B'FST, Barcelona styley

Friday, 25 January 2013

Right, so it's fairly obvious that 3 days in Barcelona was never going to be enough. It was our first destination in Spain and already a favourite. So, harking back to one of my first entries on Melbourne back in 2011 (I'm getting on!) I've decided to continue the "B'FST styley" tradition. Here I'm sharing with you some of the cafés in fair Barça that I've pencilled into my address book (& you should too):

Cornelia and Co.

Calle Valencia 225, 08007 Barcelona

Okay, so I got a little help (from my friends), with a stellar recommendation from the Wallpaper* City Guide Barcelona (highly recommended). This café-food store is very reminiscent of Jones the Grocer in Sydney and Dean & DeLuca in the States (on which Cornelia and Co. is apparently modelled on). Inside the double shop front is a bona fide foodie heaven: spacious shared tables, a deli, cake cabinet and fromagerie - all to ogle whilst you sip your coffee, waiting for your pastry.

Show and tell: one of the window displays, they call themselves the "Daily Picnic Store" with good reason.

You only need step through the doors to feel an instant 'calm' settle over you. Barcelona has nothing on the bustle of New York and London but I'm always looking for a place that suits my 'lady of leisure' sensibilities. Cornelia gets a big tick!

The ham display. Basically a pre-requisite if you want any cred at all around here. Even better if you have an employee stationed here, carving it all day. There are plenty of nibblies you can pick up before heading off on a day trip (but why would you want to leave?!) or picnic lunch at Parc Güell. Right next to  this display is a unit full of homewares including some copper pots...*drool*

Looks can be deceiving. As you probably know, I am notorious for my high standards in coffee and I have to be honest, this coffee fell way short. I think the concept of coffee in Spain is entirely different to their Italian neighbours. Mostly hot water, the milk ratio was all wrong. The coffee had an unpleasant bitterness and there was too much foam. Oh you fusspot. 

Again we met some linguistic obstacles - however we managed to get our hands on english menus. I ordered a 'set menu' for breakfast consisting of a coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and a lovely sandwich. Check this out:

Definitely a picnic lunch sort of an affair, but it would be rude not to give it a go. Here was my sandwich with Iberian ham, tomato & brie (surprising they took a French cheese here!). It was a bit of a shock to the system, but this kind of calorie munching puts you in good stead for a full day of sight-seeing/taste-testing your way around Barcelona. Totally.
In search of some kind of dietary balance, we added a plate of fruit to the order which was delicious and fresh. I can't imagine where they'd be sourcing papaya and pineapple from (I was thinking S. America?) but it was yum nonetheless.

Cacao Sampaka

Carrer del Consell de Cent 292, 08007 Barcelona

This is a little kept secret, across the world in fact with Cacao Sampaka's sprouting clones in Saudi Arabia, Lisbon and Tokyo. Founded and co-owned by Albert Adría, Ferran's younger brother (boy are these guys running amuck!) this is a Temple for Chocolate; to which I have come to worship. Damn.

Just for kicks, he wanted a cacao tree in the café - and so there was. The interior feels lovely and modern and the cafe is tucked in the back, nice & cosy.

The smell of chocolate wafting through the shop as you walk through is simple divine, even at 9:30 in the morning (mind you, the rest of the country is fast asleep). In the shop you'll find every possible variety/flavoured chocolate you could think of. It is Mecca (I am possibly the least religious person I know, and yet I call on it when I think of this place!).

This ain't no joke, this hot chocolate or 'Chocolate' as they simply call it is flippin' amazing. I'm excited just writing about it, I mean seriously. This is the Azteca chocolate, about 80% cacao & delicately spiced.
The hot chocolate was such a win, it was essentially 'just' melted chocolate (who needs milk when it's this good?) and super high quality. My crispy croissant was made for dippin'. Here was one happy camper!


Carrer Petritxol 2, 08002 Barcelona

One thing that you come to understand in Spain is the heritage of some their eating/drinking establishments. It is quite common for the year that they opened to be proudly shown right under the restaurant's name. I think that makes it even more special, often they have been passed down from generation to generation, sharing precious recipes to be shared with their loyal customers. I came from halfway across the globe to sample ;)

Okay their website might be a bit old school, but hey they are over 80 years old!! Since 1930, the Mach family have been serving chocolate y churros here. They certainly deserve praise for that achievement alone, in an age of constant openings/closures at a pace that I even struggle with. Taking their name from a female character from Don Quixote and meaning 'sweet' the house specialty is...well, you know.

The chocolate was hyped and though it looks the part, it wasn't exactly what I'd expected. It was rather thick, almost gloomy and not as chocolatey as I would have liked. I'm not painting a pretty picture here am I but that's what I reckon. I find the Sampaka version much more to my taste.
Inside, you can feel the history emanating from the walls. We were whisked up the creaking stairs to our table overlooking the ground floor. It is actually quite spacious, allowing for the organized chaos to take place. Waiters bustle with trays full of orders and there was a lot of chatter from the full house (I can only imagine this is normal, perhaps even quiet for them). Then churros and chocolate hit the table like rapid fire!

The churros on the other hand were quite nice, I say this - not being a 'churros expert' or anything. They were crispy as a.k.a. FRIED, but not oily. The light dusting of sugar was perfect and the dipping factor a bonus! Chocolate y churros was like is a national past time. Whenever, wherever chocolate & churros is always on the cards. Amongst us were families of 6 or 7, couples looking for a sugar hit and us - the (token) tourists!

There is one other place that has been recommended by the Barcelona guide by the Tourism Bureau called La Pallaresa. Conveniently, it is located on the same street as Dulcinea (C/ Petritxol 11). Be warned, there were queues down the street for this one (all Spaniards too which is a good sign). So if you are so inclined you can do a 'Chocolate y Churros' crawl all the way into a food coma. Hello diabetes!

Thanks for reading gang!
x Gourmand


  1. It all looks so delicious! Especially the churro

  2. Oooo, yum! I am heading to Barcelona in two weeks time and will be following these tips! :)

  3. Oh god, the chocolate! Looks so good, my mouth is watering :)



The City Gourmand All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger