Forn Mistral is a bakery that has been in the same family for 5 generations and dates back to 1879. There are two shops, a short walk from one another. One serving as a takeaway bakery and another with an old fashioned cafeteria, complete with waitresses with cloth bonnets on their heads.
Forn Mistral dates back to 1879 and is renowned for its Ensaimadas, slow-fermented bread, and Catalan bakes.
Forn Mistral is great bakers with a good range of bread using organic flours and long slow fermentation using a sourdough starter. They stock a good selection of Catalan bakes. From the sweet coca that looks like it’s been run over by a car and is portioned out using kitchen shears. To the focaccia like coca also known as pa de vidre that is sliced open, exposing large air pockets into which a good olive oil will pool making it the ultimate base for pan con tomate. For Sant Jordi, which 11 other European countries have as their patron saint (Saint George in the UK), but somehow seems to belong to the Catalans, there is a pan de Sant Jordi in alternating stripes of orange and white.
The takeaway shop is a lesson in an efficient expedition. A number is pulled from the red snail-shaped dispenser and when it is called, you are expected to know your desires and communicate them efficiently. None of the usual dallying that can be encountered at a market stand say. With your order secured, you make your way over to the cashier.
Ensaimadas are a pastry that comes from the Balearic islands, using pork fat as it’s base and shaped into a distinctive coil pattern. They come plain and filled.
It’s the ensaimadas that has me fast walking to Forn Mistral whenever I am in the area. Forn Mistral’s ensaimadas, whether small enough to fit into my hand or large enough that it resembles a pizza. They come in a variety of formats. Unfilled, thin pastry coiled around itself with an obscene amount of icing sugar. Or filled. In the cafeteria, stiff whipped cream can be ordered as a luxurious extra.
Ensaimadas are a specialty from Mallorca in the Balearic islands. The name comes from the Catalan name for lard: saïm. Ensaimadas have a deceptive quality about them. They are light to the point that you can eat one and hardly remember it moments after you’ve licked the icing sugar off your fingertips. Leading one to consider that perhaps ensaimadas are best ordered in twos?
1. Gracia Branch – Astúries, 35. 08012
2. El Raval Branch – Ronda Sant Antoni, 96
3. El Raval Branch – Torres i Amat, 7