Open since 1930, Charcutería La Pineda is one of those very authentic grocery stores / bars, where time does not seem to have passed and where fresh, varied and high quality products are the star of the show.
This happens when walking through the old town of Barcelona: the wonderful possibility of discovering hidden corners, hidden treasures and bars that are part of the identity of this exciting city.
And although La Pineda Pineda is not trapped between small streets (rather, it is in one of the busiest streets of the Gothic, Carrer del Pi), its spirit of bygone times distinguishes it from all the other offer on this street.
¡Pasen y vean!
A canopy that indicates its year of birth and a window in which his products can already be seen, added to the sausages that hang on the door is the best invitation to enter.
And inside it gets even better: sausages, fuets, sausages, hams that hang from the ceiling over a fridge that stores more variety of cold cuts and cheeses. The walls that are filled with wines, beers, oils, condiments and preserves surround a few tables, those of marble with iron legs, that call you to sit down and enjoy a good time.
And above that, as on a mezzanine, a world of bottles of all colors and shapes. The best welcome to a place where good food and drinks are guaranteed.
Everything in La Pineda breathes the air of other times.
Small and cozy, the simple act of entering is already a treat for the eyes. But the best is yet to come: because when you sit down and ask for any of their products, the flavors are so good that it makes you wonder why you didn’t come to eat here before. It always starts with the beverages. Wines, vermouth, beer, cava … there is something for everyone.
But also, at La Pineda, the staff, super caring and friendly, advises you to drink that wine that best suits your palate or your desire for that day. The options are many and surely you will find something that is ideal for you.
Now, when it is time for food, the experience reaches its climax. We challenge you to sit at one of their tables, take the menu and choose in 1 minute what you are going to order, without doubting a second of your choice.
We think it will be difficult for you to do it. Because there are so many options and they all sound so tasty, that you are going to want everything at La Pineda.
From cheese boards and sausages, through preserves and olives of all shapes, colors and flavors, to their sandwiches, one tastier than the other, in this 90-year-old grocery store there is no shortage of flavors, and good ones.
Separate mention for the variety of hams: do not hesitate to consult with the people of La Pineda who will advise you so that you can choose according to the price and quality you are looking for.
The products offered are not only Catalan: cheeses, sausages, hams also arrive from different corners of Spain … you can take a gastronomic trip through the best flavors of these lands without leaving your chair.
Let’s be clear: this is not a super cheap place. Quality has a price, but without exaggeration.
The prices are great for what is offered, and according to your budget, you can enjoy a delicious sandwich for less than what a hamburger costs in one of those fast food chains. And in a unique environment, which you will surely take more than one photo of.
The service at La Pineda is noteworthy: there has not been a single time (and we have already been here more than once) when we have not been treated with care and dedication.
We were lucky to meet María and she knew how to guide us, within the great variety of proposals they have, to help us choose what best suits our tastes and desires.
And always with a smile and a lot of kindness. And that is the finishing touch for an experience that you cannot miss if you are in Barcelona.
Tip: La Pineda in not only a restaurant, it also works as a grocery store or warehouse. So if you are just passing by, or prefer to experience a delicious “pica-pica” (snacks) with the best products at home, you can stop by and buy your sausages and cheeses, as in any delicatessen in the city.
Muy cerca de La Pineda podrás descubrir un lugar encantador donde entre otras cosas encontrarás la Basílica de Santa María del Pi. No te pierdas este paseo.
Acá te dejamos los datos para que puedas llegar sin problemas a esta fantástica pastelería:
The Gothic quarter of Barcelona, between Vía Laietana and the famous Rambla, is the heart of the city’s development.
A convoluted tour of the streets and some small squares represents this beautiful neighborhood, where there is much to discover.
Religious architecture has left its mark; and it is spatially that the Gothic style sets the pace in this very special neighborhood.
One of those churches, which are the testimony of Barcelona’s past, is that of Santa María del Pi. Today surrounded by squares, which once were cemeteries, the temple is part of the architectural legacy of the Catalan Gothic.
