Sweets in Andalusