Casa Gispert: go shopping in 19th Century Barcelona!
Article updated 10 May, 2017.
If you're of a nostalgic frame of mind, you'll love Casa Gispert, a nut sellers' shop in the Born where almost nothing has changed in the last 150 years.
Prepare to take a gigantic leap in time! Casa Gispert, an institution in its own right, is a magical shop which will take you on a multisensory voyage into the past.
Casa Gispert: a step back in time
Our story begins in 1851, when Josep Gispert founded Casa Gispert for his two sons, a stone’s throw away from the church of Santa Maria del Mar in the heart of the Born quarter.
At the outset, the shop sold and promoted a range of products imported from the American colonies, including coffee, tea, spices and saffron, under the Sabor label.
Later, the Gispert family decided to specialise in roasting coffee and nuts: evidently, the decision was a wise one, as the Gispert story continues to this day!
Whilst the shop no longer belongs to the Gispert family, the current owners have been careful to retain the original style and uphold the quality of the store and its products.
Casa Gispert: the sweet scent of nostalgia
There’s a definite vintage feel to Casa Gispert, and it’s hard not to let your imagination run away with you. What, you might wonder, were the original employees and clients wearing as they went about their business in 1851? What sort of people came to the shop to stock up on coffee and nuts? What were they intending to make with their purchases?
The interior of Casa Gispert has stayed more or less as it was: it’s like time has stood still. The oven, the only one of its kind in Europe, is original. The wooden shelves are the same, the immense counter made from a single block is the same, the windows are the same, the baskets brimming with artisanal produce are the same. A visit to Casa Gispert is a one-way ticket back into the past.
Casa Gispert: a must-see
A visit to Casa Gispert is a treat for all the senses. It’s not just a shop: the company’s famous nuts are also roasted on site. You can buy their products freshly roasted, and even, with a bit of luck, still warm from the oven.
- The stars of the show here are hazelnuts and grilled almonds, but the shop also sells saffron, oil, vinegar, dried tomatoes, spices, nougat, chocolate, teas and coffees.
Note that Casa Gispert closes for lunch every day from 2-4pm.
Ten good reasons to visit Casa Gispert
- The nuts on sale at Casa Gispert are roasted on site over a green oak fire, in the original oven whcih can be seen in the shop.
- The oven in question is unique, and is one of the oldest ovens still in operation. Take time to admire it in its place at the back of the shop.
- Casa Gispert sells the best, large-calibre nuts, carefully selected and corresponding to a standard size.
- The nuts on sale at Casa Gispert are all grown locally: the almonds and pistachios come from Lleida, the hazelnuts from Tarragona, the pinenuts from Gerona and the peanuts from the Catalan coast. Using local growers enables better quality control.
- The nuts are roasted enough to give them a light, pleasant smoky taste, but no more, so as not to detract from their natural properties.
- The roasted nuts on sale in the shop are very healthy, with no added oil or preservatives.
- Casa Gispert has managed to retain its authentic charm, despite its interntional reputation. You’re sure to cross paths with one or more of the shop’s regulars, who come in to stock up on hazelnuts and toasted almonds.
- In 1999, the French association Les Gourmands Associés awarded the prestigious Coq d’Or label to Casa Gispert. This marks a recognition of the truly exceptional quality of a product. Casa Gispert is widely recognised as one of the ten best artisan businesses in Europe.
- The professional staff are on hand to offer advice on products you may wish to buy.
- Thanks to its longevity and the quality of its products, Casa Gispert has contributed to the development of Barcelona’s unique and attractive character. Casa Gispert is a reference in its field, and the local population is, justifiably, very proud of the shop. There’s nothing else for it – you’ll just have to go and see for yourself!
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