Speciality Shops, Barcelona
I've still to find someone who does not like these shops. Well, only in case you hate chocolate... but even someone who does not like chocolate, may buy here some presents for their choco-holic friends or family ;)
What to buy: .
They have from the basic (but amazing) chocolate tablets, to the most sophisticated flavored ones, organized in “collections”. My favorite: the #3 “Cocoas and spices of America”. They use only authentic cocoa, without preservatives nor additives, so the quality is excellent.
You can taste some of the products on sale before buying, as they have a small bar area inside the shop. During winter, you can have a warm rest sampling their sinful hot chocolates. During summer, they have milkshakes and ice-creams. As well, they have a selection of sweet wines, liquors and cavas which better combines with chocolate, and anything else related with chocolate you may dream of! And a few non-chocolate related items/goods too.
A sweet finding! When accompanying a friend to the main Post office, this little shop called our attention. We entered; it was a paradise of colourful handmade sweets and lollipops. You can buy a basic bag of these, or nice gift boxes. Best thing: you can see how they make the sweets, and seemed to be having great fun doing their work!
Have a look at its website, it's great.
"Caelum" is the Latin word for Heaven. Very appropriate name!
This place sells crafts and foods such as pastries, cookies, wine, honey and preserves, made by monks and nuns from several monasteries around Spain. But, apart from buying some nice presents there.... you can try it, as it is as well a fine eatery (more less a "salon de the"). Recently they have added a new room at ground level with a few tables, but better go down steps... and you will spoil yourself in a unique place (there were once the old Jewish Baths, about 400 years ago)
What to buy: Everything I tried was delicious. Anyway, my favourites are pieces of sugar-preserved orange covered by dark chocolate made from nuns of Vallbona (Tarragona), as well the little fruit-shaped marzipans from Sevilla. Great gifts to take back home too.
What to pay: Top quality items are never cheap, but you can have a tea with pastries for about 4-5 euros.
Not yet another food shop. Even not the usual delicatessen shop. Colmado Quilez is an institution here in Barcelona. Since 1940, one of the best known stores of Barcelona, and even out of the city and the country boundaries.
You will see the most strange and delicious local and foreign delicacies on its crowded 16 windows: caviar, fine oils and vinegars, wines, pastries, preserves, liquors, chocolates... They claim having more than 4.000 references on food items, apart of their 3.500 of vines. As well, they have their own products, like its special coffee mix, or their cava (elaborated by Mont-Ferrant’s winery). So, it may be a good place to buy these unusual souvenirs you were looking for. And the best thing: its not a hype place. Even of course it's not cheap, you will not pay for a funky wrap there, but for real good stuff.
This shop dates from 1911, and it keeps it's old-fashioned but elegant Viennese style. Pay a visit to Cuchillería Roca, it’s worth it, even just to admire the building (listed as Barcelona’s History and Arts Patrimony)
Of course, if you need something sharp... it is your place. They say they have more than 9000 different kind of knifes, scissors and any related items.
In any case, do not miss Plaça del Pi during your visit to Barcelona. Is one of the most charming spots on the Old Town. This square and the next one (plaça de Sant Josep Oriol) are well know for the beautiful church (església del Pi and its 'Giants'), as well for its bars and terraces. As well, there you can find a small but interesting art market on weekends.
This wide avenue that goes from Placa de Catalunya to Juan Carlos I Sq. is to BCN what Champs Elysees is to Paris.
Here you will find beautiful buildings and the more expensive international firms, from Cartier to Loewe...
When you walk along Portal del Angel, you will be easily distracted by so much people, noise, and bright modern windows of the fashion shops. But please pay a little attention and you'll find one of the finest gems between Barcelona's oldest shops.
They sell combs and hair accessories. The family business dates from 1882, even at a different location. On 1922 it was open at its current address at Portal del Àngel. Since them, a mandatory visit for all ladies, being local or visitors :)
So, we're walking around the Barri Gotic admiring the atmospheric streets and buildings and we spot an English newspaper cutting (The Times no less) in the window of one of the small shops. We stop and read. It turns out to be a piece about a lady, Katherine McLaughlin, who left Inverness, Scotland several years ago to set up the only local country farmhouse cheese shop in Spain.
