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For a culinary adventure, head to Barcelona | 02-09-2015

If you are the type who lives to eat, rather than eats to live, then head to Barcelona

The Catalan capital is so fiercely proud of its cuisine and abundance of Med-fresh seafood that virtually every social occasion, whether it be after-work hobnobbing or Sundays with the family, centres on food. Even lunch breaks allot two hours to the relaxed art of eating.

So there are few better ways to explore this buzzy, blue-skied bombshell than with the leisurely gratification of your appetite. The neat little tapa makes multiple snack stops all the more manageable.

"All sorrows are less with bread" is the Cervantes adage that springs to mind when you slip into the warm, fragrant fold of Hotel Praktik Bakery.

Lázaro Rosa Violan's paean to the humble panadería provides snug, balconied, wired-up rooms and a pervasive aroma of fresh-baked bread wending its way up from the Baluard Bakery in the lobby.

Paleo purists, however, may prefer the new Brummell Hotel overlooking Montjuïc park in delightful under-the-radar neighbourhood Poble Sec.

A classic 1870s facade gives way to polished concrete, airy communal areas, pared-back rooms, a rooftop with lap pool and swoony city views, plus Aussie Damien Borger's rave-reviewed, health-conscious diner, The Box Social.

What's more, the barrio is host to La Ruta del Poble Sec, a weekly jovial walk that takes in a dozen participating eateries every Thursday night.

Although we would advise avoiding the tourist swamp La Rambla, there are few things lovelier than starting your day with the wizened Barcelonians at Bar Pinotxo in the iconic Mercat de La Boqueria.

Pull up a pew early (and don't be afraid to holler) for a sweet, punchy glass of coffee, a generous wedge of tortilla and garlicky toast topped with an unfathomably juicy mound of chopped tomatoes.

If you want to counter some of this calorific abandon, you're in one of Europe's most bike-friendly cities, so there's really no excuse not to get pedaling.

Bike Rental Barcelona wheels out a fabulous choice of cycles. With hotel drop-off and pick-up, it's an easy and efficient way to take in the beach and mind-boggling architecture.

If 'helmet hair' is not your thing, join the sartorial savants at Antiques & Boutiques for tailor-made itineraries that lift the mantilla on vintage, artisan and epicurean shopping secrets.

When surrounded by such glorious dining, you're most likely tempted to take a few edible souvenirs home with you. Naughty Vicens in Eixample has been luring sweet tooths with artisan nougat since 1775.

Further down Passeig de Gracia in the beautifully crumbly Barri Gòtic, you'll find Orolíquido dripping with olive products, and the place to go for farmhouse cheese, Formatgeria la Seu.

Of course, shopping and eating your way around town is all very well, but should you wish to continue your Iberian culinary adventure at home, Cook & Taste offers private or group cooking classes, covering all the classics from paella to gazpacho.

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