Tapas in Barcelona: choose the right ones

Tapas, sometimes called pinchos, are small snacks that originated in Andalusia in the 19th century to accompany sherry.Stemming from a bartender’s practice of covering a glass with a saucer or tapa ( cover ) to keep out flies, the custom progressed to a chunk of cheese or bread being used, and the to a few olives being places on a platter to accompany a drink. Once free of charge, tapas are usually paid for nowadays , and a selection makes a delicious light meal. Choose from a range of appetizing varieties, from cold meats to elaborately prepared hot dishes of meat, seafood or vegetables.

Even a small village will have at least one bar where the locals go to enjoy drinks, tapas and conversation with friends. On Sundays and holidays, favourite place are packed with whole families enjoying the fare. In larger towns it is customary to move from bar to bar, sampling the specialities of each. A tapas is a single serving, where as a “ración” is similar to an entrée-sized portion. Tapas are usually eaten standing of perching on a stool at the bar rather that sitting at a table, for which a surcharge is usually made


PATATAS BRAVAS is a piquant dish of fried potatoes with a spicy red sauce

ALMENDRAS FRITAS are fried, salted almonds
CALAMARES FRTITOS are squid rings and tentacles which have been dusted with flour before being deep fried in olive oil. They are usually served garnished with a piece of lemon
BANDERILLAS  are canapes skewered on toothpicks. The entire canape should be eaten at once
JAMON SERRANO is salt-cured ham dried in mountain ( serrano ) air.
ALBONDIGAS ( meat balls ) are a hearty tapa, often served with a spicy tomato sauce
SALPICÓN DE MARISCOS  is a luxurious cold salad of assorted fresh seafood in a zesty vinaigrette.
GAMBAS A LA PLANCHA is a simple but flavourful dish of grilled prawns
TORTILLA ESPAÑOLA is the ubiquitous Spanish omelette of onion and potato bound with egg
POLLO AL AJILLO consists of small pieces of chicken ( often wings ) sautéd and then simmered with a garlic sauce
QUESO MANCHEGO  is a sheep’s-milk cheese from La Mancha
PIMIENTOS DE PADRÓN Small green peppers which are occasionally hot
CHISTORRA is a spicy sausage
CHOPITOS are cuttlefish fried in batter
CALAMARES A LA ROMANA are fried swuid rings
BOQUERONES are anchovies
PINCHOS MORUNOS are pork skewers, usually with a curry taste
CROQUETAS are croquettes of ham, cod or chicken, with a bechamel sauce and fried with breadcrumbs

croquetas de jamon tap


Our favourites: Cal Pep, El Vaso de Oro, Cervercería Catalana, Quimet i Quimet, La Esquinica, El Xampanyet

Locals in Barcelona: 10 things you should know before coming to our city

People are people everywhere all over the world, and we are all “same same, but different”. In here , the hotel Duquesa de Cardona “locals” want to advice you how we are, what we do different, and how proud of our culture we can be…

These are our “top 10 Barcelona locals do”

1. “VERMUT” We do it every saturday and every sunday about 12.30 to 14.00 h. Basically, if the sun is shinning, is also an obligation . Just pick a drink , if possible a vermut ( an original local vermouth from the Penedès area is better than Martini, we all know that ) , some olives, and some local “crisps” ( made with olive oil, of course ) with some Espinaler sauce. Easy and simple


2.  COFFEE We all love coffee, but is it : coffee with skimmed milked and sweetener ? Or is it a cortado ( expresso with a shot of milk ) long, or short ? Or is it a long coffee ( no, not an american, that means a long expresso ) ? Anyone of us, can describe the right proportion of coffee, milk and sugar without missing a single milligram. Yes, we are a kind of difficult and picky

3. CASTELLERS AND CORREFOCS . We are so proud about these traditions. Do not even mention to a local, that you do not think they are so special

4. SUNDAY MEANS PAELLA, EITHER IN A RESTAURANT OR AT YOUR MUMS . That’s your choice. As a tourist, your only choice is a restaurant, we are sorry, Make sure you know somebody  before coming, and maybe you get lucky

5. RAMBLES . Locals avoid Rambles ( yes, Rambles and not Ramblas ) . Locals in Barcelona, we are professionals on complaining about this avenue: ” there are so many people” , “it is so difficult to have a nice walk”, bla,bla,bla.

