When passing by Oriol Balaguer on the corner of 44 Ortega y Gasset Street and General Pardiñas Street, your first impression might be that of a high-end jewelry store. Actually, it is a pastry shop with sweets placed on display as works of art. There is actually a showcase where the creation of the month is exhibited as if it were the crown jewel.
Oriol Balaguer was born into a family of chocolatier in Calafell, Tarragona. From a young age he knew that chocolate was going to be an important part of his life and after spending 7 years working with Ferran Adriá at El Bulli among other places, he decided to open his first store in Barcelona later expanding within the city, Madrid and over to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia not to mention that he has official distributors around the globe.
What can you find at Oriol Balaguer? Well, chocolate of course. His bonbons have the shape of the coco bean and the flavors vary from Tahatian vanilla, yuzu, Earl Grey tea, Ethiopian coffee, raspberry with ginger, passion fruit but one of the most unique ones is the mascletá which has pop rock candy. The name mascletá comes from Valencia where mascletá is a synonym for fireworks, so the idea behind this bonbon is that of an explosion in your mouth. Every time we give this chocolate to friends we get a kick out of watching their surprise when the candy starts to burst.
But there is more to Oriol Balaguer then just chocolates, the cakes are scrumptious. We usually go for the tropical fruit cakes but the 8 textures of Chocolate also called Chocolate Paradigm is one of the most well-known. In 2001 it was chosen as best dessert in the world.
I am a personal fan of the cocktails and the glasses. The cocktails are a cookie base with a hint of pop rock candy topped with different flavors such a chocolate, passion fruit, vanilla, apple, raspberry… These make great party desserts as they are small bite-size and come in a variety of different flavors. You can cater make your box so that you only take home your favorites.
The glasses are as you might imagine, a dessert in a glass. You have the more typical chocolate and tiramisu and the more exotic mojito and gin tonic among others. I personally love the tiramisu.
The puff pastry is to die for. The croissants flake just right and there is a wide array of choices to brighten anyone’s breakfast. It is a shame that there isn’t a proper cafeteria space so everything has to be take-away.
So here you have it, a glimpse of dessert heaven.