We pop in to the neat little shop that has a walk in cool area for the cheeses and are met by the smiling Scot herself. We end up having a lovely conversation about how she came to be producing local cheeses to not only, the locals and visiting tourists but to many of the leading restaraunts of Barcelona. We ended up taking some delicious cheese back to the UK with us.
If you are passing, pop in for at least a little look. Check out her small website before you go.
What to pay: Very good value.
Just around the corner of Mozart, you will end up at a very nice square, called Plaça Rius i Taulet.
This delicatesse shop has a lot of local specialities, the sausages, the cheeses.
It also had a mouth watering collection of dried ham.
We bought some of the ham for lunch and a saucage to take with us, in case we are getting withdrawal symptoms leaving such a nice city behind.
What to buy: Local stuff like cheese, ham, saucages in all shapes and colours, spicy and soft.
What to pay: Whatever I paid, it is always much cheaper then what I pay at home
After spending some time observing the folkdancing at La Merce festival, we began exploring Barri Gotic's narrow side streets (perhaps better described as alleyways). This medieval district was fascinating with its intriguing architecture and interesting little shops.
One of these shops is La Caixa de Fang, where shelves high and low held attractively displayed ceramics made by Spanish artisans.
As we rambled about the store looking for the perfect Christmas gift for our son and his wife, the vivid colors caught our eye and we found just the right gift.
I was hoping to visit again to do a little more looking and shopping here, but our time was limited and we hadn't taken a bus tour of the city yet. Ah well, perhaps this is just another reason to return!
I was tempted to include this in warning or dangers. I keep repeating this: Never go shooping with Venezuelan girls, especially if it's for shoes or bags.
Some how they always manage do drag me along.
My mother begged me to bring her some saffron home with us, as it is so much cheaper in spain. We found a little spice shop in Placa Reial, down some stairs, that was really good, and sold all sorts of spices, as well as having a little coffee shop too, and it was nice and cheap. The people didn't speak too good English, but we asked for what we wanted, and we were shown the way with little fuss,and managed to buy exactly the quantity we wanted for a good price.
What to pay: We paid abut €6 for 2 grams-which was a really good price. They sell more at discounted prices.
This shop was just a treat to walk into. I found the assorted false teeth fascinating, my cohort wanted to buy clown shoes but they didn't have them in her size. Masks, puppet heads, and marionettes for the toy collector, this is a must see!!!! Crayon colored boxed with all kinds of cool stuff packed up to the 15 foot ceilings. AND no one speaks English!!! You'll love it.
Check all of my photos for some of the stuff on the shelves.
What to buy: I'd go for one of their handcrafted puppet heads--but then I like that kind of stuff.
What to pay: Average.
How do I describe Fantastik? You simply have to go see for yourself. If you are at all tickled by interesting trinkets, useless gadgets, toys from around the world, cheap, colorful goodies, or anything pleasant, stop into this store! You will find a stunning mix of useful and useless, expensive and dirt cheap, colorful and, well, colorful. They have rear-view mirrors and bird-shaped horns for your bike from asia, match boxes adorned with rhinestones from India, woven technicolor plastic flootmats and lanterns and chests made from soda cans from Africa, luchadora masks from Mexico, great posters, t-shirts, and furniture up the crazy metal staircase, and anything else you never knew you needed but had to have. It's a great place to get a really memorable souvenir on any budget, and most of the fun is just meandering through the crowded little store. Look for the robot sign hanging outside, and you've found Fantastik!
What to pay: Huge price range, from 50 centimos to 220 euros.
The candy stores in Barcelona (and all of Spain, for that matter) are quite different from US candy stores. US stores focus much more on chocolate. Spanish stores focus on gummy type of candies, and they seem to have everything. This picture, taken at the Mercat, is typical. You can buy a bagful of gummy eggs, if that suits you. Most of the objects, however, are unidentifiable. No matter what they are, you have to admit they are kind of pretty.