The Market showdown! Sant Josep de la Boqueria, Barcelona VS Borough Markets, London

Alex: And so begins the lengthy recap of my recent 2 month European adventure.

A holiday filled with vivid landscapes, some surprising adrenaline rushes, a senseless amount of alcohol, family, friends new and old and of course food. This European adventure has ultimately left me with lifelong memories that I already find myself looking back on. It’s crazy what can trigger a memory but what a great thing that is.

For me, this trips main purpose was to eat an unmeasurable amount of food. By the end of the trip I wanted a palate so varied I could stomach anything (that didn’t go down so well but not without trying). It’s safe to say there were a few purge worthy moments where I turned into a gluttonous hippo but my mantra…”Buzz off! I’m on holidays!”

So we started this very eventful trip in the vibrant city of Barcelona, Spain. The cities basis of food is anchored around the infamous St Josep De La Boqueria markets but the restaurant scene varies from fine dining to tiny little tapas bars.

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The view from our Hotel’s infinity pool overlooking the city of Barcelona – Andantes Hotel

La Boqueria envelopes much of La Rambla, one of the busiest and well-known streets of Barcelona. The first known mention of these markets dates all the way back to the year 1207 and to this day it’s reputation as one of the best markets in the world has not been tarnished.

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As you arrive at the markets you are immediately bombarded with a colony of colour from the fresh juices to all the juxtaposing smells from the array of fruit, Spanish ham and cute little cakes.

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These bad boys ranged from 1-3 euros and came in different flavours including the ones that I tried:

-Strawberry

-Coconut

-Mango & Orange Puree

My favourite was the coconut. So fresh, light and perfect for the Barcelona weather. Also helps you to relax and deal with the crazy crowds that form at the markets.

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The ridiculous crowds

As mentioned almost every second stall is full of mountains of fruit. I’m talking large grapes, cherries, strawberries, honey-dew melon, mangoes and almost every type of apple you can think of!

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Then as you venture further into the markets you can see colours of pink and red explode in your already watery retinas. Whether that’s’ watery from excitement or tears of joy, I’m not sure but holy sh*t this jamon (Spanish ham) was out of this world. Most of the markets were pretty chill and would give you a taster but for some reason they weren’t too keen on the photos so I had to be sly…

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A few jamon servings on the go, what’s good?

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So on top of all the fruits and jamon and what not I stumbled across this cute little confectionery stall that had intricate little marzipan deserts. I literally only stopped to take a photo of those burger chocolates for the Burger Lord Bianca.

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If all the walking around is not your style then you can stop for lunch at all the surrounding restaurants but beware the prices are ridiculous because it’s on La Rambla. And the food will probably taste like poo. Try and venture out away from the main strip for a restaurant. The quality is always twenty times better and the prices are little bit easier on the pocket 🙂

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Barcelona delivered the goods with their superior markets but how did they compare with one of the other top markets in the world? I’m talking about London’s Borough Markets. 

Our second destination on our trip and easily one of my favourites. London has a distinct charm about it that I just can’t seem to describe to others. It was as if it was home away from home…

Borough Markets was laid out a lot different to that of Boqueria. Everything seemed more organised and flowed well. As you entered the markets you had a lovely view of the new Shard Building, which also happens to be where I had dinner that same night so there will be a blog post for that coming within the next few weeks!

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One of the best stalls for fresh bread. Some seem to be taken aback by the prices but I didn’t think much of it. I thought they were cheap (?).

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The mountains of bruschetta pizza were actually burning my eyeballs so I couldn’t help myself.

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Pesto, fresh tomato and the crunch from that bread just created an explosion of aromatic flavours that enveloped the senses. Each bite just got better and better and for 4 bucks I was happy.

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This gentleman was preparing garlic prawn wraps with a sweet chilli sauce which of course…I ate as well (and yes if you’re wondering, this day was purge worthy).
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One of the best coffee’s I had on the whole trip. Monmouth is a coffee shop that sits just across from the markets and offers an olden style take on making coffee. Using fresh beans they filter the coffee through paper and oh my god I’m no coffee expert so I’m not going to try to explain how they make it but it was bloody delicious. I mean check out the line.

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Notice the filter sheets in the cups on the bottom left of the image
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Coffee beans!

A lot of people stopped for a bite to eat. I loved the idea of having the fresh bread sitting on the table and you could just use the condiments provided to make a little baguette.

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Back into the markets we went and it was as if I had gotten a punch to the face. The strong scent of truffle filled the air and like a little kid on crack I ran to it. Imported from Italy, this truffle seemed to easily be worth the hefty price tag.

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I loved that any one was able to just go up and smell and enjoy the scent of such a delicacy.
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This cheese shop called Jumi Cheese also offered imported goods from Paris, Italy and Switzerland.

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You know when you see amazing food but you’ve already eaten so much that if you eat anything else you just want to crawl into a ball and die? Yeah well imagine being in that state and then getting to the sweets section of the markets. I wanted to cry.

Think, Victoria Sponge Cakes, tarts, banana bread, meringues. It was like the Great British Bake off in the flesh.

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But wait, you turn around and BOOM! You see this mammoth being cooked. Mmmm Check out the eye right at the bottom in the middle…Delicious!

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It was an eventful day of eating and stopping to rest to then have some more energy to eat some more so after the markets we decided to see London in a really great way, which I highly recommend. We got public bikes and rode to all the destinations of London. Truly a magical experience and something I will remember for the rest of my life!

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After all that talking about both of those markets I’d like to say there’s an easy choice as to which is better. But I don’t think it’s as simple as that. They both have their specialities and delicacies which make them so popular to tourists and locals alike but if I had to choose I would say London’s Borough Markets takes out the crown for being my favourite food markets EVER! And for those that have been I hope they would agree.

If you have been to either or both I’d love to hear about your experiences and maybe see some of your pics!

Hope you guys enjoyed the first of many of my European food adventures.

Until next time!

Alex

Monmouth Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Author: forfoodssake

A Sydney food blog.

4 thoughts

  1. I absolutely LOVED Borough Markets!! I got to go my first time this year and it was everything I hoped for and more. I actually loved Borough Markets more than Les Halles in Lyon! Beautiful photos, definitely captures the beauty of the market. I’ll hopefully have my own photo recap up on my blog soon 🙂

  2. Fantastic read Alex, loved all the photos, especially all the sweets & bread. What an awesome place I’ll get there one day!!!!

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