Coca or Coques

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These are Catalan flatbreads, usually made with yeast, and can have all sorts of different ingredients, savoury or sweet. They can also be savoury and sweet, like the chard coca with pine nuts and raisins. Different coques are eaten for different saints’ days. The coques de Saint Jean are eaten at Perpignan’s favourite religious festival, a weeklong jamboree starting on 23 June and featuring life-size painted saints lined up outside the Casa Parail at the Castillet in the centre of town. There are processions, bagpipes, singing, dancing in the streets, fireworks, bonnets rouges, costumes, and eating. St Jean’s favourite pastry is a sweet coca with glage fruits and pine nuts on top. At the beginning of Lent, on Mardi Gras, there are coques stuffed with bits of deep-fried pork crackling called grattons or fritons. And on Sundays families, with children dressed in their best, share a grand coca de recapte, which translates as ‘coca with everything’.