Thursday, September 17, 2015

A disappearing tradition: a wood oven bakery

The weekend we spent a few days in the mountain zone outside Barcelona in a village called Sant Boi del Lluçanès. And while we were there amidst the tranquility of the wooded hills, the perfect late summer temperatures with a barbeque and a fireplace in the evening we were given a treat: the chance to see one of the few remaining wood oven bakeries where the traditional style has not given way to a more 21st century approach.  

The Sant Boi bakery is not only for the people who run it (wonderful people), but also for the quality of their products. There was a long line of people all day to buy the bread, different kinds of coques (a traditional pastry), croissants, etc. Their secret? Continuing on with the traditions of baking the different doughs the sme way they've always done it, with a wood-fired oven. The taste of the bread changes subtly, but it's definitely noticeable. It's tough to describe but I think the best comparison I can come up with is the difference between a nice steak cooked on the stove versus one grilled on the barbeque. It simply taste better!

Thanks to the Pujals bakery in Sant Boi and a few others scattered around that have maintained (and in some cases rescued) this traditional style, we can still enjoy our freshly-baked bread with the same taste that our grandparents enjoyed when they told us about the good old days. This shop actually forms a part of a "bread route" in the area, which takes us to different establishments to learn about the production of the bread and how it was traditionally made. The route shows us some of the secretes of the old bakers, from the wheat fields to a flour mill and finally to the bakery itself.

I'll leave you with an insider's photographic journey through the bakery to encourage you to come visit and get to know not only the traditions they are working to keep alive but also the people and the treasures hidden within the mountains just outside of Barcelona.


A special thank you to Ariadna Casas for some of the photos that she gave us and to the Pujals bakery for their hospitality and for showing us first hand how they are keeping the tradition alive.

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