I think it’s fair to say that food in Spain is absolutely delicious… until you taste the cakes. No matter what the occasion is, cakes always seem to be almond or aniseed flavour and tend to take one of three forms: 1) the bready bun, 2) the bland sponge, or 3) the dry pastry. On the whole, not too tasty.
Coming from the UK, perhaps I have been spoiled by the array of moist and buttery cakes. After all, baking is one of our favourite past-times and televised baking competitions attract millions of viewers every week. Searching Barcelona far and wide for cakes with local flavours that really stand out has led me to somewhere a little bit special in the heart of the Gothic Quarter: Caelum.
Tucked away on C/ Palla and approximately 2 mins walk from the beautiful Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, Caelum’s soft beige signs and candlelit tables are a soothing sight after a hard or tiring day. At the entrance there is a shop mostly selling liqueurs and biscuits made by several monasteries and convents. Although they aren’t always cheap, these gifts can make really interesting (and delicious) souvenirs.
If you continue to the cellar you will find yourself in the ‘crypt’ café, where the stone walls and candles offer a relaxing retreat. There’s an extensive drinks menu and you’ll see a beautifully displayed selection of cakes, again, made by several monasteries and convents. From the classic chocolate brownie to acorn cake (who knew that was edible?!), there is an irresistible selection to choose from and staff will help you decide. Whilst it isn’t the cheapest place in town (a pot of tea and a cake can easily cost around 7€), it’s good quality and service is friendly. Have a look at this video to get an idea of the atmosphere.
Oh, and I’m still looking for a good carrot cake if you happen to know of anywhere!