A Barcelona of cakes and pastries
There have been sweet shops and cake shops in Barcelona, ever since the introduction of sugar into Catalonia during the Middle Ages, giving rise to one particular culinary habit among its citizens: rounding off their festive meals with a cake or pastry dessert. There are historical bakeries in every city neighbourhood, and lots of them have a room or a café for eating on site the products made there.
Two of the oldest have a shared history: La Colmena in Carrer Gran de Gràcia, which opened in 1835 on the road to what was then the independent village of Gràcia, and La Colmena in Plaça de l’Àngel, the heart of the Barri Gòtic, which opened in 1849. Both maintain some craft recipes for sweets, pastries and cakes that are difficult to find anywhere else. You can also find hundred-year-old patisseries which still whet the palate in other neighbourhoods that had been independent villages outside Barcelona in centuries past.
One of the oldest in the city is Pastisseria Mayol, which opened in 1854 on Carrer Horta in the neighbourhood of the same name and moved to the premises it occupies now, at nº 59 on the same street, in 1915.
Pastisseria Foix opened in the old village of Sarrià in 1886 and, apart from being one of the city's top cake shops and preserving its Modernista decor, it is noted for being an icon of the Catalan arts, as its founders were the parents of the poet J.V. Foix, who turned it into a meeting place for intellectuals at the start of the 20th century.
Another hundred-year-old patisserie in Sants, Casa Vives, was founded as a bread shop in 1895 and it is one of the longest standing shops on the emblematic Carrer de Sants.
Pastisseria Escribà, open on Rambla de Barcelona since 1906, is not only one of the city's iconic Modernista establishments, it is also the cradle of family of internationally renowned pastry chefs. Fourth-generation Cristian Escribà is regarded as one of the best in the world. He is a regular collaborator of Ferran Adrià and, from the workshop in his shop-salon on the Gran Via, he has made some surprising pastry creations that have captivated the world.
Eixample's Pastisseria Mauri, which opened on the corner of Rambla Catalunya and Carrer Provença in 1929, preserves a splendid Modernista decor and was one of the first to have a salon for tasting delicious confectionery products. But aside from all these traditional establishments, a large number of new, contemporary cake shops have sprung up in Barcelona, run by famous pastry chefs that have turned their trade into an art and transformed the traditional heritage into innovative creations. One of the pioneers was Pastisseria Canal, in the Sant Gervasi neighbourhood. Run by the Canal brothers since 1970, its tempting sweet items remind you of precious jewels.
And Carrer Flassaders in the Born neighbourhood, Hofmann boasts a cake shop where the famous chef Mai Hofmann lets his sweet imagination run wild.