Pimientos de Padrón: A Taste of Authentic, Awesome Tapas in Barcelona

Before his vacation in Spain, self-confessed foodie Joshua Bousel expected a full-blown cultural experience of sights, sounds, and tastes distinctively Spanish. He treated his taste buds on world-renowned Catalan cuisine, characterized by a melting pot of flavors, spices, and other quirky features. Catalan cuisine and Tapas in Barcelona is dominated by a classification of appetisers, eaten in Barcelona and other Catalan communes. One of the most recognizable tapas in this region is the Pimientos de Padron, which thoroughly captivated Bousel, as he described in his article on SeriousEats.com. 

“One of my favorites were softened and blistered Pimientos de Padrón – a small green pepper primarily grown in the Galician town of Padron. I thought they’d be something I’d have to leave in Spain, so when I saw them in the grocery last week, I got all giddy and brought some home to cook.

I was ready to give them the traditional pan-fried treatment, then thought they’d probably do just as well on the grill. Tossed lightly in olive oil then cooked over high heat, they charred and blistered in minutes. A quick sprinkle of sea salt was all they needed to finish.”

Often cooked by frying, the Pimientos de Padrón are small green peppers, about five to seven centimeters long. They are endemic to Padrón, from the Galician region of Spain, situated 22 kilometers from the Santiago de Compostela. The peppers were first cultivated in the village of Herbon, by monks residing at the Convento Franciscano monastery. The monks were believed to have brought the peppers to Padrón from their South American colonies in the 16th century; the peppers are still being grown in the area after 400 years.

Known for their distinctively fresh and salty-sweet taste, the Pimientos de Padrón have steadily worked their way to becoming one of the most mouthwatering Tapas en Barcelona specialties, as savory as the local favorites. Aside from their load of flavors, the peppers are also stacked with nutritional value unparalleled for their small size. They contain vitamins A, B1, B2, C, proteins and calcium among others, while having virtually no calories.

The Pimientos de Padrón and all other tapas can be enjoyed outside Spain, no doubt. However, there’s nothing that beats experiencing authentic tapas right in the heart of Spain itself, particularly in Barcelona. If you’re planning to spend your vacations here, check out the delightful tapas bars such as Ziryab, which serves a variety of tapas 24/7. A travel to Spain will never be truly complete without savoring the culture and the food the country’s regions have to offer.

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