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Sep 20, 2012 08:44 PM

Barcelona in mid-November. What seasonal foods can I cook in our apartment?

The above kinda says it all. We're going to be in Barcelona for about ten days in mid-November. Staying in an apartment with, I believe, a well-equipped kitchen. While we will certainly be eating many meal out, I also love to cook and honestly get tired of eating every meal out. Plus the expense. I gather many mushrooms will be in season which I will certainly make use of. Anything else at that time of year that I should take advantage? Thanks, all.

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  1. Here's a link to a seasonality chart (there's lots of other good stuff on this site too)
    I'm sending the link to main Catalan language page because there's a lot more information in Catalan than English or Spanish translated pages on this site.
    Mushrooms are usually good around then but there was an article in one of the papers recently about the relatively dry past few months portending a poor fall mushroom season so who knows?

    7 Replies
    1. re: caganer

      What a great chart!!! Thanks SO much. And those Catalan words that I don't know (most of them!) I can do some studying. How amazing that there's something like this. Sad about the dry weather. As you may know, almost the whole US has been really suffering this year. Again, thank you

      1. re: c oliver

        You're welcome (and yes it has been a horrible summer in the US - I live in Philly).
        The Bolets Petras stand at the Boqueria is probably your easiest bet for tracking down good mushrooms. They'll probably have good mushrooms no matter what the weather has been.
        The seafood in the markets is always impressive.

        1. re: caganer

          I believe I've read about that stand. It's in the back of the market, I believe ?

            1. re: caga tio

              Wow, what a chart! You folks are sooooo organized. And I had no idea it was that large. Can't wait. And thanks so much.

              1. re: c oliver

                (Full disclosure....caganer is my husband.)

                Here is a list of the markets, depending on where you are:


                1. re: caga tio

                  Excellent! The man we're renting from (he lives in Madrid now) has given us some market recs. I haven't asked specifically (yet) but it appears that the apartment is in the Eixample. We're SO excited. And, yes, dang it, I DID get a res for Tickets :)

    2. I can't comment directly on your question, but I also often rent apartments when I travel so I can avoid 2 restaurant meals per day.

      However, when I'm in Spain, I really enjoy eating tapas or pintxos (even though not all locals approve of me of making them my supper). I find I personally don't miss shopping and cooking and cleaning up all that much so long as I can find a way to eat lightly in the evening without dealing with a sit-down restuarant meal -- especially in Spain, where I am never there long enough to really adjust to the 10pm dinner hour.

      I'm not trying to discourage you from feasting on the local raw ingredients. Just to let you know you have another very enjoyable out.

      3 Replies
      1. re: barberinibee

        Thanks, b. Yes, we'll probably have a bigger meal at lunch and tapas most evenings. My husband spent chunks of time there over 20 years ago. They were keeping regular American business hours and the dining late was really, really hard. When we were in Lisbon a few years ago, we'd have a big lunch out and frequently a little omelet in our apartment. For us, traveling that way is the only way to go. I can't stand hotels for more than a couple of days. BTW, we do house exchanges alot in case you've ever thought about that. We LOVE it.

        1. re: c oliver

          Hotels are a drag. In Lisbon, I ended up renting an enormous apartment but only made breakfast in it, but that was a godsend. As for home exchange, I inwardly go berserk when even my own friends help out in the kitchen and put things back in the wrong place. House exchange is for a different personality type than mine.:)

          1. re: barberinibee

            Those of us who exchange are quick to admit that it's simply not for some people. More for us :)

      2. Hi, other than ceps, bolets, rovellones and all the wonderful woodland and lowland funghi — which will hopefully come through after late September rains — there's the much maligned, or ignored, boniato to consider. There's much more to boniato — try mashing with light mustard (no vinegar) and cream with chives — or try mashed boniato with finely diced chorizo — great compliment to serve with pork chop (chuleta). Or, being more adventurous, try boniato with grated orange and pomegranate as a dessert.
        And, in November, you should find castañas (chestnuts) in abundance. And, all the brassicas will (or should be) at their best.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Haarlson

          Had to look it up. Boniato = sweet potato! I think that dessert sounds divine. Thanks, H.

