Weekend breaks to Barcelona are hugely popular with British travellers. Most go for the amazing Gaudi architecture, the superb Catalan food and wine, and the nightlife. But did you know it’s also famous for its chocolate? I didn’t until I spoke to Emily Luxton who writes the popular blog, Emily Luxton Travels.
Emily told me that Barcelona has strong cultural and historic links to chocolate, going back to the days when Christopher Columbus sailed from its port. “I was really astonished in Barcelona that there’s an amazing chocolate scene,” she said. “It’s because chocolate first came to Europe through Barcelona, when it was brought over from South America.”
Emily spent time hunting out the best chocolate shops and cafes in the city, which I told her must have been a tough job! “There are so many chocolate shops,” she laughed. “I was blown away – there is so much there. They even have the oldest chocolate shop in Europe.”
Emily said that shop, La Fargas, has been operating for almost 200 years, and they still make all their own chocolate, on site, using traditional machinery. Apparently the bonbons flavoured with local cava are amazing!
Of course, Barcelona is famous for its churros – small, thin doughnuts that are dipped into a thick, hot chocolate drink. But I asked Emily whether she had expected to find so many places selling high-end artisan chocolate products? “It’s a surprising side to Barcelona because obviously people go there for the tapas and the cava,” she told me. “But there’s a really exciting chocolate scene. New, innovative people putting together insane chocolate combinations that you’d never dream of, like gin and tonic flavoured chocolate bars. It’s all a bit different and there’s some really cool stuff to find if you go looking for it.”
Emily said you should try the local Catalan version of churros, called melindros to dunk into your hot chocolate. They’re a type of thin, white biscuit. There are also chocolate ice creams to sample, as well as a local speciality, catànies, which is a roasted almond surrounded by white chocolate ganache and with a dark chocolate coating. Sounds delicious.
You can get a list of Emily’s best chocolate recommendations in Barcelona, and find out more about this amazing city, at EmilyLuxton.co.uk.