Serious Spanish Sweets
LIKE MOST DELIGHTS OF A CATHOLIC CIVILIZATION, the artisanal making of amazing pastries in Spain actually has a religious history.
AS IN MOST COUNTRIES WITH A TRADITIONAL CATHOLIC CULTURE, baking specialty pastries was an occupation of convents – a way for cloistered sisters to earn money to sustain themselves.
FAMILY-OWNED BAKERIES like this one in Madrid ( ‘The Woman from Mallorca’ founded in 1894) also offer their own selection of hand-crafted sweets along with specialty liquors and coffee.
SPANIARDS ENJOY ‘CHURROS’ dipped in a thick, warm chocolate sauce for breakfast.
SPANISH ‘ROSQUILLAS’ ARE THE ORIGIN OF THE AMERICAN ‘DOUGHNUT’ – hand-crafted in local versions throughout Spain’s provinces.
REGINA CATHOLIC INSIDER TIP
In the heart of the historic Madrid today, you can still buy pastries directly from El Convento de Corpus Christi. Founded in the 17th century, ‘El Convento de Las Carboneras’ is popularly named because of a painting representing the Virgen de la Immaculada found by children in a pile of charcoal, presented to the church.
Here, the Hieronimus nuns make delicious traditional sweets such as almond biscuits, tocinillos de cielo (creamy egg yolk and sugar dessert, topped with caramel), Sherry mantecados (soft lard biscuits) or naranjines (orange sweets).
If you arrive at the old wooden door to the left of the front entrance, you must ring their bell first. The sisters sell their pastries from 09:30 to 13:00 and from 16:00 to 18:30.
PHOTOS BY TERESA LIMJOCO