Full Food Experience: Try 1 Cooking Class in Barcelona, Spain with @bcnKITCHEN #TBEX

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Try a Cooking Class in Barcelona

Try a Cooking Class in Barcelona

When you visit a city that you have never seen before, you have a tendency to visit the typical tourist destinations.  Maybe it’s perusing a museum, a site of historical significance or a tourist trap (try and forgo those…).  Maybe you will avoid the tourist traps but you inevitably do many things that are on the beaten path.  Whatever your adventures may be, you always want to have an overall cultural, historical and culinary experience.  That is the main reason many of us travel.  For the experience.  For us, there is no more important task at hand than to immerse ourselves in the food experience: the taste of local dishes and specialty beverages. 

When Lauren and I  were in Spain we had the chance to try a cooking class in Barcelona at the bcnKITCHEN, a local cooking school.  The workshop included a morning of shopping and an afternoon of cooking.   I have to admit, being a first-time traveller to Barcelona, I was not keen on spending the better part of a day in a kitchen cooking.  Was I ever wrong… this had to be one of the best experiences that we had travelling together.  There is nothing like learning how to cook an authentic Catalan meal to inspire you to take a little bit of Barcelona culture and try it at home. 

Santa Catarina Market bcnKitchen Spanish Cooking Class Barcelona Spain #TBEX

Our morning began with our chef, Alvaro Brun, leading our small group of travel bloggers and our charming guide Monica from Barcelona Turisme to the Mercat de Santa Caterina in the Old Town area of Barcelona. Chef Alvaro made sure we knew how to pick the perfect tomato, select the freshest fish and debated the difference between Italian and Spanish Olive oil (Spanish being the superior of the two, of course). 

Taking a cooking class in Barcelona would not be right without a seafood dish. I saw some of the most delectable fish and seafood.  With Barcelona perched on the Mediterranean Sea, fresh fish is a delicacy you cannot miss in Costa Brava.  With an abundant variety of ways to cook it and dishes to savour, fish is very important to the regional economy.  For that reason alone,  I was happy to see that our menu included a Paella de Mariscos (seafood paella – with shrimps and cuttlefish – no less).

Travel Bloggers at bcnKitchen Spanish Cooking Class Barcelona Spain #TBEX

We began with a fresh cold Gazpacho soup accompanied by a bread and tomato tapas, a delicious traditional Tortilla Espanola (Spanish omelette) and ended the meal with Crema Catalana (or a Catalan version of crème brûlée).  All of this was accompanied by a few glasses of wine and a Cava (a local sparkling wine/champagne that cannot be missed).

Gaspacho at bcnKitchen Spanish Cooking Class Barcelona Spain #TBEX

The class is set in a state of the art facility with everything set out for you to start cooking.  We were divided up into groups so that we could tackle this huge meal together.  There were a few of us working on the tapas, a few on the tortilla, even more on the paella and lastly a few on dessert.  This division of labour just made the whole experience more social and fun.  Since we are all bloggers, there was no shortage of pictures as we went along our process. 

The Gazpacho was served with a very traditional tapas Pa Amb Tomaquet (Bread with Tomato).  This has to be the simplest tapa that you can make but if you choose the wrong tomato, you will go wrong! If you are lucky enough to be in Spain remember to use tomaquets de penjar (ripe hanging tomatoes). 

Take a piece of crusty bread and toast in the oven.  Rub the slice of bread with the tomato (which you have cut in half), drizzle a bit of olive oil and then add a pinch of salt.  You can also rub the bread with garlic before rubbing in the tomato.  If you rub the tomato once it out of the oven, you will get an even more aromatic flavour.

Tortilla at bcnKitchen Spanish Cooking Class Barcelona Spain #TBEX
Tortilla at bcnKitchen Spanish Cooking Class Barcelona Spain #TBEX
Tortilla at bcnKitchen Spanish Cooking Class Barcelona Spain #TBEX

The Catalan version of a Tortilla Espanola or Tortilla de Patata has both caramelized onions and potatoes as a base.  If you are from Madrid, you would only have potatoes.  You can serve this dish as an appetizer with bread or as a full meal and maybe include some Jamón Iberico on the side.

