Food Porn Friday: Bubo Chocolatier and Dessert Shop, Barcelona

Posted on
Feb 24, 2012

Follow the nose ... it always knows.

People are constantly marveling at my sense of sense of smell, which I find rather amusing.

I tap my large and glorious nose, smile, and say, “What, you think this thing is just for show?”

And while my memory is fading a bit on precisely how we ended up at Bubo, a high end dessert shop in Barcelona, I would like to think it was my nose that led us there.

We’d spent the day meandering, and now found ourselves near the Basilica Santa Maria del Mar, along with a throng of tourists and locals, watching a bride and groom walk down the church steps and into a beautiful black Bentley together. And amidst the smell of roses and perfume, I swore I could detect chocolate, and that was what pulled us towards the sweet shop.

I could be wrong. It might have been that the store looked upscale and minimalist, and that caught Rand’s attention, because he loves things that are upscale and minimalist (fortunately, he does not require that life partners meet this standard). But I would like to think it was my nose. I had to go through middle school with this thing, so please, let me have this, okay?

It was mid-afternoon on a weekend, and the shop was mobbed. The noise, the crowd, the array of sweets in front of us – gloriously crafted, each a miniature work of art – was disorienting. I struggled to focus, and when the gentleman behind the counter asked us what we wanted, I randomly pointed at a few confections. He picked up one erroneously – it was not the one I had selected – but it looked just as good as the others, so I didn’t bother correcting him.

The prices were shockingly reasonable, too. Everything was between $5-7, about half of what I'd expect to pay in NYC for the same thing.

This is one comforting thing about Bubo: you can’t really make a wrong decision. There was an array of macaroons as vibrant as an artist’s palette, and a flamboyant display of eclairs, and I’d have been happy with any of them.

The staff is polite but brusque, and they don't mind too much if you take photos.

We ended up with a raspberry mousse tart and a chocolate-hazelnut napoleon (though I had actually wanted the chocolate espresso torte).

The silver ball was a chocolate-raspberry truffle.

The mouse was a textural marvel – light and whipped. It tasted tart and sweet, just like a fresh raspberry, despite bearing little resemblance to the fruit that inspired it.

The napoleon was a coup. While humble-looking compared to its decadent compatriots, it was rich and complex. It put to shame any other chocolate-hazelnut sweet I’ve had, dethroning even Nutella, that ubiquitous king of filberts and cocoa.

Amidst the glory of finding the shop, two tragedies took place that afternoon. The first was that I had to share. Weirdly, I didn’t mind all that much (I don’t know what was wrong with me. Perhaps it was the jet-lag).

The second tragedy was this:

A delicious morsel slipped unceremoniously from my plastic spoon and onto the cold ground. I stared at it, heart-broken. Later, I would take solace in this idea: that the scent of that lost bite would catch on the wind, and would lead some other sweet-loving big-nosed gal to the shop.

And she would stare at the confections, and thank the heavens for her giant, glorious nose, and all the wonders it brought her.

Note: Bubo is located at Caputxes 10, in Barcelona’s El Born neighborhood. The New York Times wrote about them back in 2007. There is apparently a bar adjacent with tapas and snacks, but we went straight for the dessert shop. 

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