The 4 Best Food Souvenirs to Bring Home from Barcelona

Your culinary journey doesn't have to end when your vacation does

Catalan's capital is a veritable food playground, with meats and cheeses bursting out of every street stall, tapas bar and marketplace. That jamón you've been eating all week will have to remain in Spain (it's against United States' Customs laws to bring meat into the country), but thankfully, there are plenty of delectable items from Barcelona that are just as worthy of space in your suitcase and legally transportable across borders.

Salsa Espinaler

Salsa Espinaler is a tangy, peppery vinegar sauce that Catalans love to pour over seafood (canned or fresh) and other tapas. It's also excellent drizzled over potato chips. Miquel Riera i Prat opened the Espinaler tavern in 1896 just north of Barcelona on the water, and in 1952, the sauce was invented by his grandson's wife, Ventureta Roldós. They eventually began bottling it, and today, the company is run by the fifth generation of the original family. The tavern—and the sauce—remain Catalan institutions.

Nuts

Marcona almonds are a Spanish breed of almond that's fatter, wetter and sweeter than the California variety. You can find them in the U.S., but they're pricier and not as fresh as those you can get in Barcelona. For Marconas and more, head to Casa Gispert, one of the oldest food stores in Barcelona. The family-owned shop roasts nuts in a 167-year-old wood-burning oven, which adds a distinctive smokiness. They use evergreen oak wood to roast almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, peanuts, macadamia nuts and cashews, following the same process for more than a century. The shop also carries other specialty items like saffron, olive oils, nougats and jams.

Canned Seafood

American tuna fish has ruined the idea of canned seafood for many, but try not to let that prevent you from stocking up on some of Barcelona's supremely gourmet tinned seafood. Head to La Ribera for items like ventresca and bonito del norte tuna, berberechos (cockles), octopus, mussels, squid in ink, sea urchins, razor shell clams, anchovies, and sardines, all of which come preserved in various delicious oils and sauces. And, of course, a few splashes of Salsa Espinaler on your fish are a must.

Pimenton

Pimenton is smoked paprika, made from slowly smoking peppers over an open flame, which imparts a deep, smoky flavor. It comes in three varieties: dulce, which is sweet and mild; agridulce, which is semi-spicy; and picante, which is the spiciest. Agridulce, in particular, can be hard to find in the U.S. at a reasonable price, so if you're bringing home only one variety, that's your best bet.

Devorah Lev-Tov is a contributing writer for Tasting Table who travels the globe—and traverses NYC block by block—in search of her next amazing meal. See her latest adventures on her Instagram at @devoltv.