Chef Alvaro’s Tip:

If you’re feeling innovative, I recommend adding cream cheese, grated cheese (Parmesan is especially good), chorizo, sobrassada (the paprika and pork sausage with a creamy texture), diced olives, fresh herbs (oregano or basil work really well!), and even spices.

The Paella de Marisco (Seafood Paella) can be lengthy in preparation but all good things take time to come together.  Paella is a mixture of shrimp, crawfish, onions, peppers, paprika, garlic, tomatoes, cuttlefish (or squid), fish broth, Bomba rice and mussels (we used clams).  All cooked together then baked to perfection.  Timing is everything when making paella so making sure we had everything prepped before we began cooking.  Each of us had a role to play and we did: grate the tomatoes, cut up the vegetables, clean the clams but the skinning and cleaning of the cuttlefish was all done by the chef.

Seafood Paella at bcnKitchen Spanish Cooking Class Barcelona Spain #TBEX
Paella that we made in our cooking class in Barcelona when we attended TBEX Costa Brava in 2015

I think my favourite part was watching the chef skin the cuttlefish (a type of squid) and assemble the fish broth: with shrimp shells, fish spine (yes, that is what the recipe calls for), carrots, leeks, onions, garlic, white wine and Spanish paprika.   This is the point where you find out that Spanish paprika is very different from Hungarian in that the chilli peppers are grown in south-eastern Spain and some are oak-smoked slowly for a deep, dense flavour. Whatever you do, do not use Hungarian paprika in a Spanish dish as the sweet, smokey flavour will be missing.  This is why yout take a cooking class in Barcelona to make it authentic!

Seafood Paella at bcnKitchen Spanish Cooking Class Barcelona Spain #TBEX

Making the Paella was the most labour intensive part of the meal but it was the most gratifying.  When all those ingredients come together on a plate, you are tasting a little bit of Catalan Heaven.  You can fully understand when you go to different restaurants why they make different versions of paella or rice dishes.  With an abundance of fresh ingredients and fish and seafood from the sea, the combinations are endless.  But the simplicity of this traditional Paella de Mariscos was excellent.

Paella that we made in our cooking class in Barcelona when we attended TBEX Costa Brava in 2015

We finished our meal with Crema Catalan.  For many, you will be more familiar with its French cousin the crème brûlée.  Many regions claim to be the creator of this dessert although crema Catalan is registered in Catalan cookbooks dating from the 11th century.  The mixture of milk, egg yolks and sugar is divine.   This has to be one of my most favourite desserts of all time and worth taking a cooking class in Barcelona to learn how to make this right! My daughter even had the opportunity to learn how to brown the tops with a Chef’s torch.

Crema Catalan at bcnKitchen Spanish Cooking Class Barcelona Spain #TBEX

@lauren_patii being taught by Chef Alvaro on how to prepare Crema Catalan. Many thanks to @visitbarcelona #TurismeBarcelona and @bcnkitchen #TBEX for the fantastic cooking class. #travel #tourism #instatravel #Spain #Barcelona #culinary #culture #food #foodporn #foodie

A video posted by Margarita Ibbott (@downshiftingpro) on

Travel Bloggers hard at work in the bcnKitchen Spanish Cooking Class Barcelona Spain #TBEX

The Deets:

2015-05-05 10.34.56
Try a cooking class in Barcelona when you visit Spain

bcnKITCHEN has two locations in Barcelona.  Both are located near fresh food markets.  The one we attended was in El Born district.  Although this was a very traditional meal, you can also sign up for classes on how to make tapas, paella and rice dishes as well as dishes from other countries (Japanese and Thai).  Be sure and try taking a cooking class in Barcelona it was wonderful experience.

