Caravela Gourmet - Barcelona
***This establishment is now closed***
Adamastor, the Greek-type mythological character famed by the Portuguese poet Luís de Camões in his epic poem 'Os Lusíadas', is a symbol of the forces of nature Portuguese navigators had to overcome during their discoveries. This is the metaphor best used to describe the challenges met with opening Caravela Gourmet. The owners Hugo Rodrigues Madeira and his partner Alexandra Pinto opened a Portuguese enterprise in the heart of trendy neighbourhood Sant Antoni in Barcelona. Being lovers of everything from Portugal, we had the honour to shoot and frame Caravela Gourmet.
This place is a gem with wine and delicatessen for sophisticated palates. On July 9th, 2014 the inauguration was celebrated with lovers of gourmet food, fine wines and eternal talkers getting to know the owners and their love for what they do. It is no secret that this hot spot is the new meeting point of reference for not only the Portuguese residents in Barcelona, but of people who want to enjoy something a little different and still have a feel of home.
The original dual space has its own hallmark, with some leftover pieces from the last business which was a car parts store. Interior designer Andrea Soto helped bridge the gap between both elements and the results are fantastic! The recycled shelves contain a multitude of products from Portugal. In them, you will find famous port wines, coffee from the Delta brand, different cans of Minerva, patés, Moscatel de Setubal and craft beers internationally hand-picked.
The owner Hugo Rodrigues has a loving passion for the wine culture and shows great interest in explaining the wines and gourmet products that can be found here. The Douro Valley, where wine has been produced for more than 2000 years, is also the first demarcated region in the world, where the famous port wine is produced. Hugo says to be proud of this region with so much history and richness of aromas, flavours and textures. He also sells wines that are a great appeal, such is the case of Vinho Verde, dry, harmonious with a refreshing acidity, lovely fruity Palmela, and silky or perfumed Tinto Alentejo. For regional Catalan wine, Hugo likes the Monsant and the central area, Priorat, which share some characteristics with the Douro Valley, such as the soil and land slate. He also has cava from Subirats, an iconic area for sparkling productions. When in doubt, feel free to contact Hugo and he can help you choose which wine is best for different occasions.
The first part of the premises has a bar and a few tables to comfortably enjoy a drink and appetisers. For bigger reserves, there is a long table in the back where the bodega (wine cellar) serenades the walls with bottles from both Portugal and the Spanish region of Catalonia.
For first timers, we recommend trying the Vinho Verde (sparking wine) produced by Quinta da Ventozela, this sweet and refreshing drink has its roots around the Douro river. We have tried their assortment of cheeses, the Azeitão cheese being our favourite accompanied with Quinta de Jugais jams and crackers. Some of the flavours of the jams were apple, raisins and pumpkin with nuts. They are from the Serra da Estrela region, with only natural sugars from the fruit themselves and very flavourful.
We have also tried their sardine snacks in three different flavours; lemon, mixed herb and almond crumbles. To accompany this treat we decided to go with the Kopke 10-year-old Tawny Port, a firm style of wine from the oldest Port producer. Saving the best for last we tried their table side grilled chouriço (heavily seasoned and grilled sausage). The sausage was best accompanied with rustic bread.
For the more adventurous palates, Caravela Gourmet present preserved traditional Portuguese dishes like confit of codfish, turnip sprouts, beef tongue and pork. They also have game meat patés as boar and deer. The rissóis de camarão is a really good option for a snack, it is a soft dough dumpling stuffed with shrimp and clam chowder.
The idea of Caravela Gourmet is to mingle with a fine glass of wine, have a snack and to learn more about the Portuguese culture. It isn't a coincidence that many books on Portugal can be found on some of the tables and the walls are serenaded with works of art for their rotary exhibitions. Every Wednesday they hold a 'happy hour' from 18h to 21h, which is perfect for those that live further away from the district or for those working until late hours of the day.
We absolutely love the concept as it reminds us of our excursions through Portugal. We have a soft spot for Portugal and going to Caravela Gourmet reminds us of all of the reasons why.