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Spend a morning cooking in Barcelona

GET A HANDLE ON IT

If you visit the famous Barcelona food market, La Boqueria, and you probably will, you will see why the people of Barcelona eat so well.This market, off The Rambla, is an accessible, affordable tumble of appetising fish, fruit, vegetables, and meat. Turning these ingredients into first class meals is an old Catalan skill. The world’s first cookery books in a Latin-derived language were in Catalan.

On top of that, short, entertaining cookery lessons have become an offbeat way of enjoying a visit to Barcelona. One of the most inspiring and enthusiastic culinary guides you could find is a young woman named Begonia Sanchis. “Bego” runs her “Cook and Taste” cooking classes in a sunny kitchen overlooking The Rambla, just a few minutes from the market from which her ingredients are sourced. Up three narrow flights of marble stairs, Bego and her kitchen await the 10 participants in the three and-a-half-hour course.

After a glass of wine and some introductions, Bego starts the session with the skill of an accomplished hostess. She quickly recognises which guests would rather sip and listen and those who would rather chop and stir; the session is as much of a party as it is a cooking lesson – but despite the informality, it is a cooking lesson and you will come away with the recipes and techniques you need to prepare a three-course Spanish meal at home. Bego’s paella pans are already in place in the centre of the cooking island. “Most people want to learn to make a paella,” she explains.

But paella is not the only dish on Bego’s menu. Perhaps you’d like to perfect a tortilla or gazpacho, or prefer to concentrate on tapas. If so, just tell her when you book, and Bego will do her best to accommodate you. You could think of it as “lunch with a difference”, one that will leave you with warm memories of Barcelona, Bego, and the meal you helped prepare in her kitchen.

To participate, phone Cook and Taste at +34 93 302 13 20 for the timing of the next available session.
Classes are usuallygiven twice daily – at 11:00 and 17:00 – and cost €65.

or take their ‘foodie’s stroll’ which includes a visit to the famous market, La Boqueria. Details and price on application.
Check the website at www.cookandtaste.net for details.

Cava country

Codorníu produces its famous sparkling wine, Cava, in the foothills of the Penedes about an hour’s train ride from Barcelona. The Codorníu winery dates from 1551; the introduction of “cava” dates from 1871. The present winery in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia was designed by the Modernist architect, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, as the beginning of the 20th century. The buildings were declared a National Monument in 1976.

A look at the outstanding architecture in its elegant park would be enough to make the trip worthwhile. But any wine enthusiast will welcome the chance to gain an insight into the production process and see over the cellars. Visitors board a sort of tram to scuttle along a few kilometres of one of the five levels of underground tunnels that together comprise “the largest cellar in the world”.

Tours are organised according to the language required, so it’s necessary to book ahead. Including a wine tasting of two of the varieties of Cava developed by this ancient house, the tour takes an hour and a half.

Tours are conducted several times a day Monday through Sunday. To make a reservation phone +34 93 891 33 42 or email: reserves@codorniu.es. www.codorniu.com

Getting there: the train from Placa Catalunya, which also stops at Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, leaves every 30 minutes and arrives 45 minutes later. The Freixenet winery, rivals to the Cava producers, is right at the station and offers free tours.

Check their website for opening hours: www.freixenet.es. Despite that convenience, it’s worth the 15-minute walk or a quick taxi ride to visit the world-famous Codorníu, suppliers of Cava to the Spanish royal family since 1897.

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