El Born district of Barcelona is akin to an ancient world of wonders, set within the confines of an ultra-modern city. Merely a decade ago El Born was enjoying a quiet and restful slumber, yet it swiftly awoke and re-emerged as the absolute dining, shopping and drinking hub of Barcelona. Lively and enticing during the day, El Born also oozes charm and elegance after the sun sets, and is now home to more bars, cafes and clubs than probably all of Barcelona combined. Seriously! If it’s happening in Barcelona…it’s highly likely it will be happening in Born.
Born (as it is known to locals) is also home to some superb museums, most notably the ever-popular Picasso Museum, and a whole host of important historical buildings, churches and many 18 and 17th century monuments. Considering El Born used to be the main trading and social core of Barcelona in the early 19th century, it seems only fair that the area reclaim its rightful spot as the city’s most lively hub.
For an authentic and unforgettable Barcelona vacation, book your holiday rental apartment in El Born and come discover all the marvels this vibrant quarter has to offer. Choose a self-catering option whilst in Barcelona and your simple holiday could turn into one of the most incredible epicurean experiences of your life. Don’t believe us? Then read on and drool amigos, for we have uncovered a gourmet destination par excellence. Pack your bags, your appetite and lots of empty suitcases and dive straight into a culinary Shangri-La like no other.
Santa Caterina Produce Markets
Housed in a gorgeously restored building close to the Picasso Museum, the relatively new Santa Caterina markets are taking Barcelona by storm, and swiftly poaching buyers from the (up until now) more popular La Boqueria markets in Las Ramblas. We’ve come to the conclusion that there are various reasons for this shift in produce-market loyalty. First of all, Santa Caterina is home to no less than 67 unique and delightful shops and stalls selling top-notch local produce ranging from fresh seafood, meat, cured cheeses, an ocean of assorted olives, oils and sauces to gourmet chocolates and more. If that’s not enough, there are a number of trendy bars and eateries scattered throughout the market, which makes this an enviable all-day feasting destination. And, to top it all off, the entire market offers free wi-fi. We’re not sure who on earth would contemplate surfing the net, when one could simply surf this gourmet food emporium, but hey, it must help somehow. Oh…and free home delivery is included with your foodie purchases, which is an added bonus in case the ‘just a couple of things’ you popped in to buy turned into ‘couple–of-dozens’.
While you may find it a challenge to tear your gaze away from the assortment of delicious goodies, do make a point to look up at some stage. The newly decorated roof of the market is an architectural gem, and comprises a mosaic of 325,000 colourful tiles, divided in 67 different hues, one for each stall housed within the market.
Casa Gispert, Carrer Sombrerers 23
Oh imagine a world where we would all have ample time in the morning to roast our own coffee; what sweet luxury that must be! One of the most horrendous downsides of our hectic modern lifestyles must be inability to enjoy some of the simple pleasures of a bygone era. Luckily however, there are still a few artisan shops that roast coffee the good old fashioned way, and in Barcelona one such masterpiece is Casa Gispert, found on a narrow laneway across from the Church of Santa Maria del Mar. Follow your nose all the way in and be overwhelmed by this scented world of roasted coffees, teas, spices and nuts.
Casa Gispert has been operating continuously since 1851, and offers the discerning gourmand an exceptional choice of hand-made produce to satisfy the fussiest taste buds. The original wood-fired oven, still used for roasting nowadays, is reputedly the oldest in Europe, and it certainly adds to the impression that you’re visiting a living and breathing museum, rather than a simple ‘coffee shop’. But it doesn’t stop there. Casa Gilbert also stocks an impressive amount of international epicurean treats like scented olive oils and homemade pastas, so do leave room in your bags for just a little more shopping.
Florentine Cupcakes and Cookies, C/ Calders 3
Let’s all unite and give thanks to the Internet, for if that had never been invented, we may never have experienced the baking talents of one young Ms Elisa Clacagno. After an unexpected career change which saw her swap architecture for cake-baking, Ms Elisa tested the waters online, before gathering the courage to open up her own bakery in El Born. We’re so glad she did!
Offering a myriad of sweet delights including, but not limited to, Spanish specialties, Florentine Cupcakes and Cookies is about as sinful as bakeries gets. Between the creamy New York style cheesecakes, Austrian style Sachertorte (for the sweetest death by chocolate) and more than an insane amount of different cupcakes, Florentine offers the sweet-tooth a heavenly variation of desserts. You could come here twice a day for seven days straight and you still couldn’t possibly try everything on display! Trust us…we tried.