bcnKITCHEN – El Born
Fusina 15, El Born
08003 Barcelona    Tlf.93 268 12 53


bcnKITCHEN – La Boquería
Rambla, 91 La Boqueria Market (Administrative Building , 3rd floor)
08001 Barcelona    Tlf.93 268 12 53


Cooking classes in Barcelona are held in both English (for two different workshops) and Spanish (for more specialized classes).  You can check out their calendar to see if there is a class running when you are visiting.  The workshop fees range from 50€ – 190€.  Our class was 65€ including a market visit, cooking lessons, recipes to take home, some lovely local wine and a full meal.  Can’t beat that for such a wonderful experience!  Be sure and connect with them online:

Disclosure: As a guest of Barcelona Turisme, I had the opportunity to spend some time with the chef of bcnKITCHEN for this cooking class in Barcelona. I would like to thank them and the organizer of TBEX for creating this truly unique experience.

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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for DownshiftingPRO.com and other online media outlets.

100 thoughts on “Full Food Experience: Try 1 Cooking Class in Barcelona, Spain with @bcnKITCHEN #TBEX”

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    • Like I said, it may not have been something I would have thought of doing in the past but I will certainly consider this when I am on other trips. It was so fun.

  4. Taking a cooking class while on vacation never occurred to me, but I will surely remember this. My visit to Barcelona was exciting and a lot of fun, but your class seemed to be even more fun. Thanks for sharing.

    • Cheri. It was.so.much.fun. I am a ‘reluctant’ cook at best so to have great wine, great food and great company just made the ‘chore’ of cooking easier.

  5. What an incredible experience. It would be so much fun to taking a cooking class. I have to admit I would have never thought of that. What a great idea! Love your post!

    • I know, right? It was part of a fam trip and the theme was Barcelona experiences that someone from Barcelona would do. It was a great idea. Wait until you read my post on making mosaic picture frames.

  6. Wow sounds awesome. Not something I had ever thought of but sounds like it would be fun. Food is such a part of all cultures it would be exciting to have such an experience.

    • I think we have all heard of Paella and tapas but to learn how to make them in the city/region/country where they originated… that is a world-class experience. Do try it if you are ever in Barcelona.

  7. What an awesome experience and what better way to get a feel of the culture of the city in which your are visiting! I have never thought of doing that. And the meal looks so good.

    • The meal was so good. The soup and appetizers were not complex. Something you could easily make. The paella was more complex but doable. It was great fun. You should try this if you are ever in Barcelona.

  8. Travel is a passion, cooking, not so much. But I desperately want to take a cooking class. In fact, I’d love to enroll in a course sometime. I’m pretty sure I don’t like cooking due to the fact that I was never truly trained. I was taught to boil water for pasta, but not much else.
    Thank you for the virtual tour.

    • Katy, I always say am a a reluctant cook. My dad was a real Chef so there was never any real need to learn how to cook. My dad always did it. So I have never been that keen. That being said, this cooking class was a lot of fun and I would recommend it to anyone.

  9. I’m hoping to go to Spain soon, and this looks like a must do! When we were in Florence, we did a wine and dine night in Tuscany and it was one of my favorite things. Thanks for sharing!

    • Kelsie: I would love to learn more about your Wine and Dine night in Tuscany. If you wrote a post about it, please put the URL in a reply so I can read it. Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment.

    • Yes, it is not one of my fortes either. I truly love to eat but cooking it… not so much. The thing is when you have someone that will guide you through this whole process and feeds you wine and food… well, its so much fun!

    • You know Spain had to be one of the friendliest, easy to get around and fun countries that I have ever visited. Never say never. One day you might just find yourself in Spain.

  10. I love to cook! While many in my family think I could open a restaurant or a cooking school, I believe I need to sit under someone who is successful at cooking so I could learn more. I wish we lived in an area where a cooking school was doable.

  11. How timely, I have been looking at taking a trip such as this and you make it look and sound like so much fun now I’m definitely going to have to start saving up money for one of these groupon tours for sure!!

