This holiday season, when thinking of what to gift your family and friends, look no further than your own backyard. Barcelona is home to innovative designers, local brands and talented craftspeople who have something for everyone on your nice list. And gifts made in Barcelona or inspired by the city’s rich cultural heritage are all the more special to your loved ones—missing you, and a bit jealous of your Mediterranean lifestyle—back home.
1. Olive oil from La Chinata. Àngels 20.
The history of La Chinata begins in 1932, when the owners’ ancestors first started to grind the olives from the Sierra de Gata region into ‘liquid gold’. Today, using more modern methods of crushing and pressing, they can extract more oil from their groves, in a clean and controlled manner to guarantee the quality of their extra virgin olive oil. From classic olive oil to those packing a bit more punch (flavoured with lemon, guindilla pepper, basil or garlic, for example), the options are endless for treating the head chef of your family to Spain’s favourite ingredient.
2. Leather bag from Lupo Barcelona. Pg. de Gràcia 124.
Since 1920, Lupo Barcelona has built a beloved brand, merging tradition and cosmopolitan modernity, in the city that gave it its name. Influenced greatly by Gaudí design guidelines, Lupo conceives each of its leather creations in an effort to make them functional, organic structures from the inside out. It sells products for women and men, and even has a customisable backpack design for kids, but its most iconic bag is the ‘Abanico’, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
3. Coasters from Mesa Bonita. Gayarre 2.
Bénédicte Bodard, owner of Mesa Bonita, relocated to Barcelona in 2001, when the real estate market was booming and everyone was renovating their apartments. It was out with the old and in with the new, and Bénédicte, taking notice of discarded gems amongst the debris, found her calling. She began dumpster diving for Modernista hydraulic floor tiles and giving them new life. When she discovers new tiles, she has to chisel up to three inches of chunky, hardened cement from the backs by hand, restore the fronts and return them to their natural beauty. Once the tiles are cleaned up, Bénédicte uses them in tables of all sizes, nightstands, plant stands, frames and coasters. You’ll be hard pressed to find any other decor pieces as original to Barcelona—luckily the coasters are just the right size to ship abroad.
4. Cookbook by Joan Roca i Fontané.
In Roots. Essential Catalan Cuisine According to El Celler de Can Roca, Joan Roca, at the head of the celebrated restaurant El Celler de Can Roca, introduces a selection of traditional Catalan recipes from among those his mother, Montserrat, has always prepared at the Can Roca restaurant in Girona, where he began his professional training. Presented in a straightforward manner, even the most inexperienced cook can master one or all of the 120+ recipes in this book, from the fried calamari to the delicious crema catalana, as well as the festival cannelloni and the fish suquet.
5. Turrón from Torrons Vicens. Petritxol 15.
Firstly, turrón is a very old, traditional confection of Moorish origin, typically made of honey, sugar and egg white, with toasted almonds or other nuts, and usually shaped into a rectangular tablet. Torrons Vicens is a family-run company with a long nougat history. From generation to generation, it has maintained the same high standard of production, and, under the management of entrepreneurs Àngel Velasco and his son Àngel Velasco Herrero, has grown from one shop in the ancient village of Lleida to 30 stores in total. Torrons Vicens’ flavours are endless, and you’re sure to find something to delight any sweet tooths in your family.
6. Game from JugarXJugar. Avda. de Gaudí 39.
El Nan Casteller is a set of wood building blocks, which when pieced together, form a castell, or human tower. A unique expression of Catalan history and identity, castells have long been a fixture at festivals throughout the region, but recently they’ve been cropping up in other iconic locations throughout Western Europe—in front of London’s Tower Bridge, Paris’ Eiffel Tower and more. Now the toddlers you know can build their own human towers, without the risk.
7. Bow tie from La Pajarería Condal. Ramón y Cajal 49.
Alejandro and Ana Álvarez, the brother and sister team behind bespoke bow tie shop La Pajarería Condal, know their stuff. Designer Alejandro has been putting his unique touch on the classic British garment since 2009, and when the duo opened their brick and mortar in Gràcia less than a year ago, it became the first in Barcelona solely dedicated to the bow tie. Fabrics are handpicked from Italy and each bow tie, whether silk, patterned or pleated, is finished by hand in Alejandro’s studio behind the store.
8. Sunglasses from Northweek.
Founded as a small startup in May 2013, Northweek has amassed a huge fan base over the years. Barcelona students Alex Huertas and Hector Rey created the brand with the aim of allowing consumers to design their own sunglasses. To this day, it offers customisable sunglasses in trendy fashion styles, an exploration of colour and form that can’t be found anywhere else. Pre-designed sunglasses range from €20-€35 online, but you can also custom-make a pair to please the biggest hipster in your clan.
9. Soft animal from Softheads. Lledó 11.
Softheads: “The idea consists of creating objects which put a pacifistic and humorous spin on the once fashionable practice of displaying taxidermic hunting trophies.” Whether you prefer a bulldog with a monocle, a plaid deer or fly fox, there are a number of animal varieties to mount on the wall for an added touch of aesthetic delight in any home. All pieces are textile-based, soft, handmade and locally produced, and Softheads ships around the world.
10. Jewellry from Nylon Sky.
Born out of a love for architecture and graphic form, Nylon Sky is originally from the UK, but is now based in Barcelona. The brand began creating statement jewellery in 2011 and has been developing its signature style ever since, combining modern technology with hand-finishing techniques. Offering distinctive necklaces, earrings and rings, and even cufflinks for men, you’re bound to find an accessory for your fashion-forward loved ones.
We hope these Barcelona-made gift ideas help you spread holiday cheer near and far.