[Editor’s note: we’re sorry to report that Butifarring is now closed.]
Gourmet fast food has swept through Spain at full speed. It comes in multiregional styles and with strong creative inspiration behind it – and, most importantly, the food itself can be exceptional.
Eric Camp, Albert Gómez and their three partners are a good example of this, with their sausage-centric project, Butifarring, and their first small venue in Barrio Gòtico, which is much more than a Catalan hot dog or sandwich place.
Camp, an energetic entrepreneur and founder of other successful companies, came up with the concept. Gómez, the head chef, trained in the kitchens of world-renowned chefs Ferran Adrià and Martín Berasategui.
Camp had been traveling for years, at one point even living between Brazil and Spain, when he came to the realization that in Spain, bocadillos (sandwiches served on crusty baguettes) came in a wide variety, but with little in the way of innovation. He yearned for something more out of the ordinary, but still tied to local traditions, made with quality ingredients and offered in a setting with excellent service – which led him to the bocadillo with butifarra. Others have served the traditional Catalan spiced pork sausage in a roll, but Camp envisioned using the sausage as a vessel for unexpected flavor combinations, and it would be cooked – most importantly – on a charcoal grill. Camp says that Butifarring is in fact the only bocadillo place in Spain that uses a charcoal grill to prepare all their dishes, and they often use sarmientos (vine branches) and other particular kinds of wood to coax the best flavors from the grill.
Traditional butifarra is a cornerstone of Catalan cuisine and can often come stuffed with other ingredients, such as rice or mushrooms. Gómez has expanded on this idea and says that they want to stuff every wonderful culinary moment into a butifarra. He’s experimenting with sausage stuffing combinations such as chocolate, chicken with prawns, lamb stew and even Balearic sobrassada with Brie cheese and honey. We love many of the “butis” that are already on the menu, including the escalivada (a traditional combination of roasted eggplant, onion and red peppers), duck with figs, and mushrooms and calçots, the famous Catalan onions that are traditionally dipped in romescu (a sauce made with ñora, a small, round dried pepper, and nuts). In winter, when the calçots are in season, they confit them in olive oil and freeze them so they can serve the onions in summer too. They even make a bocadillo with the unexpected combination of morcilla (a traditional kind of chorizo usually stuffed with meat and blood) and tortilla (Spanish potato omelet), in which the egg substitutes for the blood. To Camp and Gómez, every good dish can be transformed into a sausage. The dish is the same, only the shape is different.
Butifarring sets itself apart not just in cooking expertise and imagination but also in its sourcing. BonBlat, the company run by prestigious baker Francesc Altarriba, created bread especially for them. The bun is a hybrid of ciabatta, coca and “glass bread” (the last two are traditional Catalan breads) that manages to be both soft and crunchy, with a modest crumb that is perfect for toasting over wood or charcoal. The sausages come to Butifarring from Mitjans, a local family-run and very traditional company that specializes in making classic Catalan sausages – in other words, the perfect partners for experimenting and coming up with new creations.
In addition to the small shop, Butifarring also has a food truck for private events and venues (since selling hot food on the street is still forbidden), but the owners are looking to expand to the rest of Spain. And who knows, the rest of world might be primed for some Butifarring too!