Photo by Tashoma Lemard
Barcelona has 73 different barrios and 46 markets, 40 of them dedicated to fresh produce. It also has several independent markets like the cheese and honey market on Plaça del Pi on the first Friday and Saturday of the month, and pop-ups like those run by Slow Food Catalunya. You would think we had more than enough to keep us sated, yet, in our increasingly stressful lives we’re always on the alert for a way out: if you’ve attempted to wade through the crowds in the Boqueria on a Saturday morning, you’ll be all-too-familiar with how stressful the weekly shop can be.
Enter the ‘lifestyle supermarket’, a burgeoning trend in middle-class Barcelona where you can stock up on basics like bread, oil and wine, but also get a cup of coffee, a fast lunch or a three-course meal; a far cry from the miseries of trawling round El Corte Inglés or Caprabo at rush hour.
If Spain hasn’t quite gone the way of the British high street yet, it’s certainly getting harder for small, independent stores to survive here. The lifestyle supermarket strives to recall the days when we went to different high street stores for our groceries, ensuring on your behalf that products have been carefully sourced, often from small producers and artisans. By placing them under one roof they have a better chance of survival.
The Woki Organic Market is arranged like a high-class food hall-cum-organic grocery, the like of which you might expect to find in New York’s fashionable Chelsea district. It has an excellent bakery and shelves heaving with all sorts of organic goodness ranging from miso soup to goat’s cheese and pork sausages, to Jerusalem artichokes and ginger. Several small sections with smart, marble-topped bars and mismatched tables and chairs are spread throughout. There’s one for pizza (which looked top-notch by the way) and pasta, another for sushi and wok, a third for raw food and salads, one for organic steaks and burgers. Portions are generous, reasonably priced and, best of all, good. My Mexican inspired organic burger topped with avocado and cilantro oil was just the ticket for lunch on my tod while out running errands, and I picked up dinner on the way out. Genius. Ronda Universitat 20, tel. 93 302 5206, www.wokimarket.com (see page 21 for details of other branches)
BEST OF THE REST
Cornelia & Co: a more upmarket option with a large dining space and deli-style counters for stocking up on cheese, charcuterie, bread and pastries. It also does dinner party packs for entertaining at home.
València 225, tel. 93 272 3956, www.corneliaandco.com
Mary’s Market: posh groceries at their finest with lots of high-profile brands like Kettle chips, Italian cheese biscuits and single-estate chocolates. Good for a sandwich and an excellent cup of coffee.
València 266, tel. 93 487 5786, www.marysmarket.es
La Cuina d’en Garriga: artisan and specialist products, most of them from Spain, as well as beautiful kitchenware and foodie gifts. You can book the back room for private tastings for groups of 8-12 people.
Consell de Cent 308, tel. 93 215 7215, www.lacuinadengarriga.com