FC Barçelona’s epic comeback against Paris Saint Germain in European football’s Champions League last March is among the inspiration for ‘Mona de Pascua’ or Easter cake in one of Barcelona’s most emblematic pastry shops, Foix de Sarriá.
It took craftsmen a week to create a chocolate version of Barca’s iconic Nou Camp stadium although admittedly it was something of a labour of love. “After the 6-1 victory, it was a good time to create a ‘mona’ of Camp Nou”, pastry chef Xavi Ricart says.
According to tradition, godfathers give these traditional delicacies to their godchildren at Easter, and the Barcelona confectionery guild expects to sell around 700,000 units in Catalonia for this year’s holiday.
Some ‘monas’, which are exhibited in Spanish shop windows until Easter Monday, can be considered true works of art. Pastry cooks have designed chocolate replicas of buildings like the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, ski slopes or famous people, although most Easter cakes still come in the form of a good, old-fashioned egg.
Oriol Balaguer has created a host of small, cute animals incorporating the egg concept along with more conceptual pieces, reminiscent, in some cases, of the works of Salvador Dalí.
Balaguer has even designed an interactive cake for chocolate lovers, bringing you a different way to have breakfast: it comes in the shape of a coffee-pot through which you can pour liquid chocolate into a cup full of cereal.
It may not be the most creative piece he has ever produced but still, he says, “it surprises children, makes the smile because they can play with the ‘mona’”. It’s with simple creations like this that the renowned pastry chef wants to captivate his clientele.
“We can – and must – create emotions for our customers, which is the most beautiful thing about this job”, he says. “The most important and difficult task is to touch people’s hearts, to make them smile and be surprised.”
For Xavi Ricart, who is also aware of the emotional value of this dessert, “chocolate is a lot about illusion and patience. It’s an art, it’s passion”.