        2. Looks like mushroom season could turn out better than initial predictions (and my initial reply here) - there was an article recently talking about things looking up on that front.
          But what I really wanted to mention, since everyone who visits Barcelona should have a good plate of butifarra and white beans (mongetes in this case), is that you might want to stop by Botifarria Santa Maria for maybe some of the best sausages anywhere and then stop by a cooked bean stand at any market for a nearly perfect dish (maybe you'll need some olive oil and garlic too. Botifarra sal i pebre is how the most traditional sausage will be labled but try another one too - there are chestnuts and foie and lots of other things.)

          10 Replies
          1. re: caganer

            You're the best! Those all sound great. Love sausages, mushrooms. Really love foie (I have two lobes in my freezer right now!) I'm saving all of this and looking forward to this immensely to this trip. Just a month away. Too bad you're not going to be there. We could get in lots of trouble :) Thanks.

            1. re: c oliver

              If you love foie you need to go to El Vaso de Oro in Barceloneta. I've sat in front of their plancha watching half a dozen giant lobes get sliced and seared over a couple of hours. It's my annual Three Kings day supper. I love it. Better than average beer too.

              1. re: caganer

                Oh, you are very, very evil :) I'd read about that place. Now it's moved way up the list! Thanks again.

                  1. re: caganer

                    OMG, that's a HUGE portion. Any remembrance of approximate cost? My mouth is watering :)

                    1. re: c oliver

                      That's a half portion - aka a tapa. Not more than 12 euro or so I think. (honestly I usually go too late in the night to care)

            2. re: caganer

              Oh...botifarra and mongetes. Such a fantastic dish. I'm gong to make a point of having some out and about but also making some in my apartment on my next trip. Thanks, caganer.

              1. re: debbiel

                Just found a recipe: Is this kinda what you do? This refers to the beans as coming in a jar. Can they be bought dried? Might be something good to bring back.

                1. re: c oliver

                  Every public market has a stand that sells freshly cooked dried beans. That's they way to go. For the best dried beans to buy to take home go to Casa Gispert (yes, really good dried beans make a huge difference). Buy some hazelnuts while you're there too.
                  (as for the recipe link - you're really just cooking a sausage and tossing some cooked beans in the resulting pan juices/fat)

                  1. re: c oliver

                    As caganer explained, it's a fairly simple dish. You could cook your own beans of course, but you would do that apart from preparing this dish. I've made it a few times at home when I've splurged on butifarra from La Tienda.

              2. I just want to take a moment to thank everyone on this thread for sharing so generously. It's clear you love Barcelona and we intend to immerse ourselves. Thanks, everyone.

                4 Replies
                1. re: c oliver

                  You will love it! I was there for a month from early November to early December last year and absolutely loved it. The city had such a different feel than my prior trips in May. And the mushrooms, though not a great season last year, really were fantastic!

                  1. re: debbiel

                    My husband spent time there while in the Army in the 70s and then professionally in the 80s and 90s and it's one of his faves. I've not been so was already psyched. Now 'hounds have put it over the top. And, yeah, really looking forward to those mushrooms. I can see a couple of omelets with lovely local, seasonal ones. I'm figuring, especially from reading all this, that this will be just my FIRST visit.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      The dried beans — mongetes — to look out for are mongetes de Santa Pau. According to many they are the best.
                      Producers are seeking D.O.P. status — DOP= Denominación de Origen Productos or Protected Designation of Origin. These beans are from Santa Pau — a wonderful preserved medieval village in Girona province — but are readily available in markets in Barcelona.
                      Here's a link to a video (in Catalan - but good practice!) to a recipe for botifarra, mongetes with garlic and girgolas (a type of funghi) with parsley and port:
                      Enjoy Barcelona.

                      1. re: Haarlson

                        Excellent, Haarlson! We're flying out a month from today. YAY :)