The secret of Oriol Balaguer: ten years falling in love with Madrid


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Oriol Balaguer is one of those geniuses who wins over short distances and hides, behind an apron and glasses, an innate ability to surprise with a first impression.

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Sites in Madrid where to claim the snack

I still remember the first time he opened the doors of La Duquesita; He offered without questioning a blind tasting of various chocolates, from the finest to the most filthy, without fear of being tested.

Because above all, Balaguer is a very thrown guy, almost like a child who has been given his first skateboard and ignores the fear of slopes or the very law of gravity.

Oriol Balaguer

"I also wanted to risk and do something different, perhaps more current and avant-garde, something that fit perfectly in Madrid" © Oriol Balaguer


Balaguer is Catalan of pure strain, originally from Calafell (Tarragona). Since he was a child, he watched his father carefully make cakes in the workshop, almost without realizing that it would be his first contact with the world of candy. And more specifically of chocolate, because playing to be his father led him to study at the School of the Pastry Guild of Barcelona and to be part of ElBulli de Ferrán Adriá for years.

His meticulous character, his explosive creativity and his artisan soul were and will be his best travel companions, architects of great achievements as the best dessert in the world in 2001, best pastry chef in Spain in 2008 and best pastry chef according to the International Academy of Gastronomy this year 2018 .

Landing in Madrid and conquering the capital was not going to be too complicated for a talent like his, although he acknowledges that it was an adventure that required a great effort. He chose a noble area, in the heart of the Salamanca neighborhood to begin his magic through a chocolate shop that continues to make us dream every day.

And at the same time, in all these years, he has known how to take time to take his courses, write some books, and pamper his family, possibly his most precious treasure.

Oriol Balaguer

The chef chose the heart of the Salamanca district to open his chocolate shop © Oriol Balaguer


Oriol brought to Madrid a new concept of chocolate shop, more elegant and modern, with a unique product based many times on the game and observation, defining new textures, looking for impossible shapes, flavors and unrepeatable aromas.

Entering your boutique is light years away from the chocolate shop where it is shipped next to a cash register. “I am crazy and I really like challenges. I also wanted to risk and do something different, perhaps more current and avant-garde, something that in Madrid fit perfectly. The truth is that I am delighted because in Madrid people have welcomed me phenomenally, they stop me on the street and congratulate me, ”says the chef.

The experience in the space of Balaguer is almost like entering a jewelry store, without dependents, almost rather with advisors of the palate.

The look is lost in the entire perimeter of the premises, crammed with the most unique chocolates. It is an earthly paradise where chocolate cannot be a sin. It is impossible.

Oriol Balaguer

8 chocolate textures: mousse, creamy sponge cake, caramel sauce, biscuit and chocolate sponge © Oriol Balaguer

True to the creations that raised it to the top, Balaguer has maintained throughout this decade the 8 chocolate textures (Best Dessert in the World 2001), the Fruit Panettone (Best Artisan Panettone of Spain) and its fantastic frozen fruits .

“We have also maintained our emblems a bit for consistency, because it identifies us and because the people who come here love it. The line of chocolates has been a resounding success, ”says Oriol.

And it has created a collection of chocolates inspired by the city of Madrid, much appreciated by the people of Madrid, and in which it recreates fantasies with an exotic fruit flavor among others.

There is no birthday without cake, and it is not necessary to be a sweet teacher to have this clear concept. But this time, and to celebrate this first decade of success in Madrid, Oriol has decided to invent a fabulous dessert. This is a chocolate mousse with crunchy biscuit “exotic jelly”, a delicious madness that is already in the boutique available to the most passionate about chocolate.

Definitely, the best kept secret of Oriol Balaguer is easy to discover. You just have to let yourself be guided by smell and dream again.

Oriol Balaguer

To celebrate its first decade in Madrid, Oriol has decided to invent a fabulous dessert: Chocolate mousse with crunchy biscuit “exotic jelly” © Oriol Balaguer


Recently we told you the history of Madrid from its bakeries of more than 100 years. One of them, La Duquesita, which began its journey in 1914, closed last 2015 causing a great commotion among the Madrid public.

The decision to recover that mythical temple of the sweet was not easy for Oriol, whose commitment to Mr. Santamaría to maintain the tradition was evident from the first moment.

“Many people tell us that La Duquesita is part of the culture of Madrid, and thanks us for recovering it. It really was a safe bet if we followed the tradition even if we gave it our stamp. Before a centenary company it is impossible to say no, ”explains Oriol.

To enter La Duquesita de Balaguer is to enter La Duquesita as usual, although with a more sophisticated air. He who goes to La Duquesita knows that he will find the best palm trees and the best croissants in Madrid.

“Palm trees both normal and chocolate, croissants and panettone that has had a brutal success. As a result of the prize, people queue to buy it and even commission it to avoid running out of it, ”says the teacher.

Oriol has managed to keep the clientele of a lifetime still relying on this centenary corner that still puts the hair as scarp when the scent of paradise escapes from the inside when opening the door. Only for this, we can almost say that Oriol Balaguer has well become the favorite son of the capital. He has earned it.

Oriol Balaguer

The best pastry chef by the International Academy of Gastronomy pays homage to Madrid on its tenth anniversary © Getty Images

Oriol Balaguer

"The line of chocolates has been a resounding success, " says Oriol © Oriol Balaguer

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Sites in Madrid where to claim the snack