A traditional Баница would be doughier and shaped differently, but the same phyllo wrapping is present even in Mikhaela Mikhaylova’s spiral-flower fusion Barcelona bànitsa. Back in Bulgaria the pastries are filled with charms on special occasions but here they’re filled daily with bolets i rucula or chicken, mozzarella and roasted peppers, or, or, or… After finishing a savory one a very polite and multi-lingual Catalan woman popped in, excused herself, and told Mikhaela that the chocolate cake was the best she’d ever had. And while the superlative triggers doubt, the sweet bànitsa that immediately followed that little moment bumped her enthusiasm from vague possibility to probable truth: this Bulgarian woman can whisper sweet nothings right into your mouth. The pumpkin with walnuts and cinnamon: off the charts. Oh, and the coming holiday special: duck with apples and onion confit. Ohhh.

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