Long before the Cronut became a sensation, locals in Girona, Spain enjoyed a decadent, custard-filled version. In this Catalonian city, bakers fill croissant-like dough with crema catalana (Spanish-style crème brûlée), deep-fry, and sugar-coat the pastry. The resulting breakfast treat is called a xuixo, or “shoo-shoo.”
In town lore, an acrobat known as el Tarlà was behind the unusual moniker. When he wasn’t performing for sickly citizens during a plague, he was busy falling in love with a pastry chef’s daughter. Said pastry chef discovered their romance upon entering his bakery, bag of flour in hand. He heard a sneeze, which sounded something like “shoo!” leading him straight to where Tarlà was hiding. The acrobat promised to marry the baker’s daughter and offered him a special pastry recipe, which he named for the sneeze that gave him away.
Every year, Girona’s residents participate in a Marxa del Xuixo, hosted by a local oncology department. Celebrants make a small donation to help cancer patients and their families, then march through the city streets. During the trek, they enjoy xuixos provided by the local pastry association. Whether inspired by love during a plague or as fuel for fundraising, xuixos are one deep-fried, cream-filled, sugar-encrusted pastry you can feel good about eating.
Where to Try It
This popular eatery in Boqueria Market is renowned for its xuixo.