I picked up a paper cone of these at the craft market set up on the Rambla last night. It was more out of pity than pure gluttony because the poor vendor had been sitting in some of the worse downpour I have seen in a long time.
These Catalonian classics were selling out like hot cakes on ‘All Saints Day’, which is when they are traditionally served.
Made of a delicate sugary almond paste and rolled in toasted pine nuts, Panellets are washed down with a glass of Moscatel or Cava .
Every so often you come across a modern gastronomical invention which is just great ! Meet this: a towering frozen yogurt swirl with a choice of 36 different toppings.
There are two competing frozen yoghurt parlours here and both are on the Rambla: Smöoy and Llaollao with Llaollao being the more popular because it’s open the whole year (personally I think Smöoy has the edge over Llaollao due to the bigger topping variety and their yoghurt tastes less pasteurised) .
The one on show came as original yoghurt with a lash of liquid torron and caramelized pecan nuts, deliciously perfect.
These wonderful Pastissets are small parcels of pastry filled with pumpkin jam (Cabell d’àngel) which gives the filling it’s lovely texture. They are not overly sweet but dusted in sugar for extra crunchiness. You can get them from the main Market and any decent bakery/patisserie in town. I have mine with a nice cortado (shot of coffee) for a little afternoon break.
This is a wonderful local desert consisting of a rich custard made with real vanilla and a touch of lemon. This is cooled and then topped with sugar which is caramellised under a grill or with a small blow torch (which are sold everywhere, proof of how popular this dish really is) and served is a round terracotta dish.
There is a big promotion of everything “Romesco” at the moment, and since this is generally served with fish the best place to head for is the Serallo, the port area of Tarragona, where all the main fish restaurant are located.
Another great example of sweet coca this one topped with pine nuts and filled with pumpkin jam (Cabell d’àngel) which is also the typical filling for Pastissets (more about those later).
Coque is the Tarragona equivalent of pizza and, when it comes to toppings, anything goes from sweet to savory. They are generally on sale already made and presented in long flat pieces which are cut to size with a pair of large scissors and sold for about £2 apiece.
This was lunch today at the Ca de Oscar in Placa de Rei. Mussels and cockles cooked in onion tomato and their own juices, fried squid with roasted peppers and, to finish off some lovely cheesecake. You get the lot including the coffee and (any) drink for just over 13 Euros.
This chilled, subtle, almondy, slightly sweet, milky looking drink is one of the most subtle and refreshing things you can get in this part of the world.