  12. You had such a wonderful experience! I would love to do something like this. There are a lot of local cooking classes here that I have thought about taking, but you took it to a higher level–cooking in another country!

  13. Wow this looks like so much fun, what a great way to experience the culture of a city! You get to experience a traditional market and then learn to cook the food! Plus once you learn how you can bring that little piece of Barcelona home with you each time you make the meal at home… this is definitely something we would love to try!

  14. My husband is definitely the cook in our marriage, but I still think this looks like so much fun! I would love to give this a try. The food is almost always my favorite part of traveling, and it just makes good sense to learn how to cook traditional dishes while abroad. So fun–I hope I can experience something like this soon!

  15. I have never taken a cooking class, but it sounds like you had a fabulous experience and it would be a wonderful opportunity to have! This sounds like a great opportunity to have if we travel abroad!

  16. Ok Margarita, now you are making me hungry…lol. But yes, I have thought of taking cooking classes. I have just never followed through but now, looking at the images you posted here. I guess this is it. Count me in.

  17. I love doing off the grid stuff when traveling or visiting new places. But it never occurred to me to take a cooking class!! What a fabulous idea. And your pictures really add to your experience making it come alive for me. I am totally going to look into a cooking class for me and my daughters when we go away next summer.

  18. Wow that looks and sounds amazing. You make me want to pack my bags and take my wife to Barcelona. It sounds like you had an amazing time. Thank you for sharing such a great experience with us. Yum, now I need to get my wife to learn how to make a Paella.

  19. Everything looks so good! I would love to do something like that! You’ve given me an idea for my next trip. It would definitely be nice to take a cooking class.

  20. I’ve never considered taking a cooking class, but that looks fascinating. These days, I have to squeeze in time just to make something healthy to eat for myself and my family. 🙂

  21. What a fabulous experience! You have really inspired me to add a little more adventure in my own life.. you describe the food so well that you made me hungry. Thank you for the yummy inspiration!

  22. I’ve never taken a cooking class, but your post has made me want to! The food you made looks super yummy! You’ve inspired me to try some new dishes even if I can’t take a cooking class right now. 🙂

  23. What an amazing idea! My Hubby and I love Foodie Trips, and love to learn. I’m going to share this idea with him. 🙂 He dislike most tours and museums, this would be a great alternative!!

  24. This is so much fun! When my daughter lived in Taiwan, I got a chance to do something similar. It wasn’t really a class, but I got to join local students in the college kitchen for a class workshop. We shopped for our ingredients, then cooked our dishes. Definitely a great experience!

  25. I’m with you, I don’t think the idea of spending a day learning to cook sounds like fun when I’m on vacation, but it looks like it turned out to be a great experience. It’s always nice to try something different!

  26. I love to cook fancy meals, so this would be a fun thing to do. Although, I’m not sure I would do this on vacation, but I might be tempted to do it if there were one close to where I live.

  27. Seems like a great way to learn more about the locals.

    I like that they took you to a local grocery market. I’m sure this is something you would not have gotten from a tour bus.

  28. WOW! All the food was described so well I was hungry reading about i! I would have never thought to try out a cooking class while traveling, but you have convinced me it’s something I need to do!

  29. That is such a good idea! My DH has mentioned he thought it would be fun to take a cooking class together, but to do it on a vaca is even better. The food you prepared looks so fabulous. Such a fun experience – I must try it!

  30. I’m totally jealous, in an nice way! That looks like such an amazing experience! As someone who studied abroad (a long time ago) and used to speak Spanish well (a long time ago) but still has a heart for good Spanish food and doesn’t know how to cook it, I would love to do something like that. I’ll add it to my bucket list. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  31. This looks like such a fun adventure! I’ve never thought to sign up for a cooking class during any of my travels, but it would be a really great way to immerse myself in the local culture so I think I should add it to my to do list. 🙂 That creme brulee/Crema Catalan is almost making me drool!! XOXO, Erin

  32. What a fun experience. I’ve always wanted to take a cooking class and what a great way to learn about the food in a new country. It’s amazing that you all had a chance to go shopping and throu the entire process as an intimate group.

