Salty, crunchy, tingly: So you think you know all there is to know about chocolate? Then it’s high time you sampled the mouthwateringly memorable creations of a bunch of young chocolate artists who work their magic in Barcelona.
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How does the Arctic Ocean taste? Mainly salty, and somehow cool. Enric Rovira has enveloped a grain of salt in white chocolate that melts on your tongue like a drop of seawater. “Each ocean has its own particular characteristics and
is associated with different sensations,” says Rovira, who looks more like a physicist than a chocolatier with his close-cropped hair, athletic physique and clear eyes, “I have been trying to transform these sensations into chocolate.”
His Oceans collection comprises five chocolate boxes the size of cobblestones, each in a color that resonates with the sensual properties of its designated ocean and of the truffles inside.
From sensational chocolate bars to traditional drinking chocolate
Postcard substitutes: Say it with brightly colored bars of Xocoa chocolate instead
Chocolate and chocolate again – plus much more besides: Master patissier Oriol Balaguer has also created some finger-licking cakes
Granja Viader is an old-fashioned milk bar in the Raval district of Barcelona that has been going strong since 1870. That might have something to do with its signature drinking chocolate, velvety-sweet and topped with whipped cream.
From world-famous chocolates to artworks made from chocolate
Prettily packed and popular the world over: These chocolate truffles from Cacao Sampaka go from Barcelona via Berlin to distant places like Dubai and Tokyo
Just desserts: At the Espai Sucre restaurant, entire menus are composed of truly inventive creations
Museum of fine chocolates: This life-sized statue of a chimpanzee on show at the Museu de la Xocolata is made of… well, what else? White chocolate, of course.
The shop décor is as minimalist in design as the chocolate boxes. Saffron and Cabernet Sauvignon are just two of the flavors in the Gastronomic Collection.
Carrer Josep Tarradellas 113, Tel. +34-93/419 25 47, www.enricrovira.com
In addition to chocolate truffles, Oriol Balaguer sells pastries and cakes. One famous chocolate cake has layers of cracknel, sponge, mousse and pure cocoa.
Plaza Sant Gregori, Taumaturg 2, Tel. +34-93/201 18 46, www.oriolbalaguer.com
The spacey boutiques of this rapidly expanding chocolate empire can be found all over Barcelona. They sell classic truffles as well as luxury items, such as gold-plated chocolate bars and cocoa-flavored beer.
Carrer Petritxol 11-13, Tel. +34-93/301 11 97, www.xocoa-bcn.com
Unlike Barcelona’s other chocolatiers, this company also produces its chocolate base product itself. A plethora of chocolate bars and truffles leaves you spoilt for choice, but luckily many of the wares can be sampled in the café before you buy.
Carrer Consell de Cent 292, Tel. +34-93/272 08 33, www.cacaosampaka.com
Macaroons, truffles, tartlets and desserts are set out like jewels in illuminated display cabinets. The shop is truly beautiful – ultramodern décor within ancient walls. In the café next door, they serve croissants from Bubo’s own bakery.
Carrer Caputxes 10, Tel. +34-93/268 72 24, www.bubo.ws
The 18 seats at this dessert restaurant, which opens only evenings, are fully booked nearly every day. And for all those who just have to have a “regular” meal, they also serve a few savory dishes – duck with chocolate cake, for example.
Carrer Princesa 53, Tel. +34-93/268 16 30, www.espaisucre.com
Museu de la Xocolata:
Just inside the entrance there’s a large statue of Ben Hur and his chariot in a glass case – all in chocolate. Also on show are some historical machines and tools of the chocolate trade. The museum also has a very nice shop and an equally nice café.
Carrer del Comerc 36, Tel. +34-93/268 78 78, http://pastisseria.cat
pictures: Christiane von Enzberg