Sant Joan Coca Bread

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.

Sant Joan Coca Bread Barcelona

Traditional Sant Joan 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!

Sant Joan traditional coca bread

Traditional coca bread

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?

Pine nut and custard coca bread

Pine nut and custard coca bread

Pine nuts and custard

Pine nuts and custard – an interesting flavour combination

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!


One response to “Sant Joan Coca Bread

  1. One of my fave food things in Barcelona was that coca bread (mmm remembering the pizza one I had at Pepa & Tomate) now I want that pine nut & custard one more than anything. Great blog. Sally

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