On a short visit to Barcelona, I decided that one of the experiences I wanted to have was a taste of local cuisine. However, because I was making the trip alone due to business reasons, I was also looking for a more interactive way to experience the foods of Barcelona while meeting people. After searching the internet for companies with food tours and cooking classes in Barcelona, I was disappointed that most of their schedules were already full or non-existent due to August being a traditional month of vacation in Spain. When I found Barcelona Cooking, I sent an e-mail right away to inquire about their availability. I immediately received a pleasant reply and confirmation from Tony accommodating my request of a specific date.
When I arrived, Chef Cándido and Emma greeted me with friendliness and enthusiasm. They told me I was the only student in the class that morning, and I was surprised yet delighted that they did not cancel it or charge me more simply because I was the only student. They welcomed me into their clean and well-decorated cooking school, and we got started right away.
Because I attended the class during the month of August, the menu was still set for summer. They offered me wine and bottled water throughout my lesson, and we began to cook! The menu included pan con tomate (toast with tomato juice, garlic, olive oil, and sea salt, typical from Catalonia); tortilla de patata (Spanish potato omelet, served throughout Spain); paella de mariscos (rice with seafood, typical dish for Spanish cities located on the Mediterranean); and crema catalana (Spain’s version of the French crème brûlée).
Chef Cándido explained interesting facts of each dish as we went along and carefully instructed me on how to prepare them. I took the class because of my interest in Spanish cuisine because of my family connections to Spain. I had already had a lot of exposure to Spanish cooking in the past; however, Chef Cándido taught me new information and tips about the Catalan or Spanish roots of the dish and how to prepare it. His attitude the entire time was helpful and positive. I felt as though he truly cared about my not only enjoying myself but also learning. He corrected me when necessary and guided me toward successful completion of all dishes. Whenever I could improve a technique, he kindly offered a suggestion for the future so that I could practice on my own in the US. I asked several questions, and Chef Cándido always had the answer.
When we were finished, I was invited to eat for lunch the entire menu that we had prepared. The dishes were delicious, and my notes reflected new recipes, variations on recipes I had already known, and tips for better cooking experiences in the future. I was impressed at what I had learned in just a few short hours. The new knowledge and ideas for future dishes is invaluable information. But the best part of Barcelona Cooking was the sincerity of the team. Chef Cándido and Emma are wonderful teachers and hosts, and Tony was just as welcoming in corresponding with me through e-mail to set up my class. They are invited to my kitchen and home anytime!
If you would like to experience an encouraging, informative, and delicious cooking experience, I highly suggest you participate in one of the classes at Barcelona Cooking. It offers a unique perspective on Spain and Catalonia that you will not find in a museum or scenic tour. Barcelona Cooking will help you not only learn how to cook traditional dishes, but the experience will also show you true Spanish hospitality!
For more information: www.barcelonacooking.net
© 2016 Melanie Glover. All rights reserved.
All three images above: Barcelona Cooking.