Sole Graells first came to my attention on a pre-move visit to Barcelona in 2009. A gift of the ‘A Day in the Life of El Bulli’ book and the realisation that making anything out of it would be impossible without some of the ‘Texturas’ ingredients developed by the Adriàs. Thus I was led to the shop after some online research. However, the creations of Catalonia’s most famous modern sons is not my focus for Sole Graells here. Rather, this is my second suggestion for sourcing the scarce baking ingredients in Barcelona.
Essentially for pastry chefs and the catering industry, although a godsend to the home baker as well, this is where the treasure trove of ingredients, colourings, essences, oils, spirits, moulds and industrial kitchen equipment can be unearthed.
Hidden behind its unassuming door are shelves of supplies for some of the best and influential restaurants in Barcelona and its environs such as El Bulli, 7 Portes, Celler Can Roca and Mugaritz as well as stocking products and ingredients developed by these restaurants’ chefs.
Also catching my eye were some interesting nectars and a broad selection of balsamic vinegars of every perceivable flavour combination, fig, apple, lychee, chocolate……Nestled amongst them was also a bottle of ‘garum’, that fermented anchovy sauce that the Romans used to cherish and was the ketchup of their day. Incidently, under the History of the City museum you will find Roman remains which include a garum factory.
However, it’s for those working with pastry and us home bakers where Sole Graells really comes into its own. The shop’s website offers a comprehensive list of everything they stock so I won’t laboriously go through them here, but I would go so far as to say that if Sole Graells doesn’t stock it then give up your search.
Moulds, tins, knives, industrial equipment for large quantity baking are all available, along with mixers, blenders, scales and fryers, which I haven’t captured on camera here.
Equipment ready you need the ingredients to fill them. Flavourings, colourings (many of them natural), those elusive dark sugars we see everywhere at home, tinned and bottled fruits, super strength liqueurs for boozey desserts and tub upon tub of baking ingredients such as bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and pectin amongst many, many others. As I mentioned with Parami these are sold in large quantities but again by weight work out much cheaper than in supermarkets. Why not buy with a fellow baking friend and save yourselves a few euros?
Any brave soul willing to try their hand at tempering and moulding their own chocolates will find a range of moulds here, from individual bonbons, for decorations such as chocolate leaves and seasonal, festive ones.
Sole Graells is also the place to learn new skills, either through their selection of books or in their teaching kitchen which offers courses to professionals and amateurs alike. Recent classes for the general public have included Easter chocolate moudling, French pastry , canapes and quiches and Japanese cooking. At 30 euros for 3 hours these are very reasonable.
My time at Sole Graells left me aching to spend some time in a professional ktichen with a renowned pastry chef. It also left me wishing to thank the staff there, especially Esther Arumí who kindly gave up her time to show me round, explain the products and turn up the lights for photos. Wonderful hospitality.
Sole Graells, C/Princep Jordi 2, Plaça d’Espanya