It was my first Easter in Barcelona and I was looking forward to trying out all the foods of the festival. As with most events and festivals in Catalonia, there are particular foods and dishes that are eaten and that are sometimes only available to buy at that time of the year.
Botifarra d’ou is available all year round but is particularly popular around Carnaval, the celebratory days before Lent (Quaresma in Catalan). This firm pork and egg sausage is eaten cold, sliced, and tastes just as you expect – of pork and egg. It’s tastier than it sounds!
During Quaresma, bunyols de Quaresma are available at pastry shops and as desserts at restaurants. These fried sweet puffs of dough are airy on the inside (giving them their other name of bunyols de vent – “of wind”) and it’s difficult to stop at one!
What got Blai very excited though was the mona de Pasqua – an Easter cake that he hadn’t eaten for a number of years. This is a traditional mona – a ring of slightly sweet bread with hard boiled eggs embedded. Other shapes can be made too; there’s another popular variant where the eggs are piled in the middle of the ring like in a nest. They are usually given by godparents to their godchildren on Easter Sunday and the number of eggs on the mona would usually be the age of the child, usually up to about 12-13 eggs. Blai’s cousin told us of one mona with 30 eggs that he saw at one pastisseria – it covered an entire dining table!
Nowadays though, these are less popular as people turn to cream cakes like the one below we shared with Blai’s family and extended family. The coloured feathers seem to be popular with all pastisseries in Barcelona.
Chocolate mones are also very popular – Blai remembers only chocolate houses being available when he was younger but today’s chocolate mones also reflect popular culture: the variety ranges from the ever popular Barcelona football team …
…to films like Tintin…
…and all the way through to Spongebob Squarepants (he’s very popular in Spain and goes by the name Bob Esponja).
Overall, Catalans are not very religious but due to Spanish immigration from Andalucia to the city, there is still demand for religious processions such as the two I went to see on Good Friday (Divendres Sant) – one was dedicated to “Nuestra Señora de las Angustias” leaving from the Església de Sant Jaume and the other was for “la Hermandad de la Macarena” and “la de Jesús del Gran Poder” departing from the Església de San Agustín. The two processions met at the cathedral before returning to their initial churches. While they didn’t meet with the same wild reception they would have received in Andalucia, it was still interesting to watch.
I’ll end this post with an Easter egg/chocolate mona I saw at Pastisseria Takashi Ochiai, a brilliant Japanese/Catalan pastry shop. It’s possibly the best Easter egg I’ve ever seen: it’s a ninja shark (with uh… smurfs)! Do also see his Totoro egg!