Catalans take their food history and culture seriously and nothing inspires them like a cup of thick, bitter chocolate served alongside fluffy, oblong melindros. This tradition of the afternoon merinda, similar to English tea, began with Columbus’ arrival in Barcelona with a fistful of unprocessed cacao beans. From its quiet beginnings to its global dominance as an affordable luxury, chocolate has shaped Barcelona’s eating culture.
During this three hour walking seminar we'll follow the course of chocolate history through the narrow streets of the old city and out onto the Ramblas, from 19th century bomboneries famous for dark truffles to the adventurous palates of 21st century chocolate masters. We’ll sample liquor-filled bonbons, watch freshly fried churros emerge from their oily baths, and duck into a traditional grocer stocked with fine local goods. Throughout the walk, we will explore chocolate’s roots as an Aztec import and its eventual adoption by all of Europe.
Stemming from our discussions of chocolate, we will explore the larger world of confections and pastry that were incorporated into 19th century Barcelona café culture. Compare and contrast the differences between ornate modernista cafes and the humbler granjas of Barcelona. For decades, both provided meeting points for artists, dancers, poets, politicians, and everyday people, serving a rich array of delicate pastries and an assortment of sweet and caffeinated drinks. Whether you prefer a traditional ensaimada, baked with lard, or favor the bold flavors of chocolate mixed with wasabi, Barcelona’s café culture is still felt everyday at 6pm.
Beginning at the port of Barcelona, where Christopher Columbus landed bearing dried cacao beans and ending at the Modernista masterpiece, Casa Amatller, this walk traces the sweet legacy of chocolate and confections throughout Barcelona’s history.
We can accommodate participants who have food allergies, including those with an allergy to nuts.