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By Regina Winkle-Bryan in Barcelona—
When I moved to Barcelona five years ago, I thought yogurt was a breakfast food. Oh how wrong I was! It took some time, and I was not an easy convert, but I now eat yogurt (Greek yogurt if possible, with honey) for dessert. Other favored local desserts include Crema Catalana, panellets, mel i mató, coques, gelato-like ice creams and flan. Most of these are offered at your local restaurant in Barcelona, or come included when you order the daily special (menu del dia).
Then there are all the bakeries and chocolate shops. Temptation never teased me so as it does here in Barcelona. “Look at these tasty Nutella-filled croissants!” it says as I walk by the panaderia. “These bonbons will melt on your tongue,” it sings when I eye the Fargas chocolatier.
And eight times out of 10 I give right in to temptation. Why? Because A) I love dessert and B) Barcelona is a walking city, and if I have a truffle, I just skip the bus and walk home to burn off the calories…
After a lovely, multi-course, wine-splashed Spanish or Catalan meal in the city, skip dessert at the restaurant and instead head over to one of my favorite sweet shops for the evening’s candied nightcap.
Caputxes 10, Barcelona 08003
My goodness Bubo is divine! It is a tiny spot right off one of the Gothic Quarter’s most enchanting squares in front of the Cathedral Santa Maria del Mar. There are many wonderful restaurants in this barri (called “El Born”), and Bubo is an easy walk after lunch or dinner.
Half chocolate shop (their bonbons make for the perfect sugar-coated souvenir) and half petite dessert cafe, choose between cakes, tarts, truffles, and gourmet cookies. Some of my faves includes orange Sacher (give me orange and dark chocolate, anytime, anywhere), Marseille sponge cake with violet berry cream and raspberry mousse, or a simple strawberry sablée.
Bubo’s bonbons are filled with ganache or praline, and their bite-sized macaro cookies come in many vibrant colors and creative flavors. Or if you want something a bit lighter, then go for one of the Bubo mousses. Velvety mascarpone mousse with vanilla and raspberries will envelope your taste-buds, as will Bubo’s bittersweet chocolate mousse with lime gel.
Bubo is not cheap, but fairly priced. These are high quality desserts worth every euro cent, and true chocolate and sweet enthusiasts will not be disappointed.
Vioko Ice Creams and more
Passeig Joan de Borbo 55, Barceloneta 08003
Vioko is the new kid in town. Barcelona has an ice cream and gofre shop on every other corner, so when I saw that Vioko had opened up near the beach, I was skeptical, and then intrigued. With ice cream flavors such as violet, ginger, and rose, Vioko is not your average gelato stand.
No sir! This is quality ice cream, made from fresh ingredients and served in mammoth proportions. Last summer I ate more Vioko than I would like to admit. A goal of mine is to try all of their flavors, no matter how foreign. (It is important to have goals in life.) A cone will set you back about €3.50 or get a liter of their creamy concoctions for €18.
Mauri, the classic chocolatier
Rambla Catalunya 102, Barcelona, 08008
Since 1929 Mauri has been the go-to place for chocolates for those who want to impress. Nothing says “I have good taste and money” like Mauri. It is true, their candied lemon wedges dipped in dark chocolate and liquor-filled bonbons will set you back a few euros, but this is a small price to pay for history, tradition, and quality.
Aside from chocolates, Mauri also has a bakery and a tea shop. It is a fabulous idea to have a coffee in Mauri around 5 p.m. with a slice of something heavenly. They also do a daily lunch special, which has been delicious every time I have had it. Those who know and love chocolates will want to sample a couple of delectables from Mauri. Happily, two or three bonbons should not cost more than €5.