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It can all be a little overwhelming, the city may not be huge but the culture, activities, events, eateries etc. is vast. So we have taken it upon ourselves to amalgamate our local 12 years experience in the city via our blog. Whether you are planning on coming over for the festivals, want to find out vegan eats or general insider information, we will keep you in the loop.
What’s there to nosh in Barcelona? A guide to kosher food
Keeping Kosher while on holiday in Barcelona, is challenging, but not impossible. It’s true to say that Barcelona isn’t traditionally famed for its prolific Jewish population, but things are changing.
Five centuries of persecution followed the expulsion and conversion of Spain’s Jews during the 1492 Inquisition initiated by the Spanish King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.
Thankfully, today, Spanish Jewry is undergoing a revival, family trees are being investigated and the notion of being a Spanish Jew is finally becoming acceptable and even, admirable.
The Main Synagogue of Barcelona (Sinagoga Mayor de Barcelona) on C/Marlet, 5 was built in the 1300s and is not only the oldest in Spain but in all of Europe.Re-opened to the public in 2002, visitors are only allowed into the subterranean level. This precious piece of history is even more valuable, when you consider that following the decline of the Jewish population in Barcelona, the synagogue became virtually forgotten, and was converted into a dry-cleaner, and then an electrical supplies warehouse.
For years the space lay unnoticed until 1995, when the Call Association of Barcelona discovered it had been a Jewish temple. Steps were taken to ensure its restoration and later, excavations revealed the remains of Roman walls underneath the synagogue floor. The ruins date back to the reign of the Emperor Caracalla around the 12th century. Nowadays, the ruins are protected by a glass surface, which allows visitors to walk around above them.
Beyond this there are few remnants of the ‘Call’ or Jewish area in the old city, except for the name of a narrow street – Calle de Call – a small plaque on the wall alluding to a 1391 synagogue.
Nowadays, The Communidad de Israelite of Barcelona (CIB) is a small building that houses a Talmud Torah, synagogue, mikveh, café and recreation area and serves the 4,000 or so Jews in Barcelona.
For Jewish visitors to Barcelona the CIB’s web page details religious services, the opening and closing times of the Sabbath and various community events (although the page is in Spanish and Catalan) www.cibonline.org
ATID, the city’s progressive community opened in the 90s, to help local Jews rediscover their roots and Jewish identity, and offers religious services, youth activities, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Hebrew and historical education. It also helps immigrant Jews settle into the city. (www.atid.es)
Whilst there is no strictly kosher restaurant in the city, El Corte Ingles on Avenida Diagonal 167 has a wide range of strictly (Glatt) Kosher products, including meat, wine and confectionary.A home delivery service is offered. Kosher meals can also be ordered for collection through the Chabad synagogue, 2 days in advance and paid for by credit card. Chabad and Glatt kosher cuisine can be ordered and includes: Sephardi, Ashkenazi, meat, vegetarian and Pareve dishes:
Shul of Chabad of Barcelona
(Centro de Estudios Judaicos Jabad Lubavitch Barcelona)
Joan Gamper 27, Bajos – 08014 Barcelona, España
Tel: (+34) 93 410 06 85
or: Mrs. Libershhn
Tel: 34 93 439 99 34, or 34 607 922 805.
Thankfully, Barcelona also has a wide selection of vegan restaurants and stores, and a complete list of vegan resources for the city can be found here: www.sincarne.net/barcelona-vegan-restaurants
If you fancy a quick, meat-free snack on the go, The Maoz falafel chain, has three outlets in the city centre (C/ Ferran, 13, : C/ Jaume I, 17, La Rambla, 95,. The owners are Israeli and offer a hearty selection of salads, humus, zug, tahina and the Yiddisher staple – pickles!
Opening hours are Sun-Thu 11am-2am, Fri-Sat 11am-3am.
To get a real feel of Jewish life in Catalonia, visit the medieval city of Gerona, an hour and 15 minutes north of Barcelona, which makes for a great cultural day trip. Although few Jews still live in Gerona, it is the site of the Nahmanides Foundation and houses a small Jewish museum.
The Museum of the History of the Jews is located in the oldest part of Gerona and houses a permanent exhibition about the Jews of Catalonia in the Centre Bonastruc ca Porta, as well as the Nahmanides Foundation, a document and research center dedicated to Jewish heritage that also houses the Eliezer Eljanan Schalt Library.
The Centre Bonastruc is the last known synagogue built in Spain, in the middle of the 15th Century. A few miles from Gerona is the picturesque town of Besalu, where you can find one of three mikvehs left in Europe.
For further info on Jewish Gerona: http://www.kosherdelight.com/SpainGirona.htm
Frequent trains from Barcelona to Gerona are offered by www.renfe.es.
Hi. I found a take away food store, that makes some kosher food. Really good!!! They are La Massa in Montsió Street near the Laietana Avenue. My flat was in Amargos Pass. We ate there for 8 days. Magnifique.
We ate the best Taboulé and Apfelstreussel that you´ll never forget, good salads an Goulash soup.
May 2nd, 2010 at 20:49, posted by steve
I visited three kosher restaurants over three successive nights and wrote about them all here – http://guiltyfeat.com/2014/03/03/yo-yo-yiggity-yo/
March 3rd, 2014 at 11:58, posted by GuiltyFeat