It was built throughout the 14th century, during the period of greatest expansion and boom of the Crown of Aragon.
The port and its commercial activity had turned Barcelona into a rich and prosperous city.
That same prosperity would give the input to the renewal of the city, and the churches are not left out of that transformation: bigger temples were needed, that could accommodate more parishioners, and more beautiful. For this reason, around 1320 (it is not known when this started exactly) the construction of a Gothic temple began, where there had previously been a Romanesque one.
In the middle of the century, and with half a temple already built, the works had to be interrupted due to the arrival of the black plague in the city. Finally, in 1391 the last stone was laid and the consecration would come in the middle of the following century; century in which the bell tower, the sacristy, the Chapter chapel and the rectory would also be added.
Where did it all start?
Despite the lack of documentary evidence, it is generally believed that as early as the 5th century AD, in the place where we find the Gothic temple today, there was a small church or construction, outside the ancient Roman walls that delimited the city at that time.
Around this initial construction, it is believed, a settlement developed that later became known as Vila Nova del Pi: one of the suburbs of that old Barcelona, which some eight centuries later would be incorporated into the city with the expansion of the walls.
Now, if we follow the documentation, the first reference to Santa María del Pi is from 987, when there are references to a small Romanesque church with at least three altars.
It would be, as we said before, in the fourteenth century when the great Gothic renovation arrived to this temple.
Testimony of the past
Santa María del Pi, being more than 600 years old, has witnessed the historical events that have marked the life of Barcelona and Spain.
Earthquakes, bombings, sieges, fires … yes, it has survived a long time.
The church has been part of the defenses of the city and its bells rang strongly to rally the people in armed conflicts, not without suffering damage to its structure and loss of its artistic heritage.
One of the most devastating events was the one that occurred in the context of the Spanish Civil War, in 1936. The fire, carried out by anti-clerical groups, consumed the High Altar, the stalls, portals, chapels and the Main Organ, among others structures. And the rose window, one of the largest in Europe of almost 10 meters in diameter, exploded due to the heat.
It was the effort of the community that managed to give life to this temple again, so that it could continue to be part and witness of the history of this wonderful city.
Why “Santa María del Pi”?
An unmissable element of the Plaza de Santa María del Pi is the pine. Because, let’s say it already, “pi” in Catalan means “pine”.
Popular tradition tells that a sailor found the image of the virgin in the crown of a tree like this. So a small chapel was built that, over time, evolved into the church we have today.
It is clear that the one that stands today in the plaza is not the original pine. Upon its death, it was replaced with a new one, as a memory of the one where the miracle occurred.
It is even said that this specimen continued to exist in times of the French invasion, at the beginning of the 19th century, but that it died as victim of a bayonet attack by a Napoleonic soldier.
The pine continued to be replaced whenever necessary. The one that stands today in the square is part of such a long tradition since 1985.
A bohemian avenue
Not only the church is beautiful: its surroundings are not far behind.
The three small squares that surround it come alive, especially on weekends.
Terraces of bars and cafes overflowing with people, street artists who share their music and talent and, always located in the Plaza de Sant Josep Oriol, local painters who sell their works, many of them portraying Barcelona and its corners.
Also, in the square that the main façade of the church faces, there is usually a craft fair held by the Food Artisans Collective.
Every Saturday and Sunday and the first and third Friday of each month, you can find them offering cheeses, honey and its byproducts, yogurts, pates, sausages, caramels, spices, jellies, olives, cookies, sweets, wines and more.
Barcelona has many corners to discover and we always say that it is best to get carried away and get lost in the city. There is no better way to get to know it.
But if you are in the Gothic, do not miss the opportunity to meet Santa María del Pi: a corner where art, history and bohemian lifestyle come together, always under the shade of a legendary pine tree.
One of the most beautiful and emblematic areas of this neighborhood of medieval origins.
