Barcelona is home to Jamón ibérico and Freixenet wines

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Barcelona is a warm and friendly place where many, many people speak English. So if you’re a Chicagoan on vacation here, you’re almost  bound to feel comfortable right from the start of your visit. In this part of Spain, called Catalonia, besides English many Spaniards speak Catalan Spanish, a take on the language that includes influences from the language of nearby France. You’ll see the signs in the airport when you land—the top line in Catalan Spanish and the other in regular Spanish.
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Catalonia is known for many things including the lively beach resorts of Costa Brava, the Pyrenees mountains and the birthplace of  surrealist artist Salvador Dalí. Barcelona, the regional capital, has an ancient Gothic Quarter, La Rambla pedestrian mall, and several beaches. Check out the distinctive architecture of Antoni Gaudí in the Sagrada Família basilica, in the colorful mosaics of Park Güell, and in dozens of private and public structures around the city.
English: Houses in Park Güell designed by Anto...
English: Houses in Park Güell designed by Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain Français : Maisons à l’entrée du Parc Güell, réalisées par Antoni Gaudi, Barcelone, Espagne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But two of the biggest reasons to love Barcelona are the food and drink. Particularly notable are the many wines made by several nearby wineries operated by worldwide brand Freixenet, and also the many guises of Spanish jamón (ham) to pair with your wine. Visit the huge outdoor marketplace La Boqueria and marvel at the dozens of varieties of ham on display—from huge joints on hooks to small vacuum-sealed packages of thick or thin slices. They love their jamon so extravagantly that they eat it at breakfast, lunch and dinner and have even created a tribute in the form of a tourist attraction, Jamon Experience, where you can watch videos, taste and pair 6 different types of ham.

Your experience of Barcelona would be seriously lacking without a visit to one or more of the Freixenet wineries situated in the rolling hills surrounding Barcelona. They include Segura Viudas, Viticultors del Priorat—where dynamic winemaker Judit Llop makes Morlanda wines, Casa Sala and nearby La Freixeneda, and Freixenet—home of the world’s most well-known cava. Nearly any of these wines would make a perfect complement to a heaping plate of Jamón ibérico.

Interestingly, some citizens of Catalonia are strongly in favor of and are working towards splitting from the rest of Spain and becoming an independent country. Let’s hope, if that happens, we’ll be able to continue enjoying all of Freixenet’s wines with our Catalonian jamón.

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