Review: Brunells Bakery, Barcelona25

Posted on July 15, 2009 by ChristieRestaurants, Travel Stories


A lesson on how to get our attention…

When you pass a shop window display like that it’s very difficult not to stop. You might even forget where you were going in the first place. All you know is that you want that. Want it now.

It happened to us on our way to the Picasso Museum. We were just casually strolling along when our peripheral vision was assaulted – Dillon literally screeched to a dead halt and did a double-take. No joke.

Meringues were piled high (taller than me! But that’s not hard as I’m only 4 foot 10 and 3/4 inches) and dozens of perfectly browned pastries stacked neatly, overlapping. Those were what intrigued us the most.

[Coques de llardons]

It’s quite a site, isn’t it? 100% sugary, nutty, flaky pastry goodness; called Coques de llardons. A bargain at 2 euros.

I don’t even know how to pronounce the name properly in Spanish but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it. When I took a bite, what seemed like a thousand layers of pastry fluttered onto my shirt – the rest, the lucky ones – melted onto my tongue.

First you taste good quality butter, then crunchy toasted nuts and lastly, and most surprisingly, large shards of sugar that crunch loudly on impact with your teeth. The strongest sugar I’ve ever tasted! On subsequent bites I learnt to let it dissolve in a more ladylike way.

But back to the combination. Pine nuts and sugar? Well I never. Having Lebanese heritage I can vouch for pine nuts with lamb, pomegranates, rice, lamb (Oh I said that, but lamb!) and on salads. Just not with sugar. On a pastry.

It’s great though and it got my mind racing – wouldn’t they be delicious in a crumble topping with a tart fruit like rhubarb? Or maybe sprinkled on a muffin with cinnamon? It definitely requires more thought.

How would you use pine nuts in a sweet recipe?

If you want to get your hands on one, here’s the address + map:
Brunells, C/ Princesa 22, 08003 Barcelona.

Mmm pastry, Christie x

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  • Oh wow that pastry looks delicious. What a coincidence, I just used pinenuts in a cake recipe the other day! It was a pear cake with a sugar/cinnamon/toasted pinenut crumble on top :)

  • Oooh what a bargain buy and I love it when they use good quality butter too. You can really taste it when there are only a few ingredients!

  • I’m not familiar with those pastries either Christie but boy do they look delicious! Love buttery, flaky pastry!

  • Ju’eta

    You are right, now when I think about it I’ve never had pine nuts in desserts. Looks like I will love it. Did you eat one on your own? I would probably have 2. We should really go on a gastronomic holiday together!

  • The texture sounds beautiful! I haven’t had sweet pinenuts before either, but it sounds like a great idea.

  • Y

    Oh it makes me want to cry. Did I already mention how jealous I am of your current trip? ;P

  • I tasted the same as you did! my husband & i loved it!!
    We adore Barcelona. Last year we went there for 10 days!! I can speak a lot more Spanish!

  • I’m with Y. Sooooo jealous! That pastry looks divine.

  • You are so right. I wouldn’t pass a shopwindow like this, too. Wonderful post. thanks for sharing.

  • I certainly couldn’t have walked past that shop either! What an interesting pastry – I have never seen anything like it. Pine nuts in sweets is new to me too, so I have no suggestions to offer.

  • Gorgeous. I’d never seen these before. Ooh you’re making me so envious!

  • How did I miss this place in Barcelona. I do remember lingering around around a pastry store (it was closed) near the Picasso museum on a Sunday afternoon. I wonder if that was it?

  • This sounds like my sort of pastry!! :)

  • Anne

    I believe we stumbled upon this same little pastry shop when we visited the Picasso Museum in Barcelona a few years ago. You are right, a place like this cannot be passed without stopping in. I can’t even recall what we ordered, only that it was delicious!
    My good friend and her sister met you in the paella cooking class in Barcelona and she turned me on to your site. I love it!
    We’ll be visiting Sydney next week and I’m looking forward to learning more about Australian cuisine. Any suggestions on cooking schools there that my 10-year daughter (loves to cook!) and I could do together? Thanks!

  • “4 foot 10 and 3/4 inches” haahahaha…. I used to the the exact same thing… as in 5 foot 9 and 1/3 inches. I could see myself getting whiplash walking by that display from doing a triple or quadruple take.

  • Oh, I so want your life! Good thing I have a good imagination ;-)

  • janice yurick

    Hi Christie –
    I finally got around to checking out your website – very enjoyable! I was one of the participants in the Barcelona cooking class – I think it was called Cook&Taste. Glad to have met you.
    Take care,
    Jan (the Canadian girl)

  • zoe

    Hmm pine nuts in a dessert, I’ll have to try that. It certainly looks good!

  • @TessaG

    I went there – the most delicious pastries in Barcelona…I agree!

    Thanks for bringing back the memories :)

  • Never tried or seen Coques de llardons before, (btw I think that’s Catalan and not Spanish…but yes, it’s so difficult to see the difference at first look/time there..) but they look quite yummie and fatty as good old pastry should and must be.

    I think the use of pine nuts in Spain’s pastry comes from the Moorish Domination period, and since then has become a very traditional but expensive option for desserts.

    I’m a lucky girl since in my country
    (Mexico) we have a lot of Spanish, Moorish and Lebanese influence in our cooking (yes, Lebanese as well!..Who would thought that!!).

  • Hi Everyone! Thanks so much for your comments!

    @Ju’eta – I only ate a few bites of that pastry. Dillon devoured it!

    @Anne – Thanks so much for stopping by! Yes, I’ve got some suggestions, I’ll email you :)

    @Jan – So glad you’ve dropped by. Was lovely to meet you at the cooking course.

    @Heidi – Yes, you’re right! I think that is in Catalan. I think in Spanish they are called Coca de llardons. But don’t quote me ;)

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  • Mon

    Hi! loved you enjoy your visit to Barcelona, and Coque de LLardons, that is tipicall from Catalonia, and is quite hard to pronaunce if you are not from here, if you are interested in other recipies with pine nuts, as you may know tipical desertes are related to catolic traditions, you have also other kind of coca, that is also sweet, it can be also salty, with briox texture, sugar, less burn and pine nuts, but maybe the most importants are panellets, search for the in internt, actually there are made in many flavours, stroberry, lemmon,coffe, but the basic or clasic ones are with pine nuts and is based on almond flour… if you need any recipe from Barcelona, just wisel…..

  • Karen Tait

    Just returned from Barcelona last week. May daughter and I stopped in Brunell’s as well. What a treat! The Coque de LLardons were not our favorite though. We felt the flavor imparted by the lard from ham was a little too pronounced for our taste. We did however enjoy many of the other delights from Burnell’s. I’ll be going back next year for sure!

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