pasteles beatriz: pamplona, navarra

There's a magical place that disappears during certain parts of the day, and can only be found by the uninitiated if they spot the line snaking down the street or are lucky enough to smell the warm scent of chocolate and flour wafting down Calle Estafeta in Pamplona, Spain. It's too small, and it's not aesthetically pleasing. The women that work there are the same ones as six years ago, and probably ten before that, and they occasionally pop a palmerita in their mouth while they're serving up kilos of the stuff.

This place is Pasteles Beatriz, the best bakery I've ever been to in this country.

My pamplonesa amiga nodded in approval when I showed up to coffee with some chocolate filled hojaldres from Beatriz, whose buttery puff pastry crust had stained the bag in the couple minutes it took me to walk to the cafe. The dark chocolate inside is of the highest quality and is so generous that it drips down your chin.

Locals show up for boxes full of palmeritas, assorted cookies, magdalenas, and cakes. The black walnut cake I had was simple and moist. No frosting, no filling, just the intoxicating flavor of black walnut. This is a special place...still searching for it's donostian equivalent.

Any leads would be appreciated and rewarded handsomely in refined sugar.