This is part 1 of 5 of our 2020 Europe Trip.

We started our namesake European trip to the Spanish coastal Mediterranean city of Barcelona. It took some adjusting on our part to eat dinner at 8pm or later with kids.

Within a few days we had gone on to exploring our local fresh market and the big touristy one called La Boqueria. Every neighborhood in Barcelona has their own fresh market. After being blown away by all the ham legs in the market, we quickly googled the different types of ham. The 2 main types are Iberico and Serrano. Iberico is the traditional Iberian pig species associated with fine Spanish ham, and Serrano is all the rest. If the Iberico is fed on acorns, they develop black feet and thus are called “Pata Negra” or the really expensive stuff. The good thing is you can buy a small paper cone and try them both. I was so blown away by the outstanding markets, I only now realized I did not take any pictures of the awesome fruits, veggies, olives, fresh pasta, and seafood they had.

We even ordered some chicken thighs to cook at our apartment. Technically it was a leg quarter. But they will do whatever you want with it. Boneless chicken thighs with skin on and flattened for even cooking. Bam! Didn’t even have to get my hands dirty.

Our greatest and most expensive food experience was a journey into molecular gastronomy. The Catalonia region is perhaps where it all started, most famously with El Bulli restaurant. A spinoff of the restaurant is called Tickets in Barcelona. It’s basically a fancy tapas bar with very interesting dishes.

There were so many new and yummy things to eat. Just to list a few: a delicious brunch outside the Picasso museum where the kids ordered passion fruit pancakes and salted caramel pancakes, escargot or snails (my kids are such great sports and love trying new things), pinchos (small meat/veggie on top of bread), tapas, hot chocolate and churros (the local afternoon tea snack that consists of fried dough dipped in gooey hot chocolate – delicious).