The 2019 winner of the best panettone in Spain went to Barcelona’s Cloudstreet Bakery, and with good reason. They have mastered the art of making this Italian holiday favorite. Getting through the small door into the bakery itself to get a bite of the best turns out to be its own art. Open the door carefully to avoid crashing into the small crowd standing at the counter, waiting in line to pick up their daily bread, baguettes, and other pastries. It doesn’t look like much from the street, but once inside this small corner bakery, you immediately know you have struck pastry gold.
Everything at Cloudstreet is small — from the entryway to the counter and seating area with high top tables. The big taste of their fresh cardamomo (Swedish cinnamon roll) and coffee more than makes up for it though. If you are lucky enough to get a seat, take a look just past the main room where you will see all of the baking magic in action. On the day of my visit, they were deep in panettone-making mode, turning out airy cakes that were quietly being boxed for sale by staff.
The making of pannetone is one of the most demanding and technical processes in the baking world. It requires knowledge of natural fermentation and careful leavening using only sourdough. You also need patience because once it’s finished baking, the pannetone is hung upside down to cool for 72 hours. The hanging process keeps it from caving in and retains the fluffy texture inside.
If you can control yourself, pannetone is best enjoyed 72 hours after baking. However, it can be preserved for up to 20 days in its original wrapper. When you’re ready to eat, take a minute to warm up your panettone to approximately 26 Celsius; otherwise the scents and aromas will remain trapped.
A traditional panettone is filled with candied orange and lemon peels and raisins, but, as with all things dessert, the chocolate version is really the most delicious. Of course, you will want to give one as a holiday party host gift, but nobody needs to know if you pick one up to eat while you sit on the sofa and watch your favorite holiday movies.
Check out these other Barcelona bakeries for more dessert options this holiday season.
Dietary Note: Typical ingredients in a Cloudstreet pannetone include wheat flour, butter, egg yolks, sugar, sourdough, powdered milk, vanilla, Tonka beans, and orange and lemon zest. The topping is made of almond, sugar, egg white, cornstarch, and sunflower oil.
Eixample: Carrer del Rosselló, 112
Hours: M-F 8am-9pm; Sat 8am-3pm; Closed Sundays