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  • Friday, March 15

    Wax Museum, Barcelona, Spain: Box Office

    Wax Museum or Museu de Cera, Barcelona [enlarge]

    There are many great wax museums in the world so I think we cannot boast about our own Museu de Cera too much, but the building and the place where it is found in Barcelona, at the end of an alley near the end of Las Ramblas really pays for the visit. There is this box office you can see in the picture at one side of the central promenade in Las Ramblas, and right in front of the entrance to the alley, that has this attractive historical look. Located exactly at Passatge Banca, 7, Barcelona, the Wax Museum is a neoclassical style palace that dates back from 1867 that used to hold a famous bank. It wasn't till 1973 that the building was transformed into a museum by scenographer Enrique Alarcón.

    Monday, March 11

    Barri Gotic: Narrow Streets of Barcelona

    Barri Gotic, Barcelona [enlarge]

    It is easy to walk down the streets of Barri Gotic and get lost in time. Discovering narrow alleys along the way and contemplating how the perspective drawn by the lines of buildings lead your eyes into small figures that come and go, is certainly one of the most pleasing experiences for travelers that want to avoid the obvious touristic routes in Casc Antic (old city), Barcelona.

    Wednesday, March 6

    The Art of Carving Spanish Ham

    ham shop [enlarge]

    Carving Spanish ham is an art more difficult to master than it looks. It's not just about slicing any odd way. It requires skill and the right tools. I cannot teach you to carve it like a specialist but more or less you grab the basics when you've had good instructors and you've carved a ham or two to the bone. It is important to have a very sharp ham knife, which has a long and narrow blade and you should fix the piece in a ham holder, some sort of wooden framework with screws to secure both the wide end and the hoof. You start your cut from hoof to tip, that is from the upper raised part of the ham towards the bottom, first eliminating the thick fat but keeping the first slice of fat that you use to cover the ham meat when you finish. The very fat helps preserving the ham from drying and losing its quality. Beware you don't cut yourself. Keep your fingers off the direction of your knife's cut. It happens sometimes that it slips and you end up hurting the hand that is holding the ham. The slices should be as thin as possible and that is the difficult part. Try not to make a deep curve while you cut. The idea is to keep it flat and to cut thin. It doesn't matter if it takes longer for you and people clean up the dish before you finish serving the slices. That is normal! It happens all the time. Not everyone has the patience to go for the thinner slices and the nice presentation. The final result is definitely better. The shop in the picture is located in Barri Gotic, Barcelona, I think that it was at Plaça Sant Jaume.
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