When you live abroad it’s always fun when friends visit because you get to play tour guide, showing them your favorite local spots, but it’s also a great opportunity to play tourist too!
When our good friends Paul & Krista came to Barcelona I made us a reservation for a wine and tapas tour with Devour Barcelona Food Tours. One of the best ways to get a feel for a city and quite literally a taste, is with a walking tour. I had actually stumbled upon the http://devourbarcelonafoodtours.com/Devour Food Tours in Madrid, when I was looking up things to do when we were in Madrid last summer, we never did take a tour, but I made a mental note that they also had food tours in Barcelona, Seville and now even Malaga. I’ve enjoyed watching the company’s success so I was excited to finally book a tour with them!
Devour Barcelona Food Tours
I booked us on a Saturday night tour that began at 6:30pm. We navigated our way through the narrow streets of the gothic area, passing the crowds outside the Picasso Museum and arrived at a little bodega where we would start the night! We immediately saw the Devour Food Tour sign on top of a wine barrel table and were greeted by a huge smile and hello by our tour guide Fintan. He was a ball of energy right from the start, so I knew we were in for a fun night! We were joined by six other people, making our tour a total of 10, which was the perfect size. Our night began with a tasting of Vermouth and having the two traditional Catalan dishes; Croquettes with Jamon Iberico inside and Patatas Bravas. (If you are vegetarian, they will have other options available to you)
As we sipped our Vermouth we went around the table introducing ourselves to the other people in the group, we’d be spending the evening together so it was a nice icebreaker. There was a couple from South Africa, two girlfriends from Chicago and another couple from Maryland, but they lived for many years in Minneapolis, Minnesota (I always seem to meet people with a connection to Minnesota). Later in the night as we all started to get a bit more friendly, the husband told me the story about how the Mayo Clinic saved his wife’s life, and that he has so much love and gratitude not only the Mayo Clinic but for Minnesota in general. The other couple from South Africa were a riot and I am actually still in touch with her via social media and even email. That is the added bonus of going on these types of group tours, the interesting people you meet!
The second stop on our tour we walked a short distance through El Born and went to a beautiful restaurant called Eldiset. Here is where the food got interesting, Eldiset is famous for their mouth watering tostadas. Paired with each tostada was a variety of light wines, we tasted two different Cavas, a white wine and a Rosé. Cava is a sparkling wine from Spain and most of which is produced in the Catalunya region and many happen to be produced just outside of Barcelona. I have learned to love Cava since moving to Barcelona, it’s so refreshing and light. The tapas (or tostadas) we had were amazing! The first one was a tostada with grilled eggplant, mozzarella cheese, caramelized onions and basil pesto. The second tostada had raspberry jam, blue cheese, shredded apple and crushed almonds.
Gran Bodega Maestrazgo
Our third stop of the night was at Gran Bodega Maestrazgo. To anyone just passing by, they might think this place was a wine wholesale shop, but once inside and passed the large wine barrels and endless shelves of wine, there is a cozy little wine bar buzzing with wine enthusiasts. Now this is the place to go to start a night out with friends or buy some wine! I’m pretty sure there is not a bad wine on the shelf. In the front of the store Fintan had us sample wines straight from the barrel and explained bulk wine, blends and pricing. If I’m being honest, it was a this point in the night some of my retention of all the extensive wine info Fintan was giving us was also starting to blend together;)
Our fourth stop was right next door (smart) to a tasting room. There was a long high top table filled with baskets of bread and a variety of jamón, cheese and olives. There were also four empty wine glasses at each place setting, which meant more wine. This is where we ended the night and Fintan had to eventually kick us out! I suppose this is the hardest part of his job, gently breaking it to people that the tour is over and that you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.
I was so impressed by Fintan and his passion for wine, he was a fountain of knowledge and was a fantastic tour guide! The entire night was lovely, the only thing I might say is that I could have used one more tostada, because by the time we hit the fourth stop I was devouring the bread basket! I’d highly recommend this wine and tapas tour to anyone visiting Barcelona, it’s a fun night with excellent wine, good food and great company!
Disclosure: Totally not paid or comped. I was a regular human enjoying a night out with friends.