For me to have a great meal, I need to be surrounded by friends in a nice environment with good food. The time I spent in Barcelona and along the Costa Brava was one of my favorite culinary experiences. It's hard to pinpoint one particular meal that was special because it was all a continuous parade of feasting. I have fond memories meandering through La Boqueria market trying different types of prosciutto and olives, indulging in churros and chocolate at Carrer Petritxol, biking through a vineyard to a gourmet picnic lunch at an abandoned church, dinning at an underground restaurant, delicious gaspachas and daily eating fresh manzanilla olives with pickles, red pepper and carrots.
One of my favorite places was Cadaques, a lively seaside town north of Barcelona with magical beach coves with crystal clear waters. Making new friends and sharing meals of seafood, chipirones, paella, pálamos gambas, and the local white wine, was my dream come true. After dinner we'd walk to the beach to revel in each others company and the brilliant sunsets.
Another favorite food experience in Spain was eating pintxos at Petrilxol in Barcelona. Pintxos are small snacks typically eaten in bars, on a stick or on a piece of bread, and are traditional staple of Northern Spain. I loved the variety of pintxos and how they were announced out loud as they came fresh from the kitchen. The bar tender, Todor, knew my hosts and more than once he would give us a free tapa to end the night.