When it comes to sweet indulgences during the festive season there’s pretty much nothing that beats Spanish desserts. From the country that created the delectable churros and chocolate, what more can you expect? There is a myriad of unparalleled pieces of sugary heaven to choose from, which include a variety of nougats, marzipans and crumbly, moreish cakes. No bonbon hamper is complete without dates (datiles), walnuts (nueces) and mandarins (mandarinas) to compliment the more sugary morsels. Spanish food is a melting pot of culinary creations; the cuisine has been influenced by many different cultures.
Christmas time in Spain is an epicurean’s dream, when cooking reaches its pinnacle. Many of these tempting sweets are made using almonds, honey, sugar and fruit.
If you are celebrating Christmas in Spain this year here are a few delights you must not miss out on, so enjoy these candies and Feliz Navidad!
Turron is an ancient and traditional sweet of Moorish origin and has been favoured for centuries all over Spain. Each region has a different version and adds their own flavours but the essential recipe and texture is the same across the country. However there are two basic types of turron: soft Jijona or turron blando, which is smooth and the harder Alicante or turron duro, which is thicker nougat. The assortment of flavours is endless; some I have seen are chocolate, praline and kiwi!
Polovorones are rich, almond cookies and have a shortbread style texture. These classic biscuits have not changed in centuries and are very flaky, soft and are rolled in powered sugar and spiced cinnamon.
Manteca in Spanish means lard and so of course this conventional recipe calls for heaps of it. These small, crumbly cakes come in many varied flavours but are always wrapped in bright, multicoloured paper. Traditional ingredients are almonds or anise but some recipes add wine or orange peel.
It is widely believed that the Moors brought a sweet almond and honey mix to the Iberian peninsula when they invaded in the 8th century, which resulted in the marzipan we have today. The gourmet varieties of marzipan contain only sugar and almonds but mazapan can come in the shape of little figures with pine nut toppings and piped with a rich filling. So if your flying out to Spain try some of these delights.