This blog post was originally posted on December 10, 2014 and was updated on November 17, 2017.
Across the globe and throughout different cultures, the words holidays and sweets go hand in hand, and Barcelona is no exception!
From turrón and polvorones to tortell de reis, there are dozens of holiday sweets in Barcelona that you cannot miss while in the Catalan capital during the festive season. They play a huge role in Barcelona’s Christmas tradition. Here is a selection of the must-try holiday sweets in Barcelona, and of course, where you can find them!
Torró in Catalan is a thick tablet made of nougat and almonds. It is undoubtedly the most important holiday sweets in Barcelona and also throughout Spain. There are a handful of different varieties for every type of sweet tooth. From hard and crunchy to soft and chewy, chocolate to crema catalana, the options are endless.
Where to find it: All bakeries, pastry shops, and even supermarkets will have it, but head to Brunells (Carrer de la Princesa, 22) or Pastisseria Ideal (Carrer del Gran de Gracia, 207) for some of the best in all of Barcelona.
Polvorones are crumbly, shortbread-like cookies that come from the south of Spain. They get their name from the Spanish word powder or dust which is polvo as they tend to crumble into powder very easily. You’ll see them individually wrapped in wax paper and are also always sold by the weight.
Where to find them: La Campana (Calle de la Princesa, 36) does ice cream and horchata in the summer and some seriously delicious holiday sweets in the winter.
We dip churros in hot chocolate, and we also dip neules in cava. This cylindrical wafer is a staple in every home on Christmas day, as families finish their meal and enjoy one last glass of refreshing cava with the light biscuits. The story goes that they were invented by a nun while she was trying to prepare the communion wafers. Of course, you don’t have to wait until Christmas day to snack on these treats!
Where to find them: Gasa Graupera is the go-to name for neules, having produced the best of the best since 1895. Their shop is in Mataró (outside Barcelona), so we recommend ordering online.
Tortell de Reis
In Spain, the festive season continues into the first week of January, as the 6th is a big holiday celebrating the Epiphany, or as they call it here, Kings’ Day, Dia de los Reyes. The day beforehand, most people go out and buy a tortell de reis, or Kings cake, which consists of a round coca puff pastry usually stuffed with marzipan or crema catalana (Catalan custard) and topped with fruits and nuts.
Inside there will also be a bean as well as a prize—whoever gets the bean in his slice has to pay for the cake, and the one who finds the prize in his is the crowned King. Look out for lines around pastry shops as everyone in town gets their tortell de reis.
Where to find it: Tortell de reis is ubiquitous during the first week of January. Any pastry shop or bakery will have plenty of delicious cakes, though if you’re really looking to impress, try Bubó (Calle Caputxes, 10) or the classic Pasteleria Escriba (Gran Via, 546).