Sant Joan (or ‘St John’ as he is called in England) is celebrated with a festival in Barcelona on the 23rd and 24th of June. It’s a celebration of the summer solstice and is known as the Night of Fire. This is our first year experiencing it, so all I know so far is that it is full of fireworks, late night parties and a local treat called coca bread.
The fireworks will happen tonight, but we’ve already had chance to sample the local coca bread. This is a brioche-style bread which is filled with lots of different flavours – both savoury and sweet – including candied fruit peel, crackling, marzipan, pumpkin and more. Not all in the same one, mind you!
It is traditionally eaten with a glass of ice cold cava, but we had ours with a cup of tea – very English!
The classic Sant Joan coca bread is made with candied fruits and pine nuts. There is a recipe here if you wish to try making it yourself – just remember to make it twice as long as it is wide for an authentic finish.
We tried a traditional one with candied fruits and also a custard and pine nut coca bread. While the traditional flavour was enjoyable – somewhat reminiscent of a tea cake or hot cross bun – the custard and pine nut bread was finished much more quickly!
The thick custard really complemented the sweet bread and the pine nuts added an interesting savoury twist. A great combination and one I think could be worth trying out in other ways – perhaps a custard and pine nut tart?
I’m sure before the festival is over we will try some more, probably in the traditional way with a glass of cold cava… well, it seems rude not to!
Hope you have a great weekend and enjoy the solstice – the shortest night of the year and the official start of summer!