PASSEIG DEL BORN: a medieval name 5 (2)

PASSEIG DEL BORN: a medieval name 5 (2)

Between the famous church of Santa María del Mar (more recently known as “Catedral del Mar”, due to the book of the same name by Ildefons Falcones) and the Mercado de Born, Passeig del Born extends for just a few streets.

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.

Source: ubdeb



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.


Passeig del born is a street that we recommend you visit for many reasons. If you are interested in this article, we will tell you the most important thing about this unique avenue.

Here’s some info, for you to easily reach this fantastic pastry:


Carrer dels Flassaders 44, Born

Telephone: 932 68 82 21

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday, from 9am to 8pm.

Fridays and Saturdays, from 9am to 2pm, and from 3:30pm to 8:30pm.

Sundays, from 9am to 2:30pm.

Links: Web / Instagram / Facebook

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