I lived in Barcelona for 6 years and as I am a big cake and pastry fan, I knew all about Pasteleria Escribà. This is one of Barcelona’s most famous patisseries and it is has been in operation since 1906. At present, the patisserie is run by fourth generation pastry chef, Christian Escribà.
As I had a two week easter holiday from college, I really wanted to gain some practical experience in a patisserie. I’m currently a pastry chef in a 5* hotel kitchen but it’s a very different type of product and service from a patisserie, so I was lucky enough to be able to have a two week stage at Pasteleria Escribà over the easter holidays.
Having been a client of this patisserie for some time, I just love the work they produce. To me, it’s like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Every time I visit there is something different. Therefore, I was very excited at the chance to gain an insight in to how they work, especially at Easter time when there is lots of chocolate production.
The “mona” is a special easter chocolate structure which traditionally godparents buy for their godchildren. The prices of these structures start from about 50€ and can go into the thousands depending on what you’re after! I find it unbelievable that they spend so much on chocolate for children but I suppose it is one of these cultural differences that make the world interesting! The “mona” can also be a cake with little easter eggs on it.
There are various departments in the patisserie and I was placed in the chocolate department as this was their busiest time and I certainly wasn’t complaining! Dani Dominguez Rodellar is the head chocolatier who looked after me whilst I was there. This man is a real chocolate genius. Apart from being a chocolate genius, he has the patience of a saint! The first few days I was very nervous working with chocolate as I’ve not had lots of experience working with it but Dani threw me in at the deep end and made me believe that I can do it.
One of the first projects that I was working on was making the Disney “Frozen” castle. This took 2.5 days work and I now understand why these structures do cost what they do. Every piece was hand made and put together by hand. A real artesan chocolate piece!
This was the castle just waiting to be finished off with a few final details such as the traditional easter chicks and feathers. All “monas” are decorated with these!
I also got to make some chocolate high heels which I think are gorgeous. The only thing is that working with white chocolate is not easy as it can get very soft quickly with the heat of your hand. These are moulds which are sold in the patisserie and I just love them!!!!
One of the other structures we made were the minions. These were my favourite as every one had a different expression and look on their face, and had their own personality! These were also extremely popular with the children that came into the patisserie!
Apart from making all the easter “monas” there are chocolate decorations which are needed on a daily basis for the patisserie items and one of them is the chocolate fans. These are not made from modelling chocolate, but tempered chocolate. However this requires a lot of skill and practice. It is something I will have to practice again and again to get it right but the first attempts at the fans were not too bad……although I don’t think these ones could be sold to the public!
This is one of the other “monas” I helped make which is the lion king! The only thing that is not edible in the photo is the little lion plastic toys and the easter chicks. The palm trees are made of chocolate and some dried coconut.
This was a little “mona” made after a Catalan TV puppet called MIC. This was aimed for toddlers and small kiddies and it cost around 25€ so it could be had on its own or put on top of a cake.
This was a fantastic eperience where I learned so much over the two weeks and it was great to see how a real patisserie works. I would like to thank Christian Escribà and Patricia Schmidt for making this possible and I would also like to thank Dani Dominguez Rodellar and Oscar Hernández Viciana for their patience with me whilst in the kitchen!
If you are ever in the Barcelona area on holiday, Pasteleria Escribà is on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 546 in the L’Eixample area.