Jennifer Steen Booher, Quercus Design

La Boqueria market, Barcelona

Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, la Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain, Espana, Catalonia, Catalunya, fish, market, mercado

ALERT: lots of photos of dead fish and animals ahead. Please skip this post if you are a vegetarian or squeamish.

Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, la Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain, Espana, Catalonia, Catalunya, fish, market, mercado, shellfish, clam, clams

Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria is a cavernous 19th-century Art-Nouveau-ish structure just off Las Ramblas, on a site which has been a market since the 13th century. According to Wikipedia, it has housed mainly fishmongers and butchers since at least 1826 (hence my warning at the beginning of the post.) We dashed through around 5 in the afternoon, gathering ingredients for that night’s dinner (and snapping photos while discussing menu options.) Many of the booths had already closed, but several fruit stands and a handful of butchers and fishmongers were still open.

There were butchers slicing up tripe, but we weren’t in the mood for tripe:

Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, la Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain, Espana, Catalonia, Catalunya, meat, market, mercado, butcher, shop, tripe, chopping

and none of us had any idea how to prepare a sheep’s head:

Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, la Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain, Espana, Catalonia, Catalunya, market, mercado, caps de xai, sheep's head, butcher, shop

there were one million different kinds of chile peppers:

Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, la Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain, Espana, Catalonia, Catalunya, chile, pepper, string, strand, spice, spices, market, mercado

jamón ibérico at a variety of price points (all of them quite high):

Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, la Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain, Espana, Catalonia, Catalunya, jamon, jamon iberico, ham, Spanish, Iberian, market, mercado

and an amazing array of seafood:

Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, la Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain, Espana, Catalonia, Catalunya, fish, market, mercado, fishmonger, seller, slicing, gutting, cleaning

Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, la Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain, Espana, Catalonia, Catalunya, fish, market, mercado, fishmonger, seller, slicing, gutting, cleaning

Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, la Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain, Espana, Catalonia, Catalunya, fish, market, mercado, squid, calamar, calamari

Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, la Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain, Espana, Catalonia, Catalunya, fish, market, mercado, fishmonger, seller, mussel, mussels, mejillon, musclo, Galicia

Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, la Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain, Espana, Catalonia, Catalunya, fish, market, mercado, fishmonger

In the end we decided it had been a long day and no one wanted to cook, so we bought bags full of ripe fruit (cherries, figs, peaches, and watermelon), sausages rolled in rosemary, manchego cheese, and an assortment of savory pastries that we cut up and served as tapas.

Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, la Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain, Espana, Catalonia, Catalunya, market, mercado, bakery, pastries, pasties, meat pies

Photography note: the lighting is a mix of fluorescent and incandescent, which makes color-balancing the photos a nightmare. I was rushed, so had to spend a lot of time fixing color in Lightroom. If you go, leave plenty of time so you can pay attention to the light sources! My best tip is one I picked up from one of the ten-year-old boys traveling with us – he showed me the shots he had taken on his Dad’s iPhone, all, obviously, at a ten-year-old’s eye level. He was looking right into the fishes’ mouths! I totally stole his viewpoint for some of these shots. Thanks, Gabriel!

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