Traditional Spanish Sweets
Famous for its snacks (tapas), tasty sea food dishes and full bodied red wines, Spanish cuisine also includes some delicious and very original sweets. Traditional Spanish sweets are less famous than the Spanish paella or sangria, but they are certainly among those very pleasant revelations that one usually experiences when visiting a new country. In other words, if you never heard of the following desserts, doesn’t mean they aren’t just as wonderful as other dishes in the Spanish cuisine. Quite the contrary: every tourist in Spain must use every opportunity to indulge on these simple and much loved Spanish desserts:
Probably the first traditional Spanish dessert you will encounter will be churros, the usual accompaniment for the even more popular Spanish hot chocolate. These are served in many of the cafes, restaurants and chocolaterias across Spain, and they consist of a golden sticks of doughnut-like dough which are fried in old and powdered with sugar.
Custard is a popular dessert in many parts of the world, but the Spaniards have enriched the original recipe by adding a hazelnuts. The preparation of this cream is almost identical with that of custard, with the only difference that you should add grated hazelnuts and some sort of brandy at the end.
Few sweets in Spain are more appreciated that turron. Turron is extremely sweet and comes in many varieties, but essentially it represents a variety of nougat. As you probably guessed already, turron was brought by the Moors (nougats are popular desserts in the Arabic world), but it came to play such an important part in the Spanish cuisine that it is now an important part of the Christmas festive meal.
Another sweet which is usually associated with Christmas – but can be served with great joy all year round is represented by mantecados. The simplest way to describe mantecados would be home baked cookies, just that unlike American or British cookies, mantecados are soft, crumbly and contain no cocoa, chocolate chips – their flavour comes from a very small quantity of anise liqueur.
A simple and very easy to make dessert is represented by the Catalan panellets. These sweets involve sugar, almonds, candied fruits or pine nuts and are unconditionally served with Spanish sparkling wine – Cava. They require no baking and can be made by any rookie cook. They also play a very important role in the Catalan tradition as they mark the catholic holiday of ‘All Saints Day’.