The Tapestry of the Creation of Girona’s Gastronomy
The dictionary defines a xuixo as a more or less cylindrical sweet filled with cream, fried and coated with cream. This is true. But the failure of the attempt to capture its essence in such a generic context, in which both surrogate and true xuixos of Girona can be identified, is also true.
This sweet, this authentic explosion of flavour and native resonances, this gustatory exaggeration, hangs by a thread. I mean that the difference between an acceptable xuixo and a memorable xuixo (leaving aside the oily monsters filled with whipped cream and cardboard dough) is very subtle. It depends on the slightest factors, such as the quality of the filling, which must be spongy and liable to burst in the mouth, or the degree of cooking, or the appearance of the wrapping, or the sugar. Minimal and almost imperceptible factors which, as occurs in poetry, must be combined with a few others in such a craftsmanslike, masterly manner that they descend upon the palate in a sublime experience.
Only a gironí, a native of Girona, is able to appreciate these nuances. A gironí (who despises poor imitations) can immediately distinguish a decent xuixo from a heavenly xuixo, and perhaps one could even say that the definition of a gironí would be that of a human being who understands the secrets of the xuixo. There’s an infallible test we can do to find out whether we’re dealing with this specimen: phonetics. If someone tells us about the xuixo with the correction of redundant and sweetened fricatives, we’re on the right track. If we change them to the insolent tone of affricates that turn the xuixo into a dog, there’s no need to go on.
The xuixo is the tapestry of the creation of Girona’s gastronomy. A trademark, a form of identification. God created animals, the winds and men and women. Meanwhile, the people of Girona thought that it wouldn’t be bad idea to fry that supreme cylinder that they’d invented shortly before the seventh day. Amen.
Josep M. Fonalleras
Written for the presentation of Can Castelló’s xuixo held at the Girona Art Museum on 9th October 2008