Heart-baked from Spain
My name is Mariona, and I am the owner and baker behind The Obrador. My love story with sweets started as a kid, next to my iaia (grandmother). She was a fantastic cook, and she loved sweets. Her apple cake, now one of our star products, was (and still is), to me and my family, the best cake in the world. I never asked for a different cake for my birthday. The best memories are around my family and that tarta de poma (apple cake), so, sharing it now with all of you, and knowing that you enjoy it, makes me happier than ever.
But, back to the story…
While I’ve always had a special weakness for sweets, I had never imagined in my life that I would turn that into a business.
Trying to trace back to the beginnings, I believe it all started back in 2014 when I moved from Barcelona to Boston.
Many things changed drastically. I was in a new country, living with many very different cultures and lifestyles, and far from my close friends and family. While I was excited to be there and ready for the challenges, something unexpected happened that winter.
During the 2014-15 winter season, Boston broke its all-time seasonal snowfall record since the winter 1995-96. I was mesmerized with the amount of snow; I had never experienced anything like that before. And well, snow days called for stay-at-home days, and those, somehow, turned into warm baking days.
Additionally, the cultural diversity in the US increased my curiosity and eagerness to learn more. I was exposed to many different sweets, from many different countries, made with different ingredients, and techniques. There was always something new to bake, taste, and share.
So I think that it was a mix of my love for sweets, exposure to ideas, and cold and long winters in Boston that were the predecessors of where I am today.
Where am I today?
While I love discovering and learning from other cultures, I also love communicating and sharing my own culture. It is easy to make stereotypes, and very difficult to change those. When you ask someone from Spain about food in the US they’ll probably say burgers, hot dogs, and name many fast food chains. Living here, I got to know a lot more about the different cultures that live together in the US, the diversity and many food options available.
A similar thing happens when you ask someone from the US what they know about Spain food culture. Paella, sangria, and churros, are the 3 main things people relate to Spain. While all three things are indeed typical from Spain, and delicious by the way, Spain is a lot more than that.
When it comes to baked goods, the list of traditional sweets goes on and on. By looking into the techniques and ingredients of the different treats, you really get to know the culture and the story behind every dish. Why is lard used instead of butter? Why are there so many sweets made with almonds?
The purpose behind The Obrador is to introduce you to all these different Spanish specialties, and explain you the story behind them. When you get to know the food from a place, you get to know a big portion of their culture. To me, a food experience comes not only from the taste of the food itself, but also knowing the reason of the existence of that food.
I hope we can be in this exciting journey of discovery together. I hope you enjoy and embrace the Spanish culture as much as I do. And foremost, enjoy every bite.