La Granja M. Viader

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When living in or going to Barcelona you definitely shouldn’t miss out on this especially delicious & historically very important landmark. Its history began in 1870 when Señora Rafaela Coma first opened the doors to her little dairy shop in Calle Xuclà, 6. Since then one can find the best dairy products, cold cuts & cheeses (which can also be vacuum-packed for you to take home), cakes, desserts and the best and typical thick, hot Spanish Chocolate in Barcelona, Catalonia, I even dare to say in all of Spain, at the small Granja M. Viader (Website: http://granjaviader.cat.mialias.net/?p=201&lang=en – Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GranjaViader/timeline)!

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Watch the staff handle the freshest dairy products

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The supreme cheeses and cold cuts selection for you to purchase

The young Señor Marc Viader started working there in 1895 and since 1910 the Viader family is the rightful and proud owner of this charismatic Granja, that maintained its charm and historic look throughout the centuries. When entering the little shop that is located in the historical part (Ciutat Vella) on one of the Raval’s very small streets, one feels like being transported into another time, far far away from our modern, hectic world. Go in, mix with locals and tourists alike, and marvel at all the awards and medals Mr Viader won during the last century and follow the history of the most important milestones for the little family run business – be it the important invention of the tasty Catalonian drinking chocolate ‘Cacaolat’ (the Catalonian equivalent to the Spanish ColaCao) or the pictures of their most valueable dairy cows displayed on the wall just hanging next to old, antique adverts for their dairy products – you won’t get bored and you can make sure to make the most of a rainy or cold afternoon in Barcelona.

Cacaolat

The Catalonian drinking chocolate ‘Cacaolat’ has been invented at the Granja M. Viader

The most typical thing to order would be a Xocolata Calenta (the thick, hot chocolate) but in order to make it a bit more luscious, I recommend going for the ‘Suis’ which is the thick, hot chocolate topped off with the most delicious freshly whipped cream I have ever tasted (and I come from a Northern country where people know how to treat dairy products!).

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Have your ‘Suis’ with some freshly baked ‘Xurros’

Apart from being able to take the best, typical cold cuts and cheeses home, you can also give their typical thick, hot chocolate as a present. It comes in different sized bags, accompanied by the instructions in Catalan, Spanish, English or French.

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The perfect & most tasty souvenir from the Catalonian Capital

So keep calm and have some hot chocolate!

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Guinness Draught Irish Stew made in BCN

A little more than over a year ago I came across this fabulous Irish Stew recipe on one of my favourite blogs, Brown Eyed Baker (http://www.browneyedbaker.com/). I immediately felt intrigued and tried it on my own and since then basically can’t stop cooking it – especially now that autumn’s finally arrived and winter is just lingering around the next corner.

I must mention that I am not very fond of cooking according to recipes (which makes me a terrible baker since I consider the high art of baking something that is on one side absolutely creative but on the other a procedure of high-level chemistry which, once you added some fire, can’t be reversed, whilst cooking is an ongoing process and you sort of have more possibilities to make it work again) but I love to get my inspiration online and from my father who is a retired chef. So yes, I try baking once in a while, and have the highest admiration for bakers and their creations, but it’s something that I absolutely have to practise before I could even consider calling myself a baker.

So back to this marvellous stew. Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe (http://www.browneyedbaker.com/guinness-beef-stew-recipe/) inspired me various times to take my turn and try my own versions. I am not a big fan of beef so I always make sure to throw in enough vegetables. According to season, (I am very lucky to live just around the corner of one of the world’s most famous and biggest markets – The Boqueria Market), I like to choose fresh veggies and meat and that’s where cooking starts for me already – with the planning and then purchasing the right ingredients. I love choosing my own ingredients and won’t buy food where I can’t do that. Recently I love adding root vegetables (like parsnips and carrots) and different kind of pumpkins that I throw in 30mins later than the rest of the vegetables since they tend to get absorbed completely in the beautiful sauce – which is not bad at all since they add a nice, slightly sweetish taste to the stew.

Veggies

Beautiful Boqueria Veggies & Herbs

Fresh Beef

Fresh & juicy beef for stew with freshly ground black pepper

I try to stick to the recipe, only deviating a little bit from the original. Apart from different vegetables, I tend to use more Guinness Draught since I like a lot of sauce. Unfortunately I don’t have a Dutch oven so I do all the cooking in a usual pot which I keep covered, cooking the stew at low temperature the same amount of time as indicated in the original recipe on the stove. If you need help regarding the measurement conversions, I use the following link, which is quite helpful: http://www.browneyedbaker.com/conversions/

Slow cooking stew

Slow cooking at low heat

After the 3hs cooking time, I just leave the stew on the switched off, cooling down stove so the beef becomes even more tender. Then the only thing that’s left to say is “Enjoy your meal – bon profit!”

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