Gourmet hotel breaks, Barcelona
Hungry for a gourmet break? From fine-dining country-house hotels and restaurants with rooms to Michelin-star-spangled kitchens at the culinary cutting edge, we've truffle-hunted hotels and foraged the world to cherry-pick those Smith stays that go above and beyond when it comes to cuisine. Whether you want a gastronomic experience par excellence or delectable farm-to-table fare, our gourmet breaks collection has a hotel to suit your foodie taste. Bon appetit!
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Ex-El Bulli pastry chef Oriol Balaguer’s Easter eggs resemble Dali-esque fetishes, with laser-cut cubist choc sculptures, trompe-l'œil fruits and some that look like incubating Giger beasties. He’s also famed for explode-in-your-mouth sherbert and popping-candy chocolates and surrealist gateaux. His 40-hour, €2,200 gastronomy course (for English and Spanish speakers) tops many a pâtissier’s bucket list. You’ll learn to craft gallery-worthy cakes, chocolates, pastries, pies and even sweet cocktails; it’s hardly a cakewalk in the park, but well worth the effort if you want to end every meal with a bang – perhaps literally…
Stay Hotel Omm (nom nom) has a holy trinity of Michelin-approved fraternal chefs: pleasingly alliterative Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca. Restaurant Roca Moo’s menu has two excellent tasting menus highlighting haute Catalan fare.
Pioneers of the all-dessert tasting menu, and masters of El Bulli-inspired deconstructed tapas – by way of meaty Catalonian fare – Barcelona’s gastro scene is bold and boundary nudging.
What’s cooking? Surf ’n’ turf, bulging bocadillos and custard-filled xuixos doughnuts, washed down with a judicious slug of vermouth.
• Blow off tremendous but touristy La Boqueria market for Mercat de San Antoni, to summon a generous aperitivo at Milano Cocktail Bar and gourmet sandwiches at Bar Mariana; chase with vermouth at little-known Tarannà nearby.
• Van Van Market reflects the city’s growing hunger for excellent street food, where a convoy of delicacy-proffering trucks descend on Parc de la Ciutadella. Find bite-size bliss at Reina Croquette and the Jamoneta.
• Much like attendees after its first two outings, Eat Street food festival has grown in size. Come October scour this (potentially) moveable feast for Eureka Street Food’s fresh and zingy ceviche.
Stay at Stock up on the abundant fruit and veg, and decently sized slabs of carne, at the Mercat de San Antoni, to cook up in DestinationBCN’s designer kitchens.
At 24, Jordi Cruz became the youngest Spanish chef to earn a Michelin star for his imaginative and avant-garde cooking style. In the 12 years since, he has bagged another three – two of them for the hotel restaurant he’s been helming since 2010, ABaC Restaurant & Hotel in Barcelona’s Zona Alta – written a book on molecular cooking techniques, and been anointed as a judge on Masterchef Espana. In other words, he’s hot stuff (and let’s just say a certain proportion of his Masterchef audience haven’t tuned in for the cookery). Via ABaC’s startlingly inventive 15-course tasting menus (mole ice cream, tuna-skin curry, chocolate ‘earth’, plankton bread and oh-so-much more) Cruz demonstrates exactly how he lives up to the hype.