A guide to food in Spain


coca (Catalan): Catalan cake

By Francis Barrett

Catalan coca is a very popular flat and oval shaped pastry, usually made of unleavened bread or, sometimes, a sort of Victoria sponge. The texture can vary from dry and flaky to moist or spongy, and the ingredients and toppings range from sugar, anisette and dried fruit to tangy fried onion and green pepper. Traditionally, different coques are made for each feast day, the most notable being the mid-summer’s eve coca de Sant Joan , which is leavened, candied and glazed. My favourite cocas are covered with pinyons / piñones / pine nuts. Coca de llardons is made with sugared chicharrones / pork scratchings and surprisingly tasty eaten the Carnival week before Lent. All types of coca go down very well with cava.

By Simon Rice
Basically a coca is an unleavened bread with a sweet or savoury topping. The sweet versions are usually called after a saint and traditionally served on that fiesta, the main one being Coca de San Joan (St John), which has a candied fruit topping. Others are just made with sugar or pine nuts. Coca amb xocolate has a stuffing of rich dark chocolate and makes a brilliant breakfast dish and general hangover cure! The savoury coques are eaten everyday and are usually made with samfaina with the addition of anchovies, sardines, sausages, etc. etc. Sweet coques are oblong in shape and large ones can be bought by the slice. Savoury coques can be either oblong or more frequently are made in baking trays and sold in squares.