  33. One of the places on my bucket list is Spain. I can’t imagine how amazing it would be to win this Full Food Experience and take a Cooking Class in Barcelona, Spain with @bcnKITCHEN . Thanks so much for sharing this awesome opportunity!

  34. I never would have thought to sign up for a class while abroad! It makes total sense though since you can really immerse yourself in the culture. I would love to take a cooking class locally even! I am trying to learn new things and be a better chef!

  35. A cooking class in Spain would be a dream come true for me! I love learning how to make new dishes and learning in a different country would make it even more amazing.

  36. I have always thought that getting to know the foods of a destination are a great insight into the culture and history of the place and people. I never thought of extending that to taking a cooking class in a new destination though! How did I miss this as a good idea? Next time we take off, I am going to look into making this a part of our trip.

  37. Cooking classes are definitely fun! Coming from a family who loves to eat and cook, I learned my cooking skill from my dad and mom. I also loved attending cooking classes when I got married.

  38. That’s one thing I want for my birthday or Christmas this year, a cooking class! Mainly because I tend to cook the same recipes over and over, and am somewhat “afraid” to try new dishes because I want them to taste good the first time, haha. I can only imagine how good the gazpacho tastes.

  39. I love taking cooking classes! We have taken them in Bali, New Orleans, and Las Vegas plus some other places. I love learning local cuisine, and I have always found something new from the classes to work into our menu at home as well.

  40. I love cooking and I love taking classes, but I haven’t taken a cooking class yet. This looks great, I’d love to be able to take a class and especially one with a spain influence. It is one of my husbands favorite places to travel!

  41. What an awesome and cool experience to take a cooking class in Barcelona, Spain. I just think this a a great way for someone to be immersed the culture and history of their new environment. All you dishes look wonderful and I know if I ever get a chance to go to Spain, I will have to remember to consider a cooking class.

    • The name of the fam trip was “Barcelona for Barcelovers” So things that native Barceloners would do in their own city. Drop by more about the street art tour. Stay tuned for the mosaic frames we made. Also very cool.

    • Angie: the pictures really don’t do the food justice. I wish I had taken more as we cooked but we were in the thick of it and having so much fun. Take a class at bcnKITCHEN in Barcelona if you ever find yourself there.

  42. One of my goals is to take a cooking class abroad. I didn’t make it to TBEX Europe but I plan to go next year… I am going to NA this year. And I love paella OMG!

    • Its funny because Barcelona is all about Tapas. So getting the history behind it, learning how to make two very popular ones (tortilla & bread with tomatoes) was great. I’d love to take a class on can goods. They make awesome tapas (think olives, sardines etc). So good.

    • Amanda I’m in my 50s and this is the first time I have been to Barcelona. So it has been on my bucket list for a very long time. Well worth the wait. I hope to go back sometime.

  43. Oh my! I would love to attend a cooking class, I’m sure I could learn something. I’ve never really been taught to cook, so anything would be valuable information to me.

  44. I am SO jealous and SO happy for you! What a freaking cool experience! First, I would LOVe to go to Spain! Second I would LOVE to avoid the tourist traps and do something truly meaningful and fun and I LOVE LOVE LOVE to cook! I also LOVE a great Gazpacho and I bet it was truly amazing! What a fun post thank you!

    • Thanks… It was so much fun and it was one of the best things that we did on our trip. I’m a reluctant cook so having some help and seeing how easy some of these dishes were was the best.

  45. I’ve always wanted to take a cooking class, in fact, it’s on my 25 before 25 bucket list! These dishes all look so yummy <3

  46. I love taking cooking classes. My husband and I did a wonderful one here in Boston and ended up making a wonderful meal.

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