Where to Eat: Barcelona...Sweet Edition

If you've got a sweet tooth, Barcelona is a hazardous place to be. They take their sweets seriously (churros and chocolate for breakfast, anyone?) and there seems to be a "pasteleria" (pastry shop), candy or ice cream store on every corner. Here are some of my picks:

Pasteleria Escriba
Located right on the bustling La Ramblas, this beautiful bakery is a must visit for all pastry lovers, if not just for the gorgeous exterior. The Escriba family bought the location in 1986 and it has since become one of the most highly regarded bakeries in Barcelona. They make an especially delectable Coca de Llardons.

These beautifully decorated treats beckon from their glass cases, reminiscent of a display at a jewellery store. I sampled a delicious pistachio macaroon and a "parfait" of sorts. Layers of green tea mousse, orange marmalade, streusel, and tangerine "caviar" make for a zesty dessert (I got to keep the glass too!) There's a Bubo Bar serving savoury food next door, in case you need to curb that sugar rush.

Cacao Sampaka

Attention adventurous chocoholics: If you're looking for chocolate that's a little "different," head to Cacao Sampaka and sample their "Innovaciones Gastronomicas" collection. Expect to find Hot and Spicy, Balsamic Vinegar, Parmesan Cheese, or Soya chocolates. I thought they were all pretty good, although the parmesan one was pushing it a little. If you just want a good ol' bar of solid chocolate goodness, they've got that too. They also have a small cafe in the back serving, of course, all things chocolate too.

Things to eat:
There are lots and lots of Catalan sweets, but sadly I didn't have time to sample all of them. Here are just a few:

Coca de Llardons
A pastry (made with lard. Mmmm) sprinkled with sugar and pine nuts. It's super crunchy with a "crust" of sugar. And at around 2 euros, it's the perfect thing to munch on as you roam.

Crema Catalana
A cross between flan and creme caramel. It's got a creamy custard base and a crispy caramel crust. It's a little lighter tasting because it only uses milk, although it makes up for that fact by only using egg yolks, too.

Torta de Santiago
A traditional almond cake. It's dense and crumb-y, with an icing sugar St. James cross stenciled on top. My slice was served with a sweet wine to dip each tasty morsel into.

Eat Here:

Pasteleria Escriba
Rambla, 83

Bubo and Bubo Bar
Caputxes, 10

Cacao Sampaka
Consell de Cent, 292

Images property of beets and bites

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