added: Interestingly pastelería appears in the context of wine tasting terminology which is yet another meaning than I explored in my original version of this post. See at the bottom.
As you can see by my lack of posts I’ve been away. I was in Ohio on “personal business”, the same type of “business” Tom had in The Way. As such it wasn’t any kind of vacation but it still prevented me from research on my project and posting. At one point we thought we might be able to go to Barcelona, no not the wonderful city in Spain, but an interesting restaurant in Columbus Ohio. Based on its online menus it seems very similar to menus I’ve been studying in Spain (names of items in Spanish, descriptions in English): it has a fixed price menú del día; a chef’s tasting menu (degustación); and the standard dinner menu. Most of the terms of the menu would be a mystery to me if I had just dropped in but now most I know from my work here. Whether it is authentic tastes of Spain I don’t know, but I hope to go back some day under better circumstances.
Meanwhile I’ve returned to start doing my stationary exercise, biking and walking. After two weeks off I can tell I’ve lost some tone so it’s a bit hard to get back to my previous speed. Nonetheless I made enough miles on the treadmill to map onto my GPS track of the Camino de Santiago and thus move my “virtual” trek to Villalcázar de Sirga. Palencia. This town is large enough to show four restaurants on the Google map but none had online menus (or even web sites). One had a simple menu but it was graphical rather than text so I couldn’t extract it.
But continuing my hunt I did find an online menu, of sorts, for Confitería La Perla Alcazareña, aka, La Pastelería with the URL http://pasteleriavillasirga.com/. Just a bit of looking at this site quickly revealed Spanish words that have multiple meanings (each word) and are almost synonyms, i.e. pastelería, repostería, confitería. Any of these can be found in at least one dictionary as bakery or pastry shop or confectionery. So which is it?
Digging a bit more alos reveal additional overlapping terms (in the general theme of bakeries): panadería, dulcería, bollería, bizcochería and galletería.
Now this easiest for me to distinguish is panadería. When I did a long bicycle ride in Germany decades ago we quickly learned to distinguish bäckerei and konditorei. We stopped at our first konditorei at Eberbach on our first day out of Heidelberg. There we sat in a small park with brass sculpture ebers (boars) literally pigging out on delightful confectioneries. Later we stopped at the bäckerei to get rolls to make our lunch sandwiches and there were no sweets to be seen. In the US, if you can find a bakery at all, it probably does both, breads and sweets. And there are so many different baked sweets it’s hard to put them in categories. bollería may be a specialized panadería dealing in bollas (rolls or buns) so we won’t consider it any more.
Just for fun in this area what does pasta mean? Well it can refer to its common meaning in the USA, i.e. pasta or it can be cakes, biscuits (cookies in the UK sense) or general pastries (more often pastel (which can be cake or pie)) or even paste. No wonder these other bakery terms are confusing.
Searching multiple dictionaries and sources I arrive at the idea there are three different things that, at least pastelería and repostería can mean:
- the pastry (or sweet or confection) itself
- the place where these are produced and/or sold
- the process of producing these products
Oh great, covers all the bases which means one could encounter these terms in any context. But here’s my best guess (at it is a guess).
pastelería primarily deals with cakes (pastel, torta; possibly bizcocho (sponge cakes or lady fingers – bizcochería specializes in these) and cookies (galleta – galletería specialize in these). repostería primarily deals with various sweet pastries and confitería primarily deals with filled (jam or fillings) pastries. But all of these would cover what one might find in dulcería or konditorei in Germany or Austria.
Got that. I think it’s safe to say there is a lot of overlap but all would be easy to eat, if not overwhelmed by a sugar (azúcar) rush.
Now just for fun here’s a few things, as exercise for you Dear Reader, to figure out from the menu (really a list of productos since this appears to be a wholesale place) at Confitería La Perla Alcazareña : almendrados, tarta de hojaldre, amarguillos, ciegas, mantecadas, rosquillas de palo, rosquillas de baño, brazo de gitano. Only a couple of these have direct English equivalents. And you get extra credit if you can figure out the difference between rosquillas de palo and rosquillas de baño. rosquillas, in general are what we’d call doughnuts/donuts here in USA, but what the difference between ‘stick’ and ‘bath’ donuts is, in Spain, remains a mystery. And then, of course, there are churros but that’s a different story.
I’ve gained a few pounds just looking at images in my searching!
As a background task for several weeks now I’ve been researching the extensive terminology (jargon) associated with vino in Spanish. So briefly after I finished this post I encountered this addition meaning of pastelería.
It is a sweet and toasty aroma with certain features of vanilla and caramelized sugar characteristic of the freshly baked pastry. It appears in the wines of long ageing in oak wood, generally sweet, fruit of its oxidative evolution and of the contribution of the Odoríficos compounds (vanillin) of the oak containers.
This certainly is an obvious extension under the wine terminology of GLOSARIO DE TÉRMINOS RELATIVOS AL AROMA in this source.