a Taste of | el Born Center

A former food market with a spectacular structure. A restaurant to taste historical Catalan dishes. An archaeological site to witness the city’s past. This is el Born CCM – a center for culture and memory, in the heart of one of the trendiest areas of Barcelona: el Born.


The market of el Born opened in 1876 and was the first large-scale cast-iron building to be erected in Barcelona. It fulfilled its role as a market for 95 years, first being the local market for the neighborhood, and, since 1921, becoming Barcelona’s main wholesale market for fruit and vegetables.

El Born CCM as seen from Passeig de Picasso

In 1971, the market was closed as an archaeological site, revealing traces of demarcations of the streets and houses of Barcelona of the 1700 s, was found in the subsoil. In 2013, the place opened its doors as el Born Cultural and Memory Center, revealing its completely restored structure and finishes, as well as the underground ruins, witnesses of the consequences of the Siege of Barcelona (1714) during the Spanish Civil War. The 8,000 sqm surface of the space now includes exhibition and event spaces, a library and a gastronomic space.


the Gastronomic Space:

el 300 del Born


The restaurant within the cultural center, El 300 del Born, has a lovely view towards the ruins and also recalls the historical atmosphere of the market through large, back lighted prints.

Why el 300? To emphasize its opening exactly 300 years after the siege of Barcelona that ended, on September 11, 1714, with the capitulation of the city, thus with the abolition of all Catalan laws and institutions.

El 300 del Born

The menu is focused upon the regain and update of the traditional Catalan dishes. It is inspired from history, as well as legends, and includes features of market kitchen, to recall the anterior use of the space – all of the dishes with a slightly contemporary touch from chef Jordi Vilà. For now, we only select 3 of them.


Bombes

Bombes de la Barceloneta is, by excellence, the tapa of the city. The name indeed translates into the bombs of Barceloneta, the neighborhood of Barceloneta being the place of birth of the recipe.

The menu: Bombas


Coca de recapte

A typical Catalan pastry, to be found in the areas of Gerona, Barcelona, Tarragona and Lleida, coca de recapte consists of a dough mixed with escalivada (oven-baked peppers and eggplants) to which any ingredient can be added. The traditional ones are sardines, herrings or butifarra, even though today you might find them with tuna, onion, olives, or tomatoes.

Due to its similarity to pizza, it is supposed that the origins of this plate date back to the Roman era of the Iberian peninsula.

The Menu: Coca de recapte


Esqueixada

A mix of shredded salt cod, tomatoes, onions, olive oil and vinegar, salt and, sometimes, with a garnish of olives or hard-boiled eggs, esqueixada is often described as the Catalan ceviche because it is made with raw fish in a marinade (even though the fish is salt-cured and dry). The name of the dish comes from the Catalan verb esqueixar, to tear or shred. The salt cod in the dish is always shredded with the fingers, never sliced or chopped, to achieve the correct texture.

The Menu: Esqueixada


the Interior

Memories of the Market

Besides the ruins in the center, the interior is filled with images depicting the history of the market of el Born. The exhibitions are part of the continuously updated archive of the Memory Center, including photos, documents and objects, as well as press coverage and interviews with people from the neighborhood.

Exhibition of the Market's Past
The unstoppable growth of wholesale trade created serious congestion problems around La Boqueria and it was decided to move the fruit and vegetable wholesalers to El Born. It was intended to be a temporary solution, but they stayed there from 1921 to 1971 – a period of rapid growth for Barcelona, which went from having 700,000 to 1,700,000 inhabitants. As Barcelona’s central market, it had a surprising vitality that formed an essential part of city life, drawing people from all around and leaving a strong impression on the collective memory. Records which have been widely shared and a huge collection of photographs have turned it into one of Barcelona’s most singular memorial centers.
Side Entrance of CCM
Designed in 1871 by architect Josep Fontseré i Mestres and built between the years 1874 to 1878 under his leadership, the building consisted of two large ships, united in their intersection by a set of domes and four smaller ships. The new concept of structure of iron and glass looks, but with some modern touches, surmounted by a dome that intersects the two main buildings and provided the Ribera neighborhood a monumental building that became a symbol. The metal structure is supported with cast iron columns and covered with glazed flat tile, supported and sustained over a brick wall and stone base. On the brick wall and between the metal pillars unfolds a wall of glass slats allowing ventilation and natural light inside the building. This market and San Antonio are the two most successful examples of iron architecture in Catalonia. The distribution of the ships and weightlessness that provide the combination of iron with glass, give the market Inside dimensions unique architectural grandeur.

 

 

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