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.

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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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Edge Brewing or the Joining the Craft Beer Revolution in Spain

A few months back in sunny August, me and my media naranja went to the weekly scheduled open-door event of local craft beer brewery Edge Brewing (http://edgebrewing.com/). What I didn’t know was that business partners Alan and Scott not only brew original craft beer but that they also brought all their equipment (tanks, etc.) from the States in order to brew original American Ale in the industrial but nevertheless charming Poblenou district of Barcelona. They even get some of their key ingredients imported from the States!

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Not being a big beer drinker myself for several reasons, but most of all because I am the person that most likely orders a smooth red wine, preferably a Rioja, going with a delicious mediterranean dinner, I was not sure what to expect. I’ve tasted some craft beers in the past and generally liked them but I wouldn’t order them specifically. Actually I never liked beer before I moved to Spain, but once here I developed a taste for the light Spanish Estrella or Cruzcampo (most likely mixed into a Clara – or as most English speakers call it, a Shandy) which is just so tasty and refreshing sitting in one of the Chiringuitos at the beach in the middle of a hot Spanish summer.

So when we entered the brewery one Friday afternoon, I was more than surprised to find a vibrant and beautifully equipped brewery space laid out in front of me. Strolling through the big entrance we stumbled upon a local food truck offering their delicacies (different food trucks join the Edge Brewing Free Guided Tours of the Brewery & Tasting Events each Friday so make sure to check their Facebook page for the next events: https://www.facebook.com/EdgeBrewingBarcelona?fref=ts). We immediately went for the tasting offer which includes 4 small pints of craft beer of your choice for 5€. Later on you can also go for the usual sized pints but I definitely recommend tasting as many Edge beers as you can.

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Alan and his lovely staff will happily explain tastes and types of beers, and will make you feel like home, being amongst people from all different cultures, finding new friends, meeting old ones and exploring craft beer – because this is what it’s all about: explore something new that is not the typical Spanish light beer that you get in every usual bar around here. Make up your mind and taste craft beer and come to a conclusion meaning: like it or dislike it – but try it! So if you like what you drink and as soon as you determined your favourite craft beer you might also want to purchase a re-usable growler and get it filled up for you to take home.

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As said before, I am not a big beer drinker myself but I tried almost all of Edge Brewing’s Craft Beers and even determined my favourite one which is – against all odds since I used to prefer the light Spanish beers – not ‘Aigua de Canaletes’ (the craft beer most similar to a light Spanish beer being an American blonde ale) but the orange Stiletto instead, which is a hearty, earthy warm, mild but strong Saison beer (7.6%).

Edge Beers

For this year’s Halloween, Edge Brewing is offering ‘Buried Alive’ on tap.  So make sure you pass by on Friday, the 31st of Oct. 2014, in order to enjoy this Halloween Special Edition Pumpkin Spiced Ale – I will be there.

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Head Brewer Alan Sheppard carefully incorporates the Roasted Pumpkin into the future pumpkin spiced ale ‘Buried Alive’

The Caravelle & my French Toast Addiction

So living in Barcelona and its barrio Raval definitely made me appreciate good quality and slow food cooked with love, passion and locally available, seasonal & organic, healthy ingredients even more than before and this is why I want to dedicate my first blog post in this category to my favourite Café/ Restaurant Caravelle in Calle Pintor Fortuny, 31 (https://www.facebook.com/CaravelleBCN/timeline – check their Facebook updates for current opening times and events).

We’ve been going there since their opening back in 2012 and it’s our favourite place for Café con Leche and brunch in Barcelona. I’m putting the word ‘brunch’ first since I clearly am a breakfast person – I just love having a good long breakfast/ brunch! But Caravelle’s lunch/ dinner options are more than worth mentioning, too!

Caravelle Café con Leche

Enjoy your Café con Leche while watching locals as well as tourists walking by on their way to the nearby MACBA (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona – http://www.macba.cat/en/index).

Australian owner and chef Zim plus his staff never fail to surprise us with new creations on a regular basis and that we are more than happy to sample.

Their menu variety includes both – a lot of internationally influenced dishes as well as the incorporation of local and typically Spanish ingredients – always keeping it fresh, healthy, seasonal and cooked to order. Good things take their time, so be patient and let them work their magic – you won’t be disappointed! Also a definite plus in Barcelona is to be welcomed and looked after by super nice and professional people and Caravelle’s staff is just amazing!

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French Toast with Mango Sauce & White Chocolate Cream, topped off with Oven Roasted Plums & Almonds

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Oven Baked Eggs with Smoked Chorizo, Roasted Tomato, Beans & Lime Coriander Sour Cream

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Caravelle featured their Fried Fish Taco with homemade Pickles, Tomatillo Alioli, Guacamole at the fourth Eat Sreet Barcelona Food Festival Edition (https://www.facebook.com/eatstreetbarcelona) on Oct. 11th.

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Non-alcoholic, homemade Ginger Beer