It happens every year from May to June. Juicy red fruits spring up from flowering leafy trees. They have such a bright appearance, a soft pulp and a sweetish taste that anyone who tries them is hooked. Cherries are the late spring fruits par excellence and a part from being eaten raw, they can also be used to create fantastic marmalades and delicious cakes. Here in Catalonia, cherries have been introduced during the XIXth century as an alternative to grapes picking. One of the most important Catalan areas for cherries is the Baix Llobregat, a rural region only a few kilometres far from Barcelona. The main cherry varieties, Burlat and Starking, are famous for their fresh and sweet taste. When I first decided to write about cherries I thought about interviewing a bio cherry farmer but then I found something more tempting: El Forneret!
In the little village of Torrelles de Llobregat there is an artisanal bakery runned by Miquel, passionate about history, and his son Jordi who is a mineral spring expert. In the Forneret, they create excellent genuine products among which cherry-based desserts! As soon as I enter the bakery flavours and colours take me back in time. I can see different bread qualities, cakes, pastries and peculiar tower-shaped biscuits. Miquel starts telling me the story about those special biscuits called “torretes” (little towers). Almost thirty years ago, browsing through history books, he found out that in the Middle Age there was a very important noble family living in Torrelles. The emblem of that family were 3 towers. In fact, the name of the village, Torrelles (towers), comes from that medieval shield. So, Miquel decided to create a sort of symbiosis between history and his job by making delicious tower-shaped biscuits. They are artisanal and made with different flavors: black and white chocolate, cinnamon, coconut, walnut etc.
As for Miquel, creating those biscuits was a way to meet his main interests. Torretes are known in the all area and have also been exported abroad. However, being an artisanal product, it is impossible to produce them in big quantities. The alternative would be mechanizing their production, but this is not the philosophy behind the Forneret.
But let’s go to the point! The reason why I found this bakery is that they use cherries from the Baix Llobregat to make marmalades and create desserts. Miquel’s son, Jordi, welcomes me to the pastry lab to show me how to prepare a special delicacy: the cherry sacher! While Jordi is looking for ingredients, I see the rest of the staff making appetizing pastry delicacies among which the typical Coca de Llardons, a Catalan pastry made with crackling.
Coca de Llardons
One of the guys prepares Massini cake, and I am attracted by the way he flambés the yolk.
Everything is ready! We can start preparing our Cherry Sacher!
Take a sponge cake
Cut it into three parts
Wash fresh cherries
Prepare cherry marmalade
Garnish the sponge cake with cherry marmalade
Coat with dark chocolate
Put some cherries on top
But hey…pay attention to those guys…they start a chocolate fight!