Our last hurrah for this trip is two nights in Barcelona before flying home. But, to make the occasion even more special, our two friends from Valencia, Mark and Alex, have come up to Barcelona to join us.
In the hunt for things to do whilst we were together I remembered a food site that Hazel had discovered last year, but we had not had been able to do. I in turn had mentioned it to another friend before her trip to New York, and the experience had been a great success (had it not, Janice and Lizzie?). The site is https://www.eatwith.com .
Check it out – the site lists a number of different eating events in a range of cities. You register your interest to attend, the host then accepts and you pay. Once payment is received you are given the location of the event. It offers you the chance to meet new people; to take advantage of a local’s knowledge of their city; and hopefully to experience good food. It’s basically a dinner party where the guests don’t know each other, or, the host.
Onto eatwith I go, and find there is an interesting sounding dinner for our last night in Spain: Fusion Spanish tapas on a Barcelona Terrace. The boys, and Ian, who is also joining us, agree it sounds like a good way to spend a night in Barcelona, so we book ourselves in.
So that is how we find ourselves standing outside an apartment block door in La Ribera at 7pm on a very balmy Saturday night (a very unSpanish hour to be dining it must be admitted). We are buzzed in and step into the lift which shuffles its way to the top floor. The doors open and we step out into the terrace, complete with fake grass and two merry Bichon Frise dogs to greet us. Our hosts, Nuria and Ascanio are also there to welcome us, hand us a glass of cava and introduce us to the other guests. We are 15 in all. By coincidence 6 are from Germany, 2 from Switzerland, 2 from the States, plus our party of 2 Valencians and 3 Aussies. We five increase the average age significantly, but we are kindly embraced by the ‘youngies’ and conversation flows (luckily, this united nations all speak English).
After our welcome glass of cava, Nuria invites us to take a seat at the table set up on the terrace, and explains that we will be having a series of small tastes that Ascanio has created in their tiny kitchen. These tastes will use modern cooking techniques, before finishing with a more traditional Catalan dish and then one that pays heed to Ascanio’s Italian heritage.
Our taste buds are then tantalised by 8 bite size tapas. I knew I should have written down what they all were, as looking at the photos now I am struggling to recall them! I know there was: a modern gazpacho; onions 3 ways; dehydrated tomato in an edible (potato starch) bag; octopus; beef carpaccio roll; a reconstructed olive. The white stuff in the little glass is some sort of cheese dish, but the creamy covered mouthful in the white spoon completely escapes me. I just know they were all delicious (but, very small).
Then came DIY Pa amb Tomàquet – I.e. Catalan tomato bread – with all the trimmings of cheese, jamon and anchovies. Plus, a roasted hassleback potato. This was followed by a small serving of homemade pasta with a simple dressing (sorry, forgot to take a picture of that). An odd assortment of carbs really.
The red and white wine flowed freely throughout the night, and the conversation was lively. Nuria proved to be the perfect hostess – remembering people’s names; keeping glasses topped up; chatting to the guests; introducing each dish. Ascanio only emerged from the kitchen after dessert was served.
We all departed around 11.00 pm, having enjoyed a unique experience in a wonderful city. Why don’t you see if there is an eatwith event in the next city you visit (or even in your own home town) and give it a go.