If you’ve read any of my other posts then you’ll know I spend more time eating tapas and sipping wine/craft beer than I do licking ice-creams, but I also have a sweet tooth…
From the best traditional bakeries and churro stands to artisanal ice-cream parlours, here’s where to get your fix in dulce Barelona.
Zuckerhaus (Sant Antoni) ~ German Home Baking
Once upon a time there was an old hairdressing salon in Poble Sec that sat empty for 38 years. A German girl who lived in the area, named Manuela Caruso, would walk past it on her way into the city, always stopping to admire the elegant facade.
One day the old salon came up for rent and Manuela called immediately to take it on. Slowly but surely, armed with the family recipes her mother had passed on to her, she transformed the old salon into a magical haven of German patisserie.
Brought to life with cutesy decorations that her customers brought her and her sugar-dusted baking tools, it had a real Hansel and Gretel gingerbread house feel, setting the stage perfectly for her buttery, blueberry-bursting tray bakes and delightfully fluffy cheesecakes. And the residents of Barcelona all lived happily ever after.
Address: Carrer del Parlament, 17, Sant Antoni
Nearest Metro: Poble Sec (Green Line)
Hours: Tue – Sat 10:30am – 2p, 5 – 8pm Sun 10:30am – 3pm
Caelum (Gotico) ~ Tea & Cakes Made by Nuns
I might not go to church on Sundays, but my weekend pilgrimages to Caelum are equally as enlightening. As a Brit, I revel in the chintzy tea room vibe, and the excellent selection of teas (where else will you find darjeeling in Barcelona?).
But it’s the artisanal delights that really stir the soul, with timeless classics such as cinnamon-spiced cakes, almond puff pastries and Seville cider cakes, all handmade by nuns in monasteries across Spain. There are plenty of savoury temptations to tickle your fancy, too.
You can also sip on Trappist beers and various other monk-made brews, though it’s the treacle-thick hot chocolate that’ll really put hairs on your chest. There’s literally nowhere else like it anywhere else in the city, so put on your Sunday best and prepare for an unforgettable religious experience.
Address: Carrer de la Palla, 8, Gothic Quarter
Nearest Metro: Liceu (Green Line)
Hours: Mon – Thu 10:30am – 8:30pm Fri – Sat 10:30am – 11pm Sun noon – 9pm
Lukumas (Gracia & Raval) ~ Artisanal Greek Donuts
I grew up in a town where donuts came in one of two varieties: with sugar and jam, or with sugar and no jam. So when I moved to Barcelona and discovered the puffs of perfection at Lukumas, which means “donut holes” in Greek, I was distraught with the realisation that I had spent my formative years being deprived of such sensational glazed variety.
Now that I live up the road I’ve more than made up for it, though I’ve vowed to myself that when I have children, I will do everything in my power to ensure that such artisanal staples are a part of their daily lives, as they never were in my own bland excuse of a childhood. Owner and head baker Petros Paschalidis perfects everything from classic glazed rings to devine cream filled, chocolate topped and toffee dipped masterpieces.
Address: Carrer del Torrent de l’Olla, 169, Gracia + Valldonzella 36, 08001, Raval
Nearest Metro: Fontana (Green Line) or Universitat (Pupler/Red Line)
Hours: Mon – Fri 9:30am – 1:30pm, 4:30 – 8:30pm Sat 9:30am – 1:30pm
DelaCrem (Eixample) ~ Artisanal Ice-Cream
It’s the simple things that make life in Barcelona so special and I firmly believe that meandering aimlessly down Passeig de Gràcia with an ice-cream in your hand and the sun on your back should be way up there on your bucket list. There are countless gelaterias throughout the city and you’ll struggle to get it wrong, but find your way to DelaCrem and you can be doubly sure of a divine intervention to remember.
Owner Massimo Pignato uses fresh fruits, premium quality nuts and artisanal chocolate to hand-craft out-of-this-world gelato. Try the pistachio and hazelnut combo or freshen up with zesty sorbets. He even offers gluten-free and vegan-friendly varieties. The man’s an angel! In fact, forget Gaudi and his Sagrada Familia, DelaCrem is the city’s ultimate place of worship.
Address: Carrer d’Enric Granados, 15, Eixample
Nearest Metro: Universitat (Pupler/Red Line)
Hours: Mon – Tue 9:30am – 9pm Wed – Sat 9:30am – midnight Sun 9:30am – 9pm
Swiit Artisanal Ice Cream
Squirreled away in the Gothic Quarter’s peaceful Plaça dels Traginers, overlooking the old Roman walls that used to encircle the city, Swiit offers artisanal ice cream made with locally-sourced organic milk and seasonal fruits.
Owners Tracy and Gio have been careful to preserve the details of the ancient property, which is all worn wood and scarred stone. It really is such a naturally beautiful place.
You won’t find any artificial colourings or preservatives here, no hurried flurry muck, no mass-manufactured Magnums, just fresh fruit blended with quality nuts and natural ingredients.
Get your tongue dug into flavours like Mascarpone and fig or rum raisin and coconut. The milk-free sorbets are also great for vegans and the lactose intolerant. I had the dark chocolate sorbet and would never have known it contained no milk – pure creamy goodness.
Tip: Gio is from Milan originally and has worked with his friends back in Italy to produce a range of single-origin coffee. So if you’re in need of a caffeine hit…
Address: Baixada de Viladecols 2c, Bajos 2, Gothic Quarter
Nearest Metro: Jaume I (Yellow Line)
Hours: Tues–Sun 2pm–8pm
Turronería Sirvent (Sant Antoni) ~ An Institution
If you’re looking for something ‘dulce’ during your time in Barcelona, you won’t want to miss Sirvent’s handmade artisanal turróns. Let me backtrack for a moment.
Turrón, I should first explain, is a sort of sweet nougat that Spanish people typically enjoy around Christmas time (though many people – myself included – eat it all year-round). It originates from the province of Valencia and there are two types: the hard and crunchy Alicante variety, or the soft and chewy Xixona version. Ingredients include toasted almonds, honey and egg whites, although modern recipes utilise all sorts of fruit pralines and candied fruits, as well as chocolate and alcoholic liquors.
Dating back to 1920, Turronería Sirvent’s seriously tempting turróns are widely considered to be the world’s finest. Whatever time of year you visit, a few slabs of this will have you feeling festive in no time.
Address: Carrer del Parlament, 56, Sant Antoni
Nearest Metro: Sant Antoni (Purple Line)
Hours: Daily 10am to 9pm
Xurreria Trébol (Gracia/Eixample) ~ 24h Churros con Chocolate
Most of us would agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but in Spain it’s more of an excuse to get jacked up on sugar and caffeine — not that you’ll find me complaining! There’s no better way to start your day than with the delights of traditional deep fried, chocolate dunked, caramel cream filled churros.
Xurreria Trébol is one of Barcelona’s most iconic xurrerias – said to be the oldest and best in the city – and has a reputation for making crunchy and doughy sugar-coated sensations just like they did back in the good ol’ days. And to prove just how popular they are, their ancient store is now open 24 hours a day, serving everyone from early bird breakfast goers to late night revellers.
Because after all, life’s too short for muesli.
Address: Carrer de Còrsega, 341, Gracia/Eixample
Nearest Metro: Diagonal (Blue Line)
Hours: Mon to Thu: 9am – 9pm, Fri to Sun: 24 hours