27 Mar Pirineu en Boca: a platform for the best producers in the Pyrenees
Pirineu en Boca opened in Barcelona in March 2015. Can you tell us how the idea came about?
My family has been in the restaurant business for a long time, and when my dad took a butchering class out of curiosity, he met Jaume, his teacher and now our business partner and main butcher. Because we, as a normal family in the city, couldn’t find a place to buy sustainably-raised, quality meat, the idea came about of opening a butchery-restaurant in Barcelona. My dad is from a small town in the Catalan Pyrenees, and when we had to decide where to buy the meat, we though that opening a place focused on the Pyrenees would be a great way of supporting small, but exceptional, producers of the Pyrenees that we had meet during our summers and travels. Plus, it gave us the perfect excuse to go up to mountains once a month to meet our producers 😉
You are not only a restuarant but a carnicería-charcutería as well. What type of products do you sell and how do you source them?
We actually not only sell cured meats, and meat, but also cheeses, yogurts, organic eggs and vegetables, wine, liquors, jams, honey, chocolate, mushrooms, butter, pate, cider, jerusalem artichokes, artisanal beer, natural apple juice, etc. And everything from small sustainable producers in the mountains. Logistically it’s very complicated, since we have almost a hundred different producers we are sourcing from, but it’s worth it. The selection process is very simple: we taste the product, if we like it, we visit the producer (we always visit the producers we work with) and if we like what we see and we think it matches our beliefs, then we buy the products.
It is clear that you pride yourselves on sustainably raised meat. How does this affect the quality of the meat and what are the environmental benefits and health benefits to sustainably raised meat?
Taste-wise, the change is remarkable, especially with the pork and the lamb, meats we are used to eating which have been industrially-raised. Due to being free-range, the fat tissue has a higher percentatge of insaturated fatty acids, so the meat is also healthier. We have 3 main requisites when buying meat from a producer: the animal has to spend at least 9 months a year outside, not treated with any preventive medicine, and it has to be grass-fed, fed with organic fed, or with cereals-leguminoses grown in the same farm. Having the organic certification is not a must for us, because we know all our producers and we develop a trust-relation with them. And also because many small producers (some of ours only kill a cow or a couple of pigs a week…) can’t afford to pay the certification. I guess an extra incentive in buying these kind of products, is that the benefit also goes to the rural mountain communities, that generally don’t have a place in the city markets to sell their products.
You also have a space to exhibit art. Can you tell us more about that?
Of course! We have a friend that is a muralist, Johanna, and when we were decorating the space, we wanted to slide some “Romanic” (a religious art style typical from the Pyrenees) feeling into it. So we talked with her and she painted our walls with imitations from some beautiful Romanic churches in the Catalan Pyrenees. She is so talented! So many people ask us how old are the paintings although the Romanic never got as far as Barcelona. Another friend is a sculpturist, and he asked if he could exhibit some of his art here, and we though it would be great. And little by little, more people asked us, and we started to rotate the pieces.
You collaborate with a company called Manzaning. Can you explain what they do?
Manzaning is a delivery service which works with small businesses in Barcelona. It’s very simple to use. Just enter the app to see which shops they collaborate with. Write to or call the shop to see what they have available to buy. Make the order and it will be delivered to the address of your choice at a convenient time. They work with pharmacies, fruit and vegetable shops, wine shops, butchers, etc. And they only charge 2 euros no matter how much you buy. For us it has been a great ally for clients that want grass-fed, free-range meat but live in other districts and cannot get to our shop easily.
Can you describe the concept of Pirineu en Boca in 3 words?
Sustainable, healthy and tasty.