La Boqueria: The Best Fresh Products Market in the World

We recently learned that the US Cable News Network (CNN) had sent some of their journalists to visit one of our wonderful markets in Barcelona.

Like thousands of other people every day, journalists strolled through the more than 300 stalls of fruit, meat and charcuterie, fish, dry fruit and even a countless of fresh and top quality products at the market of Sant Josep, known worldwide such as la Boqueria.

In the middle of the bustle of las Ramblas by the House of Umbrellas (Casa dels paraigües) lays the best market in the world. And so they cataloged it very recently in the CNN world ranking of best markets of fresh products.

According to the top list, to which you can have a look at the following link to the official website CNN LIST 10 BEST MARKETS IN THE WORLD, Barcelona leads a list with other major markets of fresh products from Japan, New York, Thailand and more countries of the world.

Of uncertain origin, two facts are known for certain: that Boqueria was inaugurated in 1840 and that it already existed as an open-air market since at least 1217. Perhaps a little doubtful this science, but what we do know is that la Boqueria market happens to be one of the oldest in the world that is still active.

It started as a street market on the Ramblas very close to where it is today. At first only meat was sold on tables, but soon the fresh seasonal products of the local peasants and from the surroundings were added. A whole social event, so much so that the Ramblas began to be crowded and the city was gathered around.

From its inauguration, la Boqueria settled down in the Ramblas. In 1911 and during the later years the fishery area was inaugurated in the center and supported by its structure, the emblematic metallic roof. It suffered more improvements with the years where whole stalls were renewed. Even last February the media informed of future changes to expand transit areas and reorganize the place.

The big question: Why is it called the Boqueria?

It is incorrect to say that the origin of the word “boqueria” (without accent in Catalan) is related to the Count of Barcelona Ramon Berenguer IV. The word would identify the place where all those who arrived at the city wall and contemplated the treasures of the count were left boquiabierto (literally open-mouthed, amazed).

However, there is a second theory. The most accepted version says that in fact the name of the Boqueria corresponds to the meat of kid (boc in Catalan), that was sold by the Jewish community already in the thirteenth century.

What can we find in la Boqueria? 

At present, the more than 300 stands of fresh products are cataloged by colors and there are up to 17 colors. On the official website, you will find a color map with its detailed legend.

Yellow for poultry, game and eggs. Thirty-four different fresh food professionals identify their stalls with a cardboard in yellow color equal for all. Similarly, it happens with the bars and restaurants, the charcuterie, the seafood, vegetables and cereals and another twelve more.

Although for many people the CNN list with markets of fresh products as important as the one of fish in Tokyo and the one of farmers in New York may has not been necessary to realize the quality offered in the Boqueria, from Hotel Continenta Barcelona and Hotel Continental Palacete, both located at barely 5 minutes away of the market, we wanted to add our tiny grain of sand to perpetuate the Sant Josep of la Boqueria market as the best market in the world.

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