By Kelly Greacen, Boston University.
Monday was the first real day of my internship at Gastronomía Activa, a company in Barcelona that puts on cooking classes, private food tours, food tastings, and the like. While I may not be any great cook, I do love to eat, so I came in with high hopes for my internship. I really love it. I work with Laura, the director of the company. She is lovely and speaks great English, which is fortunate because my Spanish is less than great. My main project for the week was to write a proposal of various gourmet food tastings and tours for a tourism agency in New York. Planning wine tastings, walking tapas tours, and pub-crawls really doesn’t feel like work, so the day flew by.
I’ve already finished my main project for the week, the proposal, so I will spend the rest of the week helping Laura with the English version of the Gastronomía Activa website, and blogging (even more blogging!) about the food events that happen every week here.
A cultural difference I’ve found is that Spanish lunch breaks are much longer than they are in the United States. I get an hour and a half for my lunch, and it’s wonderful. Switching back to work life in the U.S. will likely be a rough transition. Luckily there are tons of cafes within a stone’s throw of my workplace, so I usually spend my lunch breaks reading at a café with a sandwich and café con leche.
I finally figured out the metro system. Just in time, as my bad habit of taking cabs is about to make me broke. My internship is a bit far away from my apartment in Poble Sec, but it is not hard to take the metro from one destination to the other. I have a lot of practice with subways from living in Boston, and the Barcelona metro system seems similar to Boston’s in that it is easy to comprehend. I am very grateful that the metro here resembles Boston’s subway system, and not New York’s.
Tomorrow, Gastronomía Activa is hosting a chocolate tasting nearby, with chocolate from Venezuela, Ecuador, and Caribe. I’m not attending, but maybe I’ll get a few leftovers if I’m lucky. I tried to describe Gastronomía Activa to friends back home as “Sur la Table without the store,” but it really is much more than that. Just in the next few weeks, there is going to be a beer tasting, an artisanal cheese tasting, “hams of the world,” an Iberian ham tasting and pairing workshop, an olive tasting, a salt tasting, a workshop for smoked and salted products, an olive oil tasting, a coffee tasting, and an exotic fruits tasting and workshop. Just listing it all is exhausting, and that’s only the tastings. There are also a variety of cooking classes, pairing workshops, and group events. You can have a chef-led paella making contest with your coworkers as an office outing, or attend a class on how to make sushi. I feel like I really lucked out with this internship, and I’ll certainly be eating well.