5 Creative Forces for Good in Barcelona: Rethinking How We Eat, Shop & Travel
Closing in on month 15 of the pandemic, one thing has become clear: our cities are being reshuffled and reshaped in front of our very eyes. While so much has been out of our control for so long, it’s important to know what is. As a community, as citizens and as consumers, the impact we have on envisioning a post-Covid Barcelona – through the businesses we support and the values they embody – has never been greater.
With so many closures across food, fashion & design – shaking the very core of our city’s DNA – we now have the opportunity to decide which people & projects can lead us out of the pandemic and towards a city that champions sustainability, encourages creativity, celebrates sense of place and preserves cultural heritage.
With that in mind, here are 5 creative forces in the city which invite us to rethink the way we eat, shop & travel.
The mission of Pirineu en Boca is beautiful in its simplicity: give city folk access to the highest quality meats and cheeses. If there is a silver lining to having spent months at home, it’s been the time to realise the importance of what we eat and where our food is sourced. From its inception in 2015, Diana Capdevila of Pirineu en Boca has been committed to building meaningful relationships with artisan farmers and cheese makers spanning the length of the Pyrenees and bringing their product to market. From the Basque Country to Catalonia, PeB works directly with more than 70 independent artisans - and in doing so gives Barcelonins the ability to choose grass fed, humanely treated animals while preserving ancient rural traditions in danger of extinction. Namely transhumance - the age-old practice of herding livestock from the lowlands in winter to higher mountain grazing in summer. This cycle, which sustains healthy, nutrient rich soil - and as a result stores higher levels of Co2 in the ground - is no longer relevant to just shepherds and their livestock, but to us all. The toil of the Pyrenean shepherd is dignified, the earth is cared for and the highest quality meat is accessible to us all. Now that’s a win-win-win. Taste their filet and you’ll understand why.
Pirineu en Boca: Carrer de Girona 17
If you’ve been living in Barcelona for more than a week then you’ve probably heard of Nomad Coffee. Kings of paired-down interiors and simple, bold design, what I love most about them is their humble commitment to craft in a movement of third wave brewers notorious for pomp and arrogance. Nomad is the brainchild of Jordi Mestre, who hit the nail on the head years back when he said “when I see an offer for a coffee and croissant for 1.50€ it scares me. It’s suspiciously cheap”. He set out to change that and in doing so educated an entire city about the importance of ethical sourcing, bean seasonality and true value of a good cup of coffee. Nomad’s latest project, Roaster’s Home, is a creative hub in Poble Nou for coffee enthusiasts where we can see first hand the meticulous care that goes into every solo, cortado, flat white or cold brew.
Nomad Coffee Lab & Shop: Passatge Sert 12
Nomad Coffee Raval: Carrer de Joaquín Costa 26
Roaster’s Home: Carrer de Pujades 95
If Barcelona natives hang out in your hotel then you’re doing something right. Tucked into the Dreta de l'Eixample, Casa Bonay exudes everything that is Barcelona - bright, charming and relaxed. More than a hotel, it’s a hub for locals and travelers to meet and enjoy live music, screenings, and food & drink in a beautiful setting. The hotel’s thoughtful, sustainable design is a true oasis from the chaos of the city grid. Paired with warm hospitality and attention to nuance, this converted 1869 house preserves its original hydraulic-tile floors, ceilings and antiques, and thanks to the help of local gardeners and designers (lighting by Santa & Cole, furniture design by AOO), achieves a perfect blend of style, warmth and sense of place. Their latest culinary initiative, Bodega Bonay, is the result of chef Giacomo Hassan and som David Amat, and features artisan producers from the Eixample district and the rest of Barcelona, along with a superb selection of natural wines. Only one thing can beat that - a nightcap on a July evening on their rooftop.
Casa Bonay: Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 700
Bodega Bonay: Wednesday to Sunday 1:00-4:00pm
If I could choose 3 words to describe Albert Raurich they would be: witty, creative and dedicated. I spoke with the former El Bulli chef last year on Facebook Live. We were deep in conversation when a kitchen bell went off and Albert leapt from his couch and presented the camera with a gorgeous rotisserie chicken. His bon vivant nature, obsession with food & sharing, and fascination with cuisine are contagious. In setting out to craft the menu for his project 2 Pebrots in El Raval, Albert and his team poured over ancient recipe books, reviving dishes from Ancient Rome to medieval Basque Country. The result is a homage to the richly layered cultures & cuisines of the Mediterranean. Equally noteworthy has been Albert’s role during the pandemic as spokesperson in defense of the importance and urgency in getting Barcelona’s restaurant industry back on its feet. A true Barcelona hero.
2 Pebrots: Carrer del Dr Dou 19
Since opening in 2002, Foto Colectania has been at the forefront of Barcelona’s visual vocabulary. Housed in a beautiful space on Passeig Picasso since 2017, the collective is fiercely dedicated to exhibiting both emerging and established talent with a philosophy at once social, artistic and educational. Despite international acclaim, the foundation has doubled down on their commitment to offering the city the highest level of cultural expression and remain humble in their success. This approachability is at the core of their business model (Barcelona residents can become members for just 5€/month, with open access to exhibitions, photographic evenings, trips & soirees) and the belief in the power of community as an open, diverse and transformative force.
Foto Colectania: Passeig Picasso14