Does the image of Christmas bring up a tree, or at least some decorations? Perhaps the exchanging of presents, and a yearning to be close to friends and family. Those of us fortunate to be finishing the year in this way can also look forward to a certain level of indulgence. Yes, food and drink are certainly a central aspect of Christmas in Spain! Here are some of the seasonal treats to look out for.
This traditional Christmas nougat is made with egg whites, honey, almonds or other nuts and sugar. Turrón de Jijona is soft and made with powdered almonds and oil, which gives it a sticky texture. Turrón de Alicante is hard, made with whole almonds, and guaranteed to mess with any dental work. Other popular variations include additional ingredients such as puffed rice, chocolate and candied fruits.
This collection of festive biscuits originates and is largely produced in Andalusia, using pig lard as a key ingredient. Polvorones are light shortbread that crumbles into a power when crunched, which is why they are usually squeezed into a solid ball before biting into them. Other types of mantecados are made with almonds, cinnamon or lemon.
The Catalan take on champagne, this light sparkling wine is either white or rosé. It is served as an aperitif throughout the festive season, and at the end of the Christmas meal for a final toast, accompanied by turrón and polvorones. Only wines prepared with the cava method earn the name, and 95% come from the Penedès area of Catalonia. Some of the best tipples on the market are Anna de Cordoniu Cava Brut, Juve y Camps Rosé Brut, and the top-end offerings from the Freixenet winery, such as their Cordon Negro Brut.
ROSCOS DE VINO
These biscuits are round with a hole in the centre, hard and crumbly, and especially popular around Malaga and La Mancha. As their name suggests, a dash of wine goes in the mix, as well as lemon and sesame. Family meals tend to be a lengthy affair in Spain and even more so during the holidays. Roscos de vino are typically served after a meal to accompany the ongoing flow of conversation.