We are in Girona, Spain, in the region of Catalonia. Here bakers fill croissant-like dough with crema catalana (a custard similar to crème brûlée, but with a name that indicates that it is a regional speciality), deep-fry, and sugar-coat the pastry.
The resulting treat is called a xuixo, or “shoo-shoo”, (or as it is known in Castilian “Chucho”), and is typically consumed for breakfast.
In town lore, an acrobat known as el Tarlà was behind the unusual name, a pleasant character that appears frequently in legends told in Girona.
When he wasn’t performing for sickly citizens during a plague that put them all in quarantine, he was busy falling in love with a pastry chef’s beautiful daughter.
One day when he was paying her a visit the girl’s father unexpectedly turned up. Tarlà attempted to hide but some flour made him sneeze, something like “shoo!”, and the father discovered him. To reconcile with the man, and to appease his nerves, the acrobat vowed to marry his daughter and offered him a special pastry recipe, which was named after the sound of his sneeze.
The tale is so popular, there is even a Xuixo parade in Girona.
Every year, locals 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 walk, they enjoy xuixos provided by the local pastry association, prepared by some of the city’s most talented chefs.
This celebration of Girona’s local cuisine shows how important this dish is to its regional identity, and usually take place in Autumn.
Images from web – Google Research