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Barcelona Holiday Trip: Superstar José Andrés Eats Cake, Prefers Spanish Pasta to Italian

José Andrés is known for his innovative, Spanish-centric restaurants, like Washington, DC’s phenomenal Minibar as well as spots in Las Vegas and Beverly Hills. Here are his top picks in Barcelona, which he often visits with his family during the holidays.

Best Bakery: Pasteleria Escribà

“This is one of the greatest bakeries in the world. On January 6, they sell something called the Three Kings Cake, a kind of brioche that looks like challah bread with candied fruit. Inside, there are three figurines or coins and one dried fava bean. Whoever gets the coins or figurines are the kings, and whoever gets the bean is, well, the loser—they have to do the errands for the day, or the dishes.” escriba.es

New Catalan Cuisine: Fonda Gaig

“Carles Gaig makes some of the best modern takes on traditional Catalan food, particularly a stuffed pasta dish traditionally served on December 26 called canelones. They’re somewhat like cannelloni, but I’m sorry, no place in Italy gets close. They’re almost always stuffed with pork, sometimes with chicken, cooked with onion, sometimes a splash of brandy. The meat is finely ground and cooked very soft, to give it an incredible velvety texture. It’s always topped with béchamel and cheese.” fondagaig.com

Festive Market: La Feria de Santa Lucia

“The Christmas market at the Barcelona Cathedral sells all kinds of things for your Nativity scene. It will also give you a good idea of Catalan culture. Not that Catalans aren’t respectful—they’re typically very Catholic—but in their Nativity scene they typically have a character in a corner named Caganer doing his thing—taking a dump. It’s hard to explain, Catalans have a unique sense of humor.” en.firadesantallucia.cat

Holiday Food Shopping: Boqueria Market

“I always walk around here, only because that’s what you have to do. You’ll see all the families buying their foods for the holidays there. You’ll see how festive Christmas in Spain is, and how much importance we place on the food we eat.”

Crowd-Free Architectural Wonder: Park Güell

“This is a great place to get lost. It was designed by the architect Gaudí at the beginning of the last century, and it’s an astonishing place. Not many tourists get to it in the wintertime, so you may get lucky and have the place to yourself.”

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