REVIEW & CULTURE
Experience the famous Xuixo in the famous Brunells
Misty Barker, Owner & Lead Food Tour Guide
6 May 2017
Welcome to the third generation Pasteleria who have been creating some of the tastiest Catalan delicacies since 1852. Step inside the real life chocolate factory!
I remember our local bakery when growing up as a child. The sweet smell of freshly baked pastries & breads enveloping you the moment you walked through the doors. Those memories came flooding back to me the minute I walked through the arches of this wonderful place. The building has been here since 1852 when the now owner Carles’s grandparents opened its doors. It has been family run now for three generations and is still renowned locally for their creations. Just walking through the doors you feel like you’ve been transported back in time – where real food was created with passion! From the traditional furnishings to the equally traditional treats & sweets on offer – prepare to feel like a child in a candy store all over again!
Every staff member is as friendly as the next – from the bakers in the kitchen / factory area to the cafeteria floor. It is conveniently located on Carrer de la Princesa & at the end of Career Montcada, just a few steps away from The Picasso Museum. Better yet, it is open from early morning to 20.30 every evening – perfect for some churros & hot chocolate if you have forgotten to book your tickets in advance to any of the surrounding museums or for a coffee and pastry fix before!
Carrer de la Princesa, 22, Barcelona 08003
What I think is fascinating about this beautiful place is the interior – and namely their famous oven! Which is over 100years old and is still used every morning to cook everything you see in the shop. When I first visited and was met by Carles, who is possibly one of the nicest people I have been lucky enough to meet, took me in to take a look at this incredible cooking space. And, yes, space is the only way I can describe it! From the outside it looks like a typical old style working oven – until you open its heavy door and see the true expanse of the inside! I was blown away!… literally as the heat hits you straight away.
Each morning the dedicated bakers here work from before dawn placing all of the freshly made items into the oven in stages – depending on heat temperature. They are placed into the oven with huge wooden peels (a long handled tray like instrument) so they reach the very back of possibly the largest oven I have ever laid eyes on!
“Life’s too short to say no to cake”
What I love about Brunells, aside from the love they give to each and every item they make here is that they are so passionate about creating everything themselves here, from scratch. And I mean everything. From breads, cakes, special Catalan delicacies to even their own chocolate, torrons (nougat), encenalls & chocolate crackers (which are milk / dark or white chocolate circular slabs flavoured with different toppings, from fruit & nuts to even other sweets!) The choice is endless and the colours of all of what’s on offer is as impressive as the taste. But for me, and my tour guests – the winner is their Xiuxo – which is a famous Catalan Pastry with a terrific & interesting history. Of course, in Brunells is where you will taste them at their best!
The Xiuxo (Pronnounced – ChooCho) is a viennoiserie pastry from the city of Girona in Catalonia, Spain. It’s a cylindrical pastry, similar to a croissant in style BUT filled with crema catalana that is then deep fried and covered with crystallized sugar. It is, quite frankly – a little piece of pastry heaven!
According to Wikipedia sources, It’s assumed that this pastry originated in Girona in the 1920s in a pastry shop owned by Emili Puig in the Street Corte Real. A French pastry shop showed him the preparation of cream filled pastry and this served him as an inspiration for the Xuixo.
The delicious ‘Xiuxo’ pastry
Photograph by Brunells
However, what I like the most about this pastry’s origins is of course the ‘Legend of the Xiuxo’.
According to a legend in Girona the invention of the Xuixo has to be credited to ‘el Tarlà,’ who was an acrobat that entertained the citizens in a quarantine during an epidemic. As the story goes, he fell in love with the daughter of a local pastry chef. One night, when he visited his beloved girl her father arrived unannounced and so he hid in a bag of flour. Unfortunately, he sneezed (which sounds like xui-xui) and was discovered. Before the pastry chef could get angry he promised to marry his daughter and give him the recipe of a special pastry… of course the Xuixo. He named it after the sneeze that betrayed him. Today a figure of el Tarlà can be seen every year during the spring festivities when its copy is erected at the place where he had entertained the people of Girona. And a procession & family parade takes place where the local bakers guild prepare tables and tables of Xuixo for the people to enjoy after the parade – If you’re in Barcelona at this time of year make sure to check it out and send us some pictures! It is called Marxa del Xuxo.
On our Toro Food Tours we visit this beautiful bakery as our first stop – and all of our guests truly love it! Not only do we get to take a wander into the kitchens and meet all of the friendly staff as they prepare the tasty treats for the day but we get to see the oven and feel the terrific atmosphere and welcoming vibes that make it so special. It truly is a one in a million type of place and I am sure you will agree!
If you’re in El Born, make sure to stop by and pick up some treats. They specialize in lots of great chocolate items too which are perfect for gifts! If they make it home of course and you’re not tempted to have a nibble on them before they get there.
Whatever you choose we are sure you won’t be disappointed. Make sure to stop by on the blog again and let us know how your visit went and don’t forget to tell the lovely staff there that we said hi!
Love & Gambas,
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