Thursday, November 5, 2009

Searching for Good Bread in Barcelona

I have two high school friends living in Barcelona – one has lived there for years, the other is spending a sabbatical year there. On a recent visit we were discussing the abundance of wonderful food in Spain. My friend on sabbatical, who regularly lives in the United States in a region rich with artisanal breads, commented on how while so much of the food in Spain was fantastic, how disappointed he was with the bread in Spain. Given that I have had to regrettably give up gluten, I was not aware of the dearth of truly hand-made delicious bread in Spain. By appearances it would seem that Spain was rich in fresh-baked goods. This is true to the unsuspecting eye and traveler, but apparently much of what one sees as fresh baked local bread (and other baked goods) are in fact pre-prepared in industrial lots either partially baked and frozen, or as dough to be fully baked on site, made with industrial fast-rising yeasts and additives in factories to be distributed around the country.

Ahh, we had a mission! To find truly fresh local bread, made on site in local bakeries with slow leavening which enhances the enzymes, aroma, and taste of bread. We focused our sights on Barcelona since that is where two out of three of us are living. Happily we found that there are indeed numerous bakeries still churning out baked goods hand crafted on their premises. Listed here are just a few of the many with four of the six listed here using organic ingredients in some or all of their products.  All are delicious – you can do a taste testing tour and decide which are your personal favorites.

The Barcelona Reykjavik Bakery uses old variety grains such as spelt and kamut, as well as rice, corn, rye and oats – all organic, and all grown in Spain. The spelt flour comes from Asturias. They make a variety of breads and pastries – some plain, some unusually flavored. They also offer vegan and “low-gluten” and gluten-free options. Barcelona Reykjavik also does not use industrial yeast, but rather a starter as their leavening made from corn, peas, spelt and honey. Barcelona Reykjavik has two store locations both lined with gleaming white tiles. The store in the Raval area is four blocks west of La Rambla, and a couple of blocks north of La Boqueria market. The Gracia store is easily reached, one block from the Metro Fontana. Be prepared to pay for this delicious well made bread –some loaves are 8 euros. Both stores are open from Monday to Saturday 10:00 am to 9:30 pm. Barcelona Reykjavik Bakery, Doctor Dou, 12 (Raval), and Asturies 20, (Gracia), Barcelona; Tel: 933 020 921; E-mail:; Web: (in Spanish, Catalan and English)

The Mistral Bakery has been housed by the University Plaza since 1879 and makes a range of breads and pastries in its wood-fired oven including certified organic breads. Mistral Bakery (Forn Mistral), Ronda Sant Antoni, 96 and around the corner at c/ Torres i Amat 7, Barcelona; Tel.: 93 301 80 37; Email:; Web:; Metro: Universitat; open Monday to Saturday from 7:30 am to 9:00 pm.

The one hundred year old bakery, Forn Fortino, uses their original wood-fired oven to bake their wide variety of breads by third generation family bakers. They make traditional breads and pastries as well as options with organic flour, and some without wheat or sugar. The closest metro stop is Fontana about seven blocks away. Forn Fortino, Travessera de Gracia 145, Barcelona; Tel: 932 373 873; Email:; Web:; open Monday to Friday from 6:30 am to 2:00pm/5:00 to 8:45 pm, Saturday from 6:30 am to 2:30 pm.

Born into a family of bakers, Xavier Barriga has been baking since he was fourteen and wanted to perfect his art making artisanal breads using natural leavening and quality ingredients. He founded Turris, rated as the best bakery in Barcelona by Barcelona Time-Out Magazine. Be prepared to wait in line for ten to twenty minutes to buy your baked goods, and expect to pay for quality -- do not go in with just a euro or two to spend – have at least ten euros in your pocket. Turris is four blocks from the Diagonal Metro stop. Turris, c/ Aribau 158, 08036 Barcelona; Tel: 932 179 606; Email:; Web: (in Spanish and Catalan)

Founded in 1953, the third-generation bakers at Forn d’en Pere make reasonably priced (2 euro/loaf) artisan bread with their own recipes offering fifty varieties of breads many with whole grains and seeds. Forn d’en Pere, Saints 326, 08028 Barcelona; Tel: 934 401 436; open Monday to Saturday from 6:00 am to 2:30 pm/ 5:00 to 8:30 pm.

Baluard is a bakery in the Barceloneta section of Barcelona making bread and pastries in the French-style with fresh baguettes, croissants, and whole grain varieties. Located a few blocks from the Barceloneta metro stop, by the beach and the Mercat Barceloneta (Market). Baluard, Calle Baluard, 38, Barceloneta, Barcelona; Tel: 932 211 208; open Monday to Saturday from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm.


Jen Risher said...

I have lived in Barcelona for four years and there truly has been a recent insurgence of real bread in the city. It's great! One that you missed is Crusto located on calle València 246.

Debby said...

we're barcelona/reykyavik fans and happy that we don't have to schlep down to dr dou anymore since they opened one up on c/asturies about a year or two ago. if it's sliced thinly enough, but not too thin, it's just right.

paul varies from shop to shop because it's a franchise. the bread is the same at all of them, but the croissant...we found the best to be from c/valencia. (but croissant in barcelona is another sad story, although we've found some good sources.)

crusto's baguette's are really good (i think it's the same guy, israeli/french, who used to work at boulard), and it's a great space.

since we live in gràcia, boulard is not in our radar, but it would be, if we lived in barceloneta.

in spain, the best bread we've found is in galicia. because it's atlantic and not mediterrean?

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