Ham and Brie Croissant
White Chocolate Marzipan Croissant
Blueberry Coffee Cake
Pinenut Cream Brioche
Personally not the sort to stay at swanky hotels, but happy to benefit from the on-site dining options available to those who prioritize such things, it was for an early breakfast in Barcelona that a stop was made at Forn Baluard where an impressive Pastry display and pleasant seating awaits those with reservations at Hotel Praktik Bakery while those just visiting are invited to enjoy their food on either the patio or standing inside depending on availability.
Conceptualized by Anna Bellsolà, her childhood raised in bakeries by bakers clearly giving her an education in and passion for great Bread and classic techniques that have since birthed both her original store and the one now incorporated into the boutique hotel, guests arriving at Hotel Praktik by either the street or elevator will quickly be struck by the sheer volume of daily options, nearly three-dozen styles of Bread offered in the Restaurant’s repertoire along with nearly as many sweet and savory smaller items available daily.
Featuring counter-style ordering and quick lines, the whole process of ordering, paying and collecting goods easily completed in less than ten minutes even with a line that trickled out the door, it was with the space fairly busy on a Wednesday that two guests were offered seats on the patio where a rough-speaking smoker had unfortunately already taken up residence, the smell of cigarettes unfortunately compromising things a bit though first bites of the oven-warmed Ham and Brie Croissant still spoke of good things to come with the outside flaky and interior structure well maintained even though the buttery Viennoiserie had been sliced.
Not known as a city for great Bread, the few historic bakeries of Barcelona mostly focusing on Desserts and Cakes with the artisan baking movement really only beginning to catch on in the last decade, it was with the Ham and Cheese saved for those more fond of savory breakfasts that attention next focused on two filled Croissants, the Almond unfortunately a bit too moist with filling that was neither Frangipane nor overly sweet but still too thick while the White Chocolate Marzipan option fared far better with airy pockets inside and plenty of creamy half-melted Chocolate Chips.
Mostly impressed by the quality considering the volume, a wedge of Blueberry Coffee Cake slightly drier than those found Stateside but still pleasant with a lot of natural Fruit flavor, those looking for Forn Baluard’s standout items should take a look at those filled with Custard, the glazed Apricots atop a lightly browned Crust still nice and sour with soft flesh while the Pinenut Brioche was soft and eggy even on the ends, not to mention the middle which was saturated and topped with Toasted Pinenuts and the contrasting texture of Pearl Sugar.