Chocolate industry in Barcelona
When cocoa reaches the peninsula it is gradually accepted and vaunted although its price is exorbitant and processing is secret for years. Initially consumption was relegated to the palatial and religious environment, but we also know that there would be administered to some patients for its food and refreshing character. Gradually the social needle expanded and decreased amount being increasingly appreciated by the Spanish and European society.
One of the areas where the greatest impact was the modernization of the handmade chocolate that had been made with his revolution was industrially Catalonia.
Barcelona being the first place where the first industrial fabric was developed, and where the Catalan chocolate tradition begins in the making of professionalized product with the appearance of the first chocolatiers sector unions.
Barcelona, Agramunt and Tárrega would be the standard bearers cities but also followed by other peoples who have made the chocolate one of its flagship products as Navarcles and delicious “Rocs de Sant Benet, Vilobí d’Onyar and “tosquigues”, Vilafranca with its famous “Catànies”, Reus with “Rosa de Reus” waves “Rajoles” or Cardedeu and precious “Cacaolat” among other.
In Barcelona the two guilds could sell the product were of “Millers chocolate” and of druggists (Catalan “adroguers“, responsible for marketing the products overseas), who always kept together bickering and harsh accusations about adulteration and its quality. Tests to be part of both unions were arduous and very protocol and if something they shared really were the fact left out of the office for women.
Surely the smell of cocoa was one of the scents perfumed the streets of Barcelona in those days, because no record of twenty mills in the s. XIX. A smell that certainly should also be detached from the cars carrying the product, as it was common among wealthy families to hire service professionals to make “chocolate a la piedra” or “la cuita” as it was known, in their own home. This was a very tough, physical and tiring compared to the facilities granted mills work.
In addition to the mills it was also of great importance factory activity. For example, where today is located the Casa Fuster (at the beginning of Big Gracia Avenue) was running the Chocolate Factory Juncosa, house founded in 1835, which would become next to chocolate Amatller in chocolatier banner of the city.
Precisely the Amatller House, one of the forerunners jewels of Modernism also located in Paseo de Gracia, is one of the relics of the gastronomic heritage that treasures the city. Visible in the art that decorates your space: from the columns with sculptural motifs around the chocolate as tablets, instrumental or eggs, to the collection of utensils and tableware as the “Xicra” object where it was served and melted the standard measure ( 5 or 6 cl).
And of course, we cannot fail to mention the value of traditional Monas de Pasqua – Easter cakes. A tradition whose origin (without chocolate) dates back to s. XV and whose roots are linked to European rites related to the crops with the egg as a symbol of fertility. The first consisted of Catalonian Monas unleavened bread with oil and sugar were accompanied by boiled eggs painted, the tradition of the monkey revitalize in Barcelona and Catalonian Monas become popular with chocolate eggs.
Thanks to the efforts of the Guild of Confectioners and its events at the Palau de la Virreina be achieved stoke the theme creativity and skill its professionals chocolatiers who have managed to make this dessert a symbol of the gastronomy Spanish. Today the best Catalonian Eastern Monas can be seen at the Chocolate Museum, An institution that should take into account, especially the smaller face, thanks to activities scheduled.
In short, it is impossible to disassociate the cocoa to the city of Barcelona. A historian named Martí Escayol defined it:
A review of the history of this product is much more than the story of a sweet. It is also the history of culture, art, technology and, ultimately, an entire region.