6. “ADEU” AND NOT “ADIOS”. Whether  you are original from Catalonia or not, we all say “Adeu”or “Deu”. That’s the word in Catalan to say goodbye. The worst part comes when we go to a bar in Madrid, and still we say “Adéu”…

7. “BOIG PER TU” . Our favourite song ever

8. “CHURROS CON CHOCOLATE”  are a must to be eaten a Petrítxol Street on a dark cold afternoon-evening time in winter. And we are able to make a queu for 30-40 minuts for it


9 FC BARCELONA MATCH It is mean to be seen in a bar, with your friends. But attention: it does not have to be a fancy bar at all, but just one that offers good “tapas”. These kind of bars they all look the same, and you would never bring your date there but any circumstances

10 FESTES DE GRACIA If you are in Barcelona and the end of August, the quarter of Gracia organizes our most beloved street parties to say goodbye to summer. We recommend you to be there also and have fun


Catalan gastronomic basics

In Catalunya, all kitchens have a terracotta or iron casserole, frying pans , a mortar and pestle to prepare “picades” and sauces , and a set of wooden spoons. The oil and vinegar set is on the table with the Catalan “porró” ( traditional glass pitcher ) .
The “mocador de fer farcells”, a cloth used to wrap everything, now covers de table. The satt cellar is next to the stoves and a pot of parsley is by the sink.

       SOFREGIT  sofregit
Ingredients: onion, ripe tomatoes, olive oil, and salt
    Preparation: Finely chop the onion and place it in a pan heated with olive oil. When the         onion has turned golden brown, add the very finely chopped ripe tomato and a pinch of          salt. Add a tablespoon of water if the mixture goes dry. It mus be cooked down to a                  marmalade-like consistency
Variations: you can add garlic, letting it turn golden brown just before adding the            tomato. For very specific stewed dishes, add pepper soon after the onion.




This consists of pounding different ingredients with a pestle and mortar into a paste which is added to the stew. Garlic, parsley, almonds , hazelnuts, toasted bread are the most common, but there are also picades with pine nuts, saffron , dried red bell pepper flesh, chocolate, chicken and fish liver, among others . You can thin it down with a little liquid, such as wine, water or stock. A recipe with “picada” must specify the ingredients and when to add it to the stew. picada

“Cold Romesco”
Ingredients: 6 grilled tomatoes, 2 red bell peppers blanched, 1/2 garlic head grilled, 1/2 tsp paprika, 15g roasted almonds, 15g roasted hazelnuts, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper
Preparation: Blend togehter the peeled and seeded tomatoes, peeled garlic, pepper flesh, almonds, hazelnuts and paprika while gradually adding the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

“Warm Romesco”
Ingredients: 2 soaked red bell peppers, 1 ripe tomato, 4 garlic grilled cloves, 1 slice fried break, 1/2 glass mellow wine, 6 roasted hazelnuts, 6 roasted almonds, olive oil
Preparation: in a mortar, crush the peeled garlic cloves, almonds hazelnuts, fried break and pepper flesh. When you have a smooth mixture , add the peeled and seeded tomatoes and wine. In a frying pan with very hot oil, lightly fry the mixture so that the pepper does not burn. Add water to thin the mixture and put it in a casserole. When it comes to the boil, add the fish , meat or vegetables of your choice.

Catalan cuisine history

Catalan cuisine has Iberian, Greek, Roman and Arab roots. Actually Greeds and Romans introduced the Mediterranean trilogy ( bread, wine and oil ) and spices imported from the Indian Ocean.  In the 14th century , the most prestigious creations were compiled in three recipe books: the “LLibre de Sent Soví”, the “Llibre de totes maneres de potatges” and the “LLibre d’aparellar de menjar”.
It was a sophisticated and expensive cuisine, which combines the finest local products with exotic ingredients. From the 9th to 12th centuries, Arabs accclimatised sugar cane, citrus fruits, spinach, aubergine and rice to the Mediterranean plants that originated in the Far East.

catalan gastronomy and history

Board table of our ancestors

In the mid-15th century it reached Italy through Naples and Rome, from where it spread throughout Europe. Medieval cookery literature in Catalan came to an end in around 1485 with the “Llibre de Coch” by Mater Robert. In the 16th century the bean, pepper, tomato, potato, turkey and chocolate come from America, and they became everday foodstuffs.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Catalan Renaissance period, the four volumes of “La cunyera catalana” were released. Later on, in the 20th century, “La teca” by Ignasi Domènech expanded that bourgeois cuisine and “El que hem menjat”, by Josep Pla , became a staple work.
Catalan cuisine has grown spectacularly from such solid roots. Now , as in the Middle Ages, it is at the forefront of world gastronomy, reflected by the recognition of Ferran Adrià and Joan Roca as the best chefs in the world.