A Barcelona Tapas TourSpring in Spain - - Wednesday, May 9, 2012, continued
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Barcelona is packed with intriguing delights: architecture from gothic to modernista, tastes from traditional to nouveau, neighborhoods from up-all-night to quiet lanes.
Tonight we'll sample some of the many tapas bars ... beginning with always-packed Xampanyet. Although tapas are not a typically Catalan culinary staple, they've become super popular in Barcelona, and Xampanyet (pronounced chahmpahnyet - it's the champagne of Spain!) pours their own brand of the local bubbly, usually known as cava.
Its a madhouse, as always - elbow your way up to the bar and point at what you'd like. Noticing that we're a group of 7, they find an empty corner for us and ask us what we want.
In a few minutes a bottle of Xampanyet is plopped on the marble counter, along with a couple of platters of jamon and peppers.
We chuckle at the "Degrees of Love" Thermometer on the wall - can you make it to red fever?
Now for someplace a bit calmer... and a different style of tapas: pintxos from the Basque region. Euskal Etxea boasts a terrific spread of toothpick speared goodies - each one a mere €1.80 and REALLY good.
Help yourself to a plate, a glass of bubbly or wine, and graze down the bar, picking up your choice of pintxos.
Keep the toothpicks and pay up by counting how many when you're done,
after standing inside or out chatting with friends as you munch.
And last of all, let's sit down for a bit in Bar del Pla....and enjoy a platter of artichokes and a few other goodies in the quiet back room. A nice contrast to the busy stand-up bars.
Something chocolate and sweet sounds good... we make one more stop at the best gelateria in Barcelona, La Auténtica Gelatería on Placeta Montcada. The owner tells us about his training in Italy and hands out samples - yes, this is the real thing - a sweet finale to our evening tour.