Table of Contents
- 1 Destination: Barcelona
- 2 Mode of Transport: Canned food in Barcelona
- 3 Visit Spain
- 4 La Boqueria in Barcelona
- 5 Canned and jarred goods
- 6 A little background about canned goods
- 7 Nicholas Appert and Peter Durand
- 8 El Xampanyet in Barcelona
- 9 Caviar comes in a can too
- 10 DiPalo’s
- 11 Pretend to be Picasso
- 12 The Sun Also Rises
Mode of Transport: Canned food in Barcelona
After having read The Sun Also Rises multiple times during my undergrad years, I finally made it to Spain in my early 20’s. I embraced Spain as much as I did Hemingway’s classic novel. Since then, I have returned multiple times; the most recent being 2011 with my wife and daughter. Not a day goes by that I don’t long for my next return.
When one immerses themselves in the culture of the country he/she visits, that person is inherently influenced in some respect by that country for the rest of their lives. Of all I have visited, Spain influenced my palate and way of eating more than any.
La Boqueria in Barcelona
From having chipirones with chickpeas for breakfast (mini octopus) at the counter of Pinoxto in Barcelona‘s famous Boqueria (the city market), bulls testicles to soak up the poison after a day of drinking in Pamplona during the famous Feast of San Fermin, eating before eating (tapas/pintxos before a proper supper – at midnight to boot), I was hooked.
Canned and jarred goods
A little background about canned goods
A little about canned goods. According to Food Reference, it’s been said that in the 18th Century, Napoleon Bonaparte was the first to commission the development of reliably preserving food; and a Frenchman by the name of Nicholas Appert has been credited to have come up with the first form of preserved canning (realizing that fully cooked food when tightly sealed didn’t spoil).
Nicholas Appert and Peter Durand
He was followed by Englishman Peter Durand who developed a method of sealing food into unbreakable tin. Since then, the process has been perfected, and has played a huge role in maintaining armies and world travelers through the centuries.
El Xampanyet in Barcelona
For most of us Americans, we don’t associate canned goods as a choice item. However, a little over 20 years ago, a trip to a tapas bar near the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, named El Xampanyet, flipped that disposition on its’ head. Brought out to me, along with a white sparkling wine they called xampanyet (not quite cava) were white asparagus spears that were lightly pickled, followed by olives, anchovies, sardines, oysters, barnacle, baby eel, tuna belly. Imagine all of this – served directly out of the tins they came from.
Press play to the below video and look at all the canned food laid out into dishes.
Caviar comes in a can too
The proprietors served them out of the cans with pride! Then it hit me; if a tin is good enough for caviar, why not other offerings. From place to place, even when I ordered the same item; from can to can, they all had their unique flavor. Something in the chemistry, not unlike wine, makes every experience unique. The most intense flavors I have ever tasted have come out of a can (this includes SPAM by the way).
Since then, I am always in search of the best-canned foods available. When I open that can of Italian tuna I purchased at DiPalo’s (NYC) and smear a bit over crusty bread, my mind brings me back to Numana Beach at the Marche region.
Pretend to be Picasso
I sometimes get myself a good bottle of chablis to go along with a can of Sardines I brought back from a shop called la belle-iloise in Antibes and suddenly I’m there again pretending to be Picasso, if just for a little while.
The Sun Also Rises
And when I pick up that very worn hardcover first edition of The Sun Also Rises that my wife bought me as a gift many Christmases ago, I treat myself to a bottle of cava and a tin of muscles I can purchase at Despana (NYC) and I am back sitting on that bar stool I sat on 20 some odd years ago in Barcelona, and I am that young man again ready to have his world turned upside down by the greatest novel ever written and a country called Spain.
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Have you been to Xampanyet in Barcelona? Do you enjoy canned goods? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments, I would love to know. Did you like this DISH? if so, please share, my wife would be so happy!