Fab 40: Chocolate
Ask any Barcelonese which city is Europe’s capital of chocolate and they will point to their hometown. This surprising answer is not just do with their renowned sense of superiority. It was the Spanish conquistadores who, after all, introduced cacao to Europe and the first commercial chocolate machine was invented in Barcelona. Traditional chocolate and cake shops can be seen all over the city, but a few years ago chocolate making and graphic arts merged into a trend known as ‘designer chocolate’.
Xocoa was one of the torchbearers. They contracted the local design firm Mucho to come up with a logo and snappy wrappers (Mucho also conceived the award-winning packaging for Demasié, Xocoa’s new biscuit venture). Others such as the Cadíz-based Pancracio and Chocolat Factory were started by entrepreneurs with backgrounds in design.
Parallel to this phenomenon, chocolate making was elevated to the heights of haute cuisine with an ever-increasing range of flavours and textures. Cacao Sampaka, which was co-founded Albert Adría (brother of Ferran, of El Bulli) produce beautifully packaged bon-bons that run the united colours of tastes, from New World spices to flowers and herbs.
Master chocolatiers Xavier Mor and Oriol Balaguer expand their product with the skills of a Michelin chef, scouring the world for the best base ingredients and continually experimenting with new flavour combinations and textures, producing chocolate that is highly sophisticated, aesthetically pleasing - and very good to eat.