Now I know what you’re thinking, a short stay in Barcelona usually equates to a few days, but alas, I had a whirlwind 24 hours in the beautiful Spanish city. And it wasn’t any old trip, I was with the wonderful Marks & Spencer food team to hunt down the best chocolate shops in the city.
Yep, 24 hours eating chocolate, such a hard life. But I was incredibly excited to see the team at work. I’m a huge fan of the M&S brand, so to get the chance to see the M&S chocolate developers researching trends and ideas for 2018’s Easter range was such an experience (you can read more about that here).
But the team also showed me a completely different side to a city I’ve been to so many times. In fact, it was like a city I’d never seen before…
Take a short taxi ride from Barcelona El-Prat airport to B Hotel, a cool hotel right by Plaza España. I normally stay in the El Raval area, so it was great to see somewhere new. Plus the hotel is in a superb location for the hustle and bustle of the city.
If there’s time, head for a quick dip in the rooftop pool, otherwise it’s a quick change and out you go to explore.
Treat yourself to a spectacular Mexican feast at Niño Viejo. Owned by the same people behind the famous Tickets restaurant – the meal was like nothing I’d ever eaten before.
Pear slices injected with tequila, spicy mango pieces, chipotle meatballs, fish tacos and coffee meringue were just some of the stunning, carefully crafted dishes on the menu.
Also use one of your meal times (whether it be lunch or dinner) to go to El Nacional Barcelona, a place I can only describe as the most beautiful food court in the world. Basically four incredible restaurants under one roof.
We treated ourselves to lunch at La Taperia, a unique experience where you order cold tapas off the menu and raise your hand when hot tapas is verbally announced to the restaurant.
Particular favourites included the cold seafood salad, the hot red tuna, Iberian ham croquettes and the baby broad bean and mint salad.
We found a fantastic gem around the corner from Niño Viejo, a tiny wine bar called Vino y Otros Remedios. With the walls flanked with different vinos to choose from, I don’t recall any bottles being over 15 euros. In fact, a gorgeous glass of Albariño cost me around 2,50 euros!
If the weather is on the good side, head for cocktails at W Hotel. With gorgeous views of the sea, it offers people location and relaxation, without the often hectic and crowded promenade of Barceloneta beach.
Now here you can really do what you want. If it’s your first time to Barcelona there really is so much to do – and my blog post here offers a more comprehensive guide for things to do in the city.
However, on this particular trip I was taken the round the glorious chocolate shops in Barcelona. Yes, really. Who knew Barcelona had so many choccy hidden gems?
Oriol Balaguer, La Patisseria, Bubó and Bocí were all remarkable little gems that contained everything from mirror-glazed strawberry cakes to chocolate sculptures in the shape of a Jenga block.
So what are you waiting for my fellow foodies? Barcelona’s food scene awaits…