Today, this avenue is the center, not only of the gastronomic life of the neighborhood, but also of a design district that includes clothing, accessories, art, decoration and more stores. And at night, Passeig del Born is one of the main protagonists of the city’s nightlife.
And while it is known to all, this avenue has a name that many wonder where it comes from. Yes, as the name of this article says, the origin dates back to the Middle Ages.
The growth of the city
By the 13th century, the ancient walled Roman city had exceeded its limits.
New settlements had grown, over the years, around convents and churches that were outside the walls, and one of them was Vilanova del Mar: a town made up of fishermen and port workers, around the old church of Santa Maria de las Arenes, which would later become Santa María del Mar.
The economic growth of Barcelona and the active port life, would make this area a dynamic, bustling place, where cultural and religious shows and activities would take place.
One of those activities (among the main attractions, by the way) that were carried out in this avenue were the jousting competitions.
Those who know Passeig del Born personally will be able to say that the street does not have the ideal length to hold such tournaments. And it’s true.
But that is today, because the walk was much longer in medieval times, reaching up to where Passeig Sant Joan is today, approximately.
In those years this was the most important square in the city.
Wide and extended, it would allow the celebration of all kinds of activities and was the meeting point for Barcelonians: parades, markets, carnivals, processions, popular festivals and even acts of faith carried out by the Inquisition were held there. But it would be the fair competitions that gave the place its name.
The origin of the avenue’s name
(Note: remember the jousting competitions? It consisted of two knights on horseback, each carrying his spear and a shield, placed facing each other, each at the end of a long track. At a signal, they began their charge and the objective was to knock down the opponent)
And why do we say that the fair would be the one that gives the name? Because fighting in a joust, or “tornear“, was also known by the name of “bornar“.
Between the 13th and 17th century, Passeig del Born (or Borne, in Spanish) was the center of this social life, and “bornar” was what gave it its identity and name, until today.
In a document known as “Rúbriques de Bruniquer” appears the oldest record of a fair competition held in this place: on September 9, 1372.
It is known that the space was surrounded by “tablados” and “palenques” where cloths were placed in the colors of the Catalan flag (la senyera). Nobles, authorities and important figures sat in stands.
But it was not only about competing, because previously, a religious service and a procession to the esplanade were held where the show took place.
Many of these jousts were for purely sporting purposes: the winners were awarded jewelry, which then were handed over to their beloved or ladies. But also a knight could face a joust when challenged by another; in such cases, they fought until first blood or even death.
The arrival of the 18th century would bring important changes to the appearance of the avenue.
The War of Succession and the Siege of Barcelona until September 1714, when the city was finally defeated, brought the destruction of much of the Barrio de la Ribera and the disappearance of an important sector of this avenue.
A great survivor of a past full of history, although transformed, Passeig del Born always invites us to visit it, to recognize the traces of the centuries in its buildings and to enjoy the life that continues to fill its spaces.
Recognized pastry, award-winning croissants, an impeccable presentation and everything within meters from one of the most beautiful and iconic avenues of the city, Passeig del Born. Hofmann is a must-have for anyone who loves sweets. And for those who don’t, it may as well.
It is very likely, I dare say that it is certain, that during your tour of Barcelona, you visit the famous Passeig del Born. Comprised of just a few streets, it is an avenue that summarizes the beauty of one of the most beautiful areas of the city. In addition, the gastronomic offer around it is huge and varied: bars, restaurants, cafes, ice cream parlors. What you seek, you will find.
What is also likely is that, in the middle of this small labyrinth of alleys, you miss the sweet treasure hidden in one of those small streets that surround the promenade.
In Carrer dels Flassaders 44 is Hofmann: a small and very well decorated shop that is, no more and no less, one of the best pastry shops in the entire city. (On the same street there is a witness of the city’s past that is worth discovering. Here’s the link for you to find it: THE RED ZONE OF BARCELONA )
When did Hoffman start?
In 2008, a bakery opens for the first time, which originates from the desire of Mey Hofmann (you can visit the website of the Fundación Mey Hofmann to know a little more about this talented cook), a confectionery lover, to offer the most refined desserts to the citizens of Barcelona.
Today without a doubt, it is a gastronomic benchmark, since the Hofmann world did not stop at the pastry shop but also includes a hospitality school, a restaurant (awarded with a Michelin star in 2004), a tavern, and also a catering service .
The truth is that when we first approached to sample their famous croissants, we hadn’t done much research regarding the brand’s history. We went there because we had already been told, several times, that the “best croissant in Barcelona” was sold there. And when someone makes such a statement, we have to go check it out.
But there was one more detail: the recommendation emphasized that we had to try the mascarpone cheese-filled croissant.
Say no more!, This last ingredient surely tempted us.
Croissants, Mascarpone and everything else
And there we went, eager to satisfy all our sugary needs in one bite. Knowing that the test was important because our expectations, after so many recommendations, were very high.
And we can say with total conviction and absolute strength that we were not disappointed.
Quite the contrary: it was much better than we had imagined.
Obviously, from that day on, we are faithful proposers of this delight.
Entering their shop, small and decorated with very good taste, is a feast for the eyes of any sweet tooth.
Both in the window that you see when you enter, as well as in the sideboards of the premises, their creations are exposed, for everyone’s admiration: the Pistachio or the Rose, for example, they look luxurious. Not to mention the taste!
Everything looks so good and so delicious that, if you don’t control yourself, you can burn a large part of your budget at Hofmann.
Gentleman, please concentrate!
In our case, we are very clear about what we are going to do. So we stand in line, and wait for our turn to be served.
As we said before, the store is not very big and there are always many customers. It may even happen that the line extends outside the premises.
This especially occurs in the morning, when a good croissant is the star of the breakfast. But do not worry, the wait is not long … and we guarantee that it is worth it. Because it is not a small thing, we are talking about the Best Artisan Butter Croissant of the year 2010, and the more than award-winning Mascarpone Croissant.
When you arrive at the counter where the employees receive you, the order is made quickly.
It is true that, in general, one already has a very clear idea of what to look for and there are not many doubts when it comes to being attended. But as clear as we have it, we must take into account all the options, which stands out in flavor and quality: croissants with chocolate, with raspberry, with mango cream, cinnamon roll …
Everything super delicious and freshly baked. And as much as you see an endless queue to get to the counter, do not be afraid of missing yours, because in the busiest moments, you will see the trays arrive, one after the other, full of croissants, and with that little smell unmistakable that the delicacies fresh from the oven give off.
Being there is an experience for all the senses.
Croissant + Mascarpone
Speaking of senses, let’s go for the taste, which is the most important in this experience. Because discovering the flavors of a mascarpone croissant, which we are fans of, is sublime.
You start with the dough, something crispy on the outside and fluffy and soft on the inside, with a glaze that covers it and provides the sweetness; but this is only the first bite, when we have not reached the heart of mascarpone yet. That is when everything is summed up in perfection: when biting mixes sweetness, the exact acidity and creaminess of this delicious Italian cheese.
And there is nothing more to say. Everything is enjoyment, smiles, and fast movements that prevent spilling on the floor (or on clothes) not even one gram of all that impressive flavor (it is true that some napkins would be good, so have this in mind when you go, because the shop does not include them in the package).
Some practical tips: in order to enjoy this experience, we recommend you go early, no later than noon. Because in the afternoon, especially after 5 or 6 pm, it is likely that you will no longer find more croissants (the same will not happen with the rest of the incredible products they offer).
Second tip: mascarpone croissant is a powerful product. You will see that after eating a whole one, (we did not say that it costs just under € 3), your stomach will keep calm for a few hours. You may even skip the next meal.
Third tip: if your breakfast lacks coffee, you can also buy it in the store; Yes, to go, because there are no tables. So right there, you can get everything you need, to continue strolling between sweet bites, or sit down to have breakfast on one of the benches of the unmissable Passeig del Born that you will see around the corner.
Going out for drinks in the Gràcia neighborhood often means taking a walk around the Placa de la Virreina. Surrounded by three streets where there is no traffic, it is the perfect place to find a bar and meet friends. And the best part: it is only 170 meters from Elephanta!
Why is it so known? The answer is more than logical: for being the wife of a Viceroy.
Manuel d’Amat i Junyent, of Catalan origin, was governor of Chile and Viceroy of Peru until 1777. Back in Spain and at age 75, in 1779 he married María Francesca, a young woman of just over 20 years of age, Belonging to an important Barcelonian family and who, before her marriage, had been a novice in the convent of Santa María de Jonqueres.
The circumstances of the marriage are unclear. Don Manuel is said to marry Maria Francesca in a kind of reparation of the young woman’s honor… because the wedding should have been with the viceroy’s nephew, Antoni d’Amat. But for unknown reasons the boy never did his part and Maria stayed with the uncle, a man much older than her but of great fortune.
What is known is that the viceroy was a man who liked to show his status and show off his money. For this reason, he ordered the construction of two large palaces. The first on the famous Rambla de Barcelona known as the Palau de la Virreina, is a wonderful example of Catalan Baroque and belongs to the Barcelona City Council.
A Summer palace
The second, in Villa de Gracia. A palace built as a summer house for the married couple and, it is said, was even more imposing than the one located in the center of the city.
Keep in mind that the town of Gràcia in those years was fundamentally rural, land of farmhouses and orchards. With the Industrial Revolution and the arrival of the 19th century, the landscape changed. But in those years of the late eighteenth century, the viceroy took control of a more than considerable “little land”: from Travessera de Gràcia to Carrer Providencia, and from Torrent de l’Olla to Torrent d’en Vidalet.
Unfortunately, poor Manuel would not be able to enjoy his new properties. Only three years after his marriage, he died. And the young viceroy was the one who could enjoy such a legacy. Hence, we all know the Rambla palace and Gràcia square with her name and not with that of her husband.
The roles it fulfilled.
María Francesca died in 1791, and from that moment, changes would begin in what had been her estate in the town of Gràcia.
It previously was the residence of a religious order and, later, of French people who escaped after the Revolution in the neighboring country. Also, it became a hospice to care for yellow fever patients in the early nineteenth century.
Then came the decline and finally the destruction of the palace.
The lands began to be redistributed and urbanized, and in 1878 the architect Josep Artigas i Ramoneda built the square that we know today. Located precisely in the place where the palace of the viceroy was.
It’s a shame, but almost all vestiges of that incredible building have been lost. Its stones are believed to be part of the church in the plaza today
However, there is a piece that can be identified as part of the old palace. Yes, only one that we encourage you to look for on the right side (if we look at it from the front) of the Sant Joan church.
There, there is an original tile where they are represented, which are supposed to be, the viceroy and the “virreina”, in some medallions. And here comes the legend: they say that if you stop at midnight, in front of those medallions, and you repeat “Perricholi” three times, the name of the lover of French Mary, the face of the viceroy gets angry!.
Maybe it’s only a matter of trying it (I think it should work better after a few gin-tonics)
Last important fact: this church (the parish of San Juan Bautista de Gràcia) by itself is quite special. If you are one of those who look for the traces of Gaudí throughout Barcelona, you cannot miss the parish of Sant Joan.
At the time when the architect lived and worked in Parc Güell, he used to walk down every morning to pray in this same church, on his way to the Sagrada Familia. He did it with his partner and right hand, Francesc Berenguer, who is credited with building the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament which is in the basement. However, in 2016, Josep María Tarragona, researcher of Gaudí’s work, questioned this statement and presented evidence to demonstrate that the chapel was actually the work of Antoni Gaudí himself. There is no official confirmation of his hypotheses, but it certainly does not stop adding more attractiveness to such an emblematic and beautiful place in the Gràcia neighborhood.
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