Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Butter, Cream & Sugar in Barcelona

The subject of pastries and desserts in Barcelona is overwhelming. Where to start? Everything I tried--cookies, custards, beignets, croissants--tasted fresh and pure, and nothing was cloyingly sweet.   
Beignet from the venerable Bubo.
Indeed, Catalans are masters of the delicately sweet.  All photos are from bakeries/cafés in the Catalunya/El Born neighborhoods. Chocolate, a whole other world, has been covered elsewhere, so I will not get into that here.
Cupcakes, gingerbread cookies, and sweet loaves dressed to kill.
Crema Catalana (Catalan version of Crème brûlée) from La Pallaresa  at C/ Petritxol, 11
Mató de Pedralbes (made with sweetened milk) preening in a window at La Palleressa.
Xuxo, a croissant-like breakfast treat that's crispy on the outside, and laced with cream on the inside. With coffee, it is to die for.  From Pinotxo, at La Boqueria.
At Caelum, at C/ Palla, 8, nuns prepare the indulgent, seductive offerings.
These would be considered mini doughnuts in the US.  Relatively small, perhaps, but hugely delicious. From Forn Boix.
Empanadas and others...
 Torró (Catalan)/Turrón (Spanish)/nougat (English).
Macaroons and cakes from Bubo. (The remaining, roughed-up, fiery red macaroons on the upper left are extraordinary.)
The tenderest, most flavorful marshmallows (in fruity flavors) from Bubo.  
Meringue filled with hazelnuts from Forn Sant Jordi.  Again:  the sweetness was sure but subtle.  
Assortment of European pastries at Escriba.
Merengues the size of grapefruit.
Soft-serve lookalike merengues in cupcake liners.
Mel i Mató: smooth, custard-like cheese, that is lightly sweetened.  Topped with honey, this is pure and simple bliss.
Part beignet, part cake; puffs of heaven, laced with coconut, served for breakfast by my host.
Alfajores with dulce de leche, from Forn Boix. This was the sweetest baked treat that I tried.
A scrumptious wafer with sesame seeds, bits of hazelnuts, coarse brown sugar and orange peel, also from Forn Boix.
Wanted: Catalan desserts in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Anyone know of any? Please comment!

Special thanks to Marta Laurent for her help with this post. Gràcies, Marta! 

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