05.2015collected: 05.2015

Collected in... Barcelona


Best thing about the past month? Spending a couple of sunny days in Barcelona to celebrate my birthday. My last visit to BCN was 10 years or so ago and I couldn't wait to go back to  the vibrant Spanish city that made a lasting impression on me...
My birthday bash in Barcelona turned out pretty perfect - a superb mix of shopping, eating good food, relaxing and having a laugh. Here are my top tips for your stay:

Discover/ On my last visit to the city I checked out all the touristic highlights - Gaudi's  architectural marvels, the old city centre with its winding streets and the hip area of El RavalThis time round I wanted to spent some time in the area around Barceloneta beach.   The spectacular W hotel is a beacon in the area - standing proud among the beach bars at it's feet. Relax and enjoy the sunshine at Pez Vela or hang out in the Wet bar of the W hotel.  Feeling sporty?Rent a bike and spin along the seaside promenade. 

Drink/A strong cup of coffee at the Federal Café, cocktails and tapas on the terrace of Bar Lobo, chocolate milk at Cacao Sampaka or indulge in some sweet and traditional 'crema catalana' in old-school milk bar Granja M. Viader.  

Eat/ I love burgers and fries, so for my birthday dinner we went to Oval in the Eixample area. At this cool burger bar you can pick your choice of bun, meat, garments and dressing on an ordering sheet. Best Birthday Burger Ever! And I also really enjoyed their G&T cocktail infused with roses... Another nice restaurant is Garriga - this charming eatery serves delicious home cooking, nice wines and delicatessen in a romantic atmosphere. Looking for a quick bite? Check out one of my favourite places: the Woki Organic Market. In this organic restaurant and supermarket you can eat 100% bio. Pasta, burgers, woks, salads and even breakfast - all can be ordered as take away or eaten at the spot. Woki has restaurants all over town, so there's sure to be one near you...

Buy/ Perfect donuts, macarons and chocolates at Chök and cute kids wear at Tiny Cottons. Spoil yourself with beautiful clothes and delicate jewelry from Le Fortune.

Stay/ Ever since I saw some pictures of the big terrace and airy rooms of the Praktik Rambla, this hotel near the Passeig de Gracia was top of my list. The hotel has the perfect location, boasts beautiful rooms full of detail (loved the green tiling in the bathroom!) and has a sunny patio at the back with lounge chairs and wicker sofas to relax after a day in the bustling city. On my next visit to Barcelona I'll definitely stay in one of the Praktik hotels again - perhaps the Praktik Garden hotel? Or maybe I'll give brand new hotel Brummell a try? Can't wait to go back...

De helden van het echte eten*


*the heroes of real food

Last week I was invited to the book launch of 'De helden van het echte eten'. A book about good, tasty and honest food made by artisans with a passion for their product. Not a cookbook - although there are some great recipes in there - but a collection of 20 portraits. This unique book tells the story of farmers, butchers, cheesemakers, bakers and others that are working ceaselessly to perfect their produce. A labour of love...

The book was written by Barbara, Jo and Mayken from Alle Dagen Honger, the team behind an inspiring food blog that also organises Antwerp food festival Krachtvoer. The portraits are accompanied by beautiful pictures by Senne Van der Ven en Eefje De Coninckan intimate glimpse into the lifes of the 20 artisans that speak so passionately about their product. Sausages, sourdough bread, butter, apple juice... - 'De helden van het echte eten' challenges you to consider what kind of food you want to eat. I'm thinking about taking a road trip to sample all the delicious food from the book... 

De helden van het echte eten, uitgeverij Luster

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