“I just fancy something chocolate-y!” Mo kept saying to me as we strolled down the Passeig de Gracia.
It was our last afternoon in Barcelona and after five days of non stop exploring (predominantly on foot), I was not in the mood to go on a hunt for chocolate.
We were both tired – really tired! However, almost as though the City had heard his call, did we find ourselves on the block of discord, Illa de la Discordia, right outside Casa Amatller – a stunning modernist building that blended neatly onto a road surrounded by the majesty of Gaudi architecture.
Recalling what we had learnt from our Gaudi tour, the financiers (usually wealthy families) of these incredible structures loved to weave the stories of their careers and how they made their money, into the buildings they commissioned. Mr Amatller was considered the foremost chocolatier of Spain so surely the bright café sign inside would be inspired by his legacy and fulfil Mo’s chocolate craving at the same time.
The building was designed by the architect Joseph Puig i Cadafalch and is considered one the most important architectural masterpieces of the MANY that dominate Barcelona. The large open doorway led to a cavernous entrance hall and Cafe Foborit occupies the back of the house.
It was busy, even though it wasn’t a peak time of the day, there was a real hustle and bustle of people wandering from the cafe to shop and back. We walked through to the small courtyard at the back and found a lovely spot by the large planted wall. The hustle and bustle was no more and instead we were sat in a serene oasis, the odd Gaudi elements still in view.
No sooner had I settled myself down than Mo had disappeared?! He emerged explaining in excited wonderment, what he had just seen: THICK. HOT. CHOCOLATE. ON. TAP. He said it was like a dream. His eyes were the biggest I’d ever seen them go!
10 minutes had passed and the waitresses came and went. No sign of our hot chocolates or cake. Now I’m not usually a fan of chocolate (crazy, I know), but when Mo explained that literally everyone was ordering it and that it looked amazing, even I was anxious to see what the hype was about. 15 minutes came and went and there was still no order.
My husband is not known for his patience and by this point was getting a bit agitated. He went in to find out what had happened and it turns out a waitress had actually emerged with our order even before Mo had returned from paying. They were very apologetic about it and a fresh order was produced minutes later (Thank God, as it could easily have been murder on the chocolatier’s floor!).
What can I say, as a non-chocolate fan, even I enjoyed this cup of unctuous, molten cocoa. Neither too sweet, nor too bitter, it coated my palate with the smoothest hot chocolate I had ever had. Simply delicious. Although I was a bit taken aback when I saw there was a piece of crusty bread on my saucer. I looked at Mo in utter confusion, what was I supposed to do with this?! he assured me it was to dip in the chocolate. Always one for giving new things a try (even though it seemed a bit wrong) and lo and behold it was actually quite nice, dusted with a sprinkling of icing sugar it was very addictive.
This was a perfect break to all of the walking we had been doing. We didn’t want to leave!
Post hot chocolates and cake, and with our legs by now well-rested, we headed in to the gift shop. BAD idea – as after that little cup of paradise, all Mo wanted to do was buy everything! There goes his diet. To have left without our own slabs of solid cocoa from which to make the famed hot chocolate would have been criminal. So we bought some – maybe even more than some…
Souvenirs in hand, we went back out into the stunning hallway. We were both dying to explore this incredible building but it was closed to the public for while. A real shame as couldn’t help but wonder what the rest of the interiors would look like.
The most wonderful thing about this building is that it still stands as a monument to what is was built for – the finest purveyor of chocolate that Spain has ever seen. And with that one cup, we got to savour just a little bit of it’s history.
For chocolate-lovers and lovers of architecture alike, no trip to Barcelona should be complete without a visit to Casa Amatller.
Trust me, you won’t regret it 🙂
Have you visited the block of discord? Tried the chocolate at Café Faborit? Or have you found anywhere better we should check out next time?