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Europe in The RAW 2011 ~ Barcelona

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. It was my third time here, but the first time living on raw foods. As an 80/10/10-er you would more than get by as long as you don’t insist on organic produce. However, if you’re looking for greens and lots of organic fruits and vegetables, you’re in for a challenge! 

Raw Food in Barcelona
While there are mountains of fresh fruits and vegetables every square foot of the town, it is almost impossible to find organic produce in Barcelona. There are quite a few “bio” stores (similar to small organic stores in the U.S.) around but they’re stuffed with packaged food, not produce. And greens…forget it! They don’t exist! One of the VERITAS (the bio chain in town) stores had a couple of heads of romaine lettuce both the size of apples and packaged and in a very sad state : ( oh, and they cost a fortune!
All this means is that eating at home, using organic produce, was very limited. So we went to a couple of restaurants for our main meals of the day. Alternating the two for six days in a row helped a bit but it did get old. All in all though, I’m so grateful to have had the access to some quality raw foods! Our two lunch spots were ORGANIC and BIOCENTER.
The first of those I visited three years ago, when I was a macrobiotic and I loved it so I couldn’t wait to go back there. The latter was a new discovery. My sister found it online and we decided to give it a try.  Neither of them are 100% raw, they’re organic vegetarian restaurants with pretty good salad bars with mostly raw items (and some cooked beans potatoes and pasta).

They also have gazpacho every day so I could even have soup (my sister warned me that most places thicken the traditional soup with bread so it’s usually not raw like at these restaurants)! It’s so refreshing and it provides a great start when you arrive from a walk in the heat (it was incredibly hot this time around). Oh, and freshly squeezed fruit and carrot juices are also available at both.

Organic Review
I must start by mentioning my favorite item here, which is their parsley dressing. It’s way too salty for me but sooo delicious. I remembered it from three years ago and I was looking forward to having it again, so you can imagine how impressed I was the first time around! Their gazpacho is yummy but I’m far from being an expert of Spanish soups. All of the veggies in the bar were really fresh and they had a cucumber-tomato-onion-herbs-olive-oil chopped salad, which I

really like.
You can dress your pile of vegetables with olive oil, (vinegar), sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and nutritional yeast. The last day they even had some unshelled peanuts!

Biocenter Review
The main difference between
the two restaurants is that Biocenter has a much friendlier crew. The salad bar is somewhat larger but there are quite a few cooked items. Their apple-carrot-sauce that you see piled on top of my salad is delicious!

La Boqueria
laboqueriamarketbarcelonaThere is a fabulous market in the center as well, just off of the Ramblas. It’s impossible to miss and it will provide you with an endless selection of fresh produce. Don’t expect anything organic though! There is not a single “bio” stand. They have a lot of single serving, already cut up, fruits and already juiced “fresh” juices for pennies so if you’re into that stuff you’ll be in heaven.

There are of course, nuts, dried fruits, animal products and most anything your heart desires in this maze of food heaven. In the far right corner of the market is Organic’s counter version for take-out but it seemed like they serve cooked food only.  :(
These three places are within two blocks from each other so check one out and if it's not to your liking go to the next one. In Barcelona, there’s so much to take in so if beautiful architecture feeds you then you won’t even be hungry ; ) Even then it’s worth loading up on veggies at these restaurants!
Here’s some of the beauty I saw:

Mercat de Les Flors Theater
La Casa Mila of Antoni Gaudí
Iron Work on Window in Güell Park
Pillars in Güell Park
Batlló House (Antoni Gaudí)
Amazon in CosmoCaixa (Science Museum)

Gaudí House in Güell Park

                 Next stop is Budapest. Stay tuned!

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