, they have a low content in sugar and help with a great boost of antioxidants for your cells. Cannot talk enough about the health benefits of bananas. Full in potassium and calcium they are the best companion to every sports person! Once you finish exercising your immediate intake of one banana can help you reduce inflammation and restore your lactic acid in your muscles and tendons.

Use vegetable milk not because you care about cows but because it’s more nourishing, adding more protein and healthy fats to your diet! You will crave less sweets and munchies in general!

I leave you to the quick & easy recipe below!

Happy morning everyone!

@cookingnature

Yoga Retreats Catering

Yoga plays an important part of today’s many people lifestyle! Most active people have done one or two classes of some sort of yoga in their lives.

In Spain, yoga is becoming more and more a routine, which is great! Retreats and specialised gyms offer now classes from classic hatha to power or asthanga yoga. Around Barcelona we have amazing spots for practicing and meditating by the sea or overlooking from Tibidabo hill.

Many villas (masias) are now focusing on offering weekend or day retreats in their holiday packages which is great way to attract folk from around the world but also to influence people to lead a healthy lifestyle.

At Cooking Nature we developed a menu specialised for yoga and active retreats where we combine a healthy breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner full of nutritious benefits. To collaborate with Cooking Nature for your next yoga retreat please contact us.


Namaste & Bon Appetit!

Health is a state of mind and diet.

¡El yoga juega una parte importante en el estilo de vida de muchas personas de hoy! La mayoría de las personas activas han hecho una o dos clases de algún tipo de yoga en sus vidas.

En España, el yoga se está convirtiendo cada vez más en una rutina, ¡lo cual es genial! Los retiros y gimnasios especializados ofrecen ahora clases de hatha clásico a power o asthanga yoga. Alrededor de Barcelona tenemos lugares increíbles para practicar y meditar junto al mar o con vistas desde la colina del Tibidabo.

Muchas villas (masías) ahora se centran en ofrecer retiros de fin de semana o días en sus paquetes de vacaciones, lo cual es una excelente manera de atraer a personas de todo el mundo, pero también de influir en las personas para llevar un estilo de vida saludable.

En Cooking Nature hemos desarrollado un menú especializado para yoga y retiros activos donde combinamos un desayuno, almuerzo, merienda y cena saludables con un taller sobre nutrición deportiva y enfocada en la salud. Nos asociamos con nutricionistas especializados de todo el mundo para ofrecer este menú y taller.

Para colaborar con Cooking Nature en su próximo retiro de yoga, contacte-nos.

Namaste & Bon Appetit!

Vermut & Tapas Pairing Experience


Back in 2018 I started this vermouth tasting with the experts in culinary experiences at EatWith and later on with AirBnB Experiences.

Ever since then this experience became quite popular among tourists and locals to the point I was asked to host it for private clients.

The experience revolves around this aperitif, the vermouth, a drink that became known more than 100 years ago and its growing its popularity ever since around the bar scene on the Catalan coast.



To enjoy the history, the tapas and vermouths (4-5 to count) in the heart of Barcelona book here.  There will be an introduction to vermouth’s history, the various differences and notes you will taste as well as an explanation on the typical dishes you will have with each one. We taste vermouths mostly from Catalunya and Italy, but occasionally we have French and Northern Spanish types as well. If we made you curious:

Book this experience.


Tips on Hosting a Dinner Party

Planning an event involves more dedication than you probably accounted for. A successful party, of any kind, starts with good company, but also with great tasting food and nevertheless a nice welcoming space!

Every since I was a little girl, I was fascinated by my grandma’s dedication to host fabulous luncheons and dinner parties. I gotta say, I have her genes when it comes to entertaining people around the table.


Tip no.1: Attention to detail is very important and makes the difference when hosting a gathering with family and friends or a baby-shower for your college bff or anything!

Print a menu for your guests! This is a nice touch to show people what they’re about to eat. Especially if you have guests with dietary restrictions. Just ping me here to help!

And pick a place, either at home or elsewhere that has a good vibe and it’s in easy reach for all your guests!

Tip no. 2: Be creative! My take on a dinner party will involve a lot of easy 3-ingredient recipe dips for breaking up the ice and hunger! Some recipes inspo here. Add some good quality dark bread and grissini to go with your dips.


Tips no. 3: Serve a mouth watering main course. Whatever the option you chose, make it special and add a little extra care into cooking it! Garnish, garnish, garnish! I can’t sell enough the garnishes! They make any dull looking plate into a 4* gourmet one! And they don’t have to be fancy and expensive. Sometimes a sprinkle of chiffonade parsley can say more than a mil words.

Tip no. 4: Have some good ambience! Candles, soft light, fresh flowers if it’s the case, music, maybe actually splurged on a live musician for a change, why not??


Tip no. 5: Have a good time! Enjoy your guests and laugh, make them feel welcomed. If you feel and look good to the rest, the atmosphere will be the same! No one wants a grumpy and stressed host because the meat got overcooked. That’s what makes me think of the last tip which is:

Tip no. 6: Have a Plan B! It rains on your parade? Move it inside! Always account for weather changes, and plan accordingly! The food got burned, overcooked, etc? Have a good caterer on hold if things get messy! That’s where I can help!

There are many more tips I could think of for dedicated and custom made events. I am happy to share them with each of you privately if you plan on hosting your next event and need my help!

You can contact me here and let’s the the party going!


Roasted Sweet Potato and Pepper Dip

I am about to share with you a recipe I created and simply love in this time of the year, when the weather is getting a little chilly.

It’s a super easy recipe! But you do need an oven to roast your veggies! And a food processor to make the dip!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • cayenne pepper (pinch)
  • paprika (pinch)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • sesame seeds to sprinkle
  • basil to garnish

Make:

Preheat your oven at 200ºC.

Place your halved sweet potatoes and the de-seeded pepper on a large baking tray lined with parchment paper.

Sprinkle with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper.

Bake in the hot oven for 30 min or until the potato flesh is soft and you can break it easily with a fork. The pepper might be done before the potatoes so please check from time to time.

Once the veggies are cooked, removed them from the tray. Using a spoon you can scoop out the potato flesh into your food processor or in a bowl (if you have a hand held mixer). You might need to work in 2 batches, depending on the size of your food processor. Add the cooked bell pepper, the remaining olive oil, a pink of salt and pepper and blitz together. Now you can add the other ingredients but the basil and sesame seeds. Make sure you add the coconut milk little by little, depending on how creamy you want your dip to be. Add more spicy pepper if you want it hot!

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with basil leafs.

It’s fairly easy but very tasty and full of carotene and vitamins to keep you strong as we enter the cold season.

You can serve this dip as a snack for your night in with your friends! Or as a side dish along a nice file of cod fish or hake! Goes to die for!

Contact me for more ideas on appetizers and dips for your game nights, dinner parties and friends gatherings!

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