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Coca Sant Joan

The best Sant Joan cocas in Barcelona

Where to get the tastiest and best-quality pastry traditionally eaten for Sant Joan and summer solstice parties

By Ricard Martín
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I'd hazard a guess that the traditional holiday dessert that gets Catalans the most excited is the Sant Joan coca: the summer solstice treat has spurned a variety of recipes based on the original. And without straying too far from that original, you can try coca with candied fruit and marzipan, filled with cream or whipped cream, and adorned with pine nuts, chocolate or even pork scratchings. In any of the trusted bakeries below you can get yourself a coca (or a selection of them) to celebrate the shortest night of the year on June 21, as well as the weekend festivities for Sant Joan on June 23 and 24.

Sant Joan coca for all tastes

Bubó

Restaurants Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera

The avant-garde confectioner Charles Mampel, winner of many awards and praised by 'The New York Times', pulls an ace from his white baker's sleeve every Sant Joan. The surprise for the 2018 holiday is impressive indeed: a savoury brioche coca with tomato, beetroot and basil that also happens to be a vegan recipe. And what's great about Bubó is that any new creations that sell very well end up being offered year-round. Sure, you can get traditional cream-filled or candied-fruit cocas at Bubó, but specialities like the brioche coca filled with gianduja and rose petals, or the one with chocolate pearls, candied orange and pine nuts are already modern classics that are available every year.

Panes Creativos by Daniel Jordà

Shopping Pâtisseries Nou Barris

Daniel Jordà is a baker, but he's not just any baker. He bakes bread for some of the biggest chefs in Spain, and in his shop you can find haute cuisine breads. This applies to his Sant Joan cocas as well. What's new for 2018? A Japanese-style variety, which is a fusion of Japanese Hokkaido milk bread with the Catalan tradition of coca. The resulting kokkaido is made of four spongy layers of strawberry, chocolate, matcha and yuzu. At Panes Creativos you'll also find traditional cocas (fruit, angel's hair, pork scratchings, chocolate...) as well as their surprising mojito coca.

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Turris
© Turris

Turris

Shopping

Master baker Xavier Barriga creates artisan and traditional cocas, made with naturally sweet sourdough, with no frozen ingredients, and with the right fermentation and waiting period. You'll find all the varieties and shapes anyone's ever thought of for coca: candied fruit, cream-filled, chocolate and orange, with nuts, and others made of puff pastry like the pork scratchings classic. But without a doubt the biggest surprise is one Barriga came up with a couple of years ago: brioche with cream, pineapple and pine nuts.

Xacolata

Restaurants

A quality coca can be the proof of everyday mastery for any baker, and in Xacolata you'll find an admirable sampling. Jordi Sala has been decorated more than Patton (Torreblanca, Escribà, Mas Pau, El Bulli), and his bakery is where he makes some of the best high-end pastries in the neighbourhood. You'll find all the Sant Joan classics (candied fruit, angel's hair, cream) in delicate, smooth versions, and for better prices than you might come across in other bakeries in Poblenou.

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Forn La Cantonada

Shopping Bakeries

This Sant Martí bakery opened in 1930, though the great-grandfather of the current owner was a breadmaker back at the start of the 19th century. Five generations of artisan bread without changing the family business means they've got their formula down for making good Sant Joan cocas. The base ingredients include no artifical colours and no preservatives – just eggs, flour, butter, sugar and lemon, and then the ingredients that go with each recipe. For example, the one with pine nuts, another with candied fruit, the one with pork scratchings, and the one with pasteurized cream (to avoid the chance of contracting holiday-ruining salmonella).

Boldú
© Boldú

Boldú

The Boldú family of bakers have modernised their image and what they bake, with their star attraction being 'boldnuts' (sinfully gorgeous doughnuts) and 'boldumans', which are basically boldnuts in the shape of little people. They apply this same flair of fun to their Sant Joan cocas, so that in addition to the traditional flavours and shapes, you can also get 'cocamans': little people-shaped cocas made of soft brioche with praline or chocolate, cream-filled, or with select pork scratchings.

Boldú. Provença, 233. Tel. 93 467 45 42

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Escribà

Shopping Bakeries El Raval

In one of the oldest, most famous patisseries in the city, Christian Escribà has revolutionised traditional patisserie and cake-making with his creativity and custom-made cakes and pastries. And although for Sant Joan at Escribà they  bake up something special each year, you'll still find the usual suspects made with impeccable mastery (and the finesse of avant-garde chefs). All their cocas are taste delights, whether you opt for puff pastry with chocolate, candied fruit, pork scratchings, cream or angel's hair. You can even get a sugar-free cream variety.

Cruixent
© Ivan Giménez

Forn Cruixent

Shopping Bakeries El Poblenou

At Cruixent, in Poblenou, Josep Anton Ribas serves an intensely fragrant, very fine coca with no large air pockets. The secret comes from years of work as a consultant at a flour mill: a formula that combines wheat and corn flours in addition to natural yeast and a long fermentation period. In addition to coca, at Cruixent you'll also find all types of bread and baked goods, all of excellent quality. The Sant Joan cocas are almost too good. But if you want to celebrate the festivities with coca all night long, you can have tasty savoury ones for dinner that are topped with vegetables, 'botifarra' sausage, or even herring – excellent, every one of them.

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