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Thanksgiving: Cake, Lust, Caution

December 4, 2011

Just landed in Chicago a couple days ago, and while it’s wonderful to be back in the US there are already things I miss about Spain…

Such as Lujuria Vegana‘s cake!  Lujuria is the Spanish word for lust, you know.  Mmmm I feel like such a dirty girl.

Molten Chocolate Cake

Molten Chocolate Cake

On Thanksgiving Day (just an ordinary day in Spain, of course),  Andy and I dropped by the headquarters of Lujuria Vegana (LV) in Hospitalet, a suburb of Barcelona.  A few weeks prior, during an email exchange with Rosa Avellaneda, LV’s General Director, she casually invited me to visit.  So I mistakenly thought the place would be a pastelería, where my guy and I could sit down with a few cups of coffee and inhale embarrassing amounts of cake served on ridiculously dainty little plates whilst we celebrated the moments of our lives.

Oops!  No café, no pastry case, no cute little tables and chairs.  Nope, it’s a full-on industrial bad-ass kitchen, located in a warehouse loft on a side street, surrounded by auto repair shops.  But no matter.

Even though he clearly hadn’t been expecting us, Toni Rodriguez, LV’s owner and chef, welcomed us with open arms and let us check out his kitchen.  After we put on hairnets, of course.

I'm lusting after this kitchen.

I'm lusting after this kitchen.

Toni Rodriguez

Toni Rodriguez

After Toni chatted with us for a few minutes about vegan restaurants and travel, he put something in the microwave and stood stiffly next to it.  I asked him a question and he didn’t respond, just kind of shook his head and grunted–later I realized he was doing a mental countdown to pull whatever-it-was out of the microwave at just the right time.

Next thing we know, he’s fixing us a plate.  I die.

Fancy!

Fancy!

As the chocolate oozed out of the molten chocolate cake after we pierced it with spoons, there was no longer a need for words.  Uhh, what were we talking about?

The only thing I didn't like about this cake was that I had to share it.  :)

The only thing I didn't like about this cake was that I had to share it. :)

It’s one thing to have a vegan cake, but one with a warm gooey center?  Get the hell out.  It was everything a cake should be: moist, velvety texture, rich but not achingly heavy, chocolaty and sweet but not overly so.  What else can I say?

After Andy and I duked it out for the last few bites of cake and damn near licked the plate clean, Toni led us out of the kitchen into the reception area (letting us sample a few sugar cookies on the way) and mentioned a cookbook he had recently published, Delicias Veganas.

Well guess what?!?  I had been checking out that same book at El Corte Ingles (a big department store in Spain) for weeks but was too scurred to buy it.  (Would it fit in my luggage?  Would I be able to follow recipes written entirely in Spanish?)  For once my hesitation paid off because now I’d have a signed copy!!  IT’S A THANKSGIVING MIRACLE!!!

I still don't know what he wrote--gotta work on my Spanish translation skillz...

Then, as if that weren’t enough, Toni packed up a stunning array of delectable pastries for us to take home!  OMG!!  (Now please don’t go thinking LV gives stuff away for free to crazy Americans who stop by–Andy did give him some money for the book and the pasteles, though probably not nearly enough for the memorable experience…)

Thanksgiving dinner!!  Just kidding...

Thanksgiving dinner!! Just kidding...

Thanks again, Toni, for showing us where the naughty, lusty magic happens at Lujuria Vegana!

Enjoying my new cookbook--can't wait to try some recipes!

Getting some coffee while I peruse my new cookbook--can't wait to try some recipes!

LV’s HQ is located at Passatge Can Polític, 19 08907 Hospitalet de Llobregat.  BUT, just so you don’t have to go lurking around the back streets of Hospitalet like we did, here are some other places you can find Lujuria Vegana’s pastries:
Gopal, C/Escudellers 42, Plaça George Orwell
Pasteleria La Estrella, C/Nou de la Rambla, 32
Eco-Centro Vegania, C/Mallorca, 330
Veganoteca, C/Valldonzella, 60
Tot Natural El Super Ecologic, C/ Francesc Pi I Margall, 91, 08830

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