Los dulces de la Navidad (Topic: Christmas)
Christmas not only goes hand in hand with lights but also with sweet treats from every corner of Spain. Some of the most popular sweets and desserts are turrón (nougat), polvorones, yemas, marzipan and the roscón de reyes. Christmas confectionery is traditionally bought in convents and bakeries, where they are created by hand by nuns and the artisans according to centuries-old recipes.
Turrón is a dish of Islamic heritage made from toasted almonds, honey, egg whites and sugar. In Spain, it was first produced in Jijona, in the Valencian Community in the east of the Iberian peninsula. There are many varieties of turrón: it can have a hard or soft texture and for those with a sweet tooth there is chocolate turrón. Turrón comes in bars and is served in small pieces on a tray along with nuts and other Christmas treats.
Polvorones are round, compact sweets made from flour, lard, cinnamon, sugar and almonds. They are individually wrapped in paper and they melt in the mouth when eaten. They get their name from their coating of powdered sugar. The most famous kind of polvorones are those from Estepa in Seville and Antequera in Málaga.
Another traditional pastry that is a must at Christmas are yemas de Ávila. They are made from just egg yolk and sugar and are shaped by hand into individual little balls.
Marzipan from Toledo is also famous. Made from almonds, sugar, honey and eggs, its recipe dates back to the seventeenth century. Usually, marzipan is shaped to look like the moon, fruit or animals.
The roscón de reyes is eaten for breakfast on 6th January. Depending on family tradition, it’s eaten before or after opening presents. The roscón is a sweet bun in the shape of a crown decorated with slices of candied fruit supposed to represent the jewels in a king’s crown. Sometimes it’s filled with custard or cream and two surprises are hidden in the middle: a ceramic figurine that can be collected and a dried bean. Whoever finds the bean has to pay for the roscón!