9 culinary traditions to discover during Barcelona’s fiestas

traditions culinaires fêtes Barcelone

Unlock the secrets of Barcelona’s culinary traditions by savoring their rich culinary heritage at traditional festivals.

Barcelona, the vibrant capital of Catalonia in Spain, is renowned for its festive celebrations that showcase the richness of its local gastronomy. The traditional festivals that enliven the city throughout the year are an opportunity to savor unique traditional dishes and recipes, true testaments to the region’s culinary heritage. From the sweet delights of St. John’s Day to the hearty fare of Christmas, each festival has its own culinary specialties to delight your taste buds.

In this article, we invite you to immerse yourself in Barcelona’s festive atmosphere by discovering the authentic flavors and culinary traditions that make every holiday a memorable experience. Wherever you are in the city, get ready to feast and discover unique tastes. Ready to go?

La coca de Sant Joan or Midsummer cake

gâteau de la Saint-Jean

Shutterstock – Lecker Studio



Discover the wonderful coca de Sant Joan, a traditional Midsummer cake in Barcelona. Its soft dough, made with flour, eggs and dried fruit, is imbued with a mysterious symbolism linked to the Sun. With its rounded shape and size that doubles its width, this sweet treat is a real treat for the taste buds.

According to legend, eating coca outdoors was recommended to ward off bad luck. Join the festivities and savor this delicious pastry on June 23, during the St. John’s Day celebrations.

Panellets

panellets

Shutterstock – Lecker Studio

As you can imagine, gastronomy plays a central role in Barcelona’s traditional festivals. One of the must-try specialties is panellets. These delicious little cakes are made with almonds, sugar, egg white and sweet potato or floury potato. What makes these sweets absolutely irresistible is that they are rolled in pine nuts, offering a crunchy texture and exquisite taste.

Panellets are closely linked to the celebration of All Saints’ Day in Catalonia, where they were traditionally served at funeral meals to accompany the recitation of prayers. This tradition dates back to the 18th century, and was intended to provide participants with a source of energy to last through the night while the bells rang.

Tortell de Reis or Kings’ Cake

Tortell de Reis

Shutterstock – J2r

While you’re in Barcelona, try the famous Tortell de Reis, known as the Kings’ Cake. This delicious buoy-shaped brioche, scented with orange blossom and filled with sugar and candied fruit, will delight your taste buds.

But that’s not all! This cake hides a surprise: two beans, one representing one of the Three Wise Men in porcelain, and a classic bean. Whoever finds the king or queen becomes the ruler of the day, and whoever finds the bean has to pay for the cake. A gourmet and convivial experience to share with your loved ones on January 6 during Epiphany in Barcelona.

Bunyols de Quaresma or bougnettes

Bunyols de Quaresma

Shutterstock – Nito

Bougnettes, also known as Bunyols de Quaresma, are must-try doughnuts made with leavened dough, butter, eggs, cinnamon, lemon zest, aniseed liqueur and sugar. Light and airy, these sweets are generally eaten during Lent and Holy Week. You’ll find them in Barcelona’s patisseries on Wednesdays and Fridays during Holy Week.

Easter Mona

Mona de Pâques

Shutterstock – Katarzyna Hurova

Another specialty not to be missed is the « mona », a sweet crown made of bread dough offered by godparents to their godchildren on Easter Monday. The word « mona » comes from the Arabic « munna », meaning provisions offered as gifts. It’s the perfect occasion to celebrate the end of Lent in the Catholic tradition. To sample these delicacies, visit Barcelona’s traditional pastry shops during Holy Week and Easter Monday.

L’Escudella de Nadal

Escudella de Nadal

Shutterstock – Mariontxa

If you’re spending Christmas in Barcelona, try the Escudella de Nadal, a meat and vegetable stew seasoned with garlic and parsley, served as a starter at Christmas dinner. Don’t miss the galets, a meat-stuffed pasta that adds a gourmet touch to Catalan Christmas dishes.

Canelons

canelons

Shutterstock – Nito

Among the typical dishes of Barcelona’s traditional festivities, the delicious canelons are a pure delight. These pasta rolls stuffed with meat or vegetarian variants, served with a béchamel sauce and grated cheese, are traditionally eaten on December 26, the day of Sant Estève.

Torrons

torrons

Shutterstock – Manuel Milan

Among the wonderful Catalan specialties, torró holds a special place. This sweet delicacy, often presented in the form of nougat, is a veritable institution in Barcelona. There are many different types of torró, including the famous torró de Xixona, torró d’Agramunt and torró à la crème brulée. Catalonia even revisits these traditional recipes, adding bold modern flavors such as chocolate, yogurt, pineapple, coconut, blueberry, papaya, crema catalana and candied fruit!

For a taste of these delights, visit Torrons Vicens, founded in 1775, where the recipe for torró d’Agramunt is jealously guarded. They are traditionally eaten during the Christmas season in Barcelona, an ideal opportunity to indulge and discover the city’s culinary traditions.

Neules

neules

Shutterstock – Nito

Among the most popular culinary traditions are neules, delicious thin, crisp cookies dating back to the 13th century. Here too, during the Christmas season, these delicacies are particularly popular. You can eat them on their own, dipped in a glass of Cava or Moscatell, or enjoy them with a delicious Catalan cream or ice cream sundae. Neules can even be prepared in a more sophisticated way, stuffed with torró de Xixona or chocolate.

Preparing neules is a real art. In the past, they were made by hand in waffle irons called « neulers ». The neule dough was then cooked in the hot press of the neulers, releasing a deliciously fragrant smoke. After baking, the neules were carefully rolled by hand, adding a touch of authenticity to this delicacy.

Now that you’re familiar with the culinary delights that accompany Barcelona’s traditional fiestas, all that’s left to do is immerse yourself in this unique taste experience. Share your suggestions and discoveries with us in the comments. Are you ready to treat yourself and discover the authentic flavors of Barcelona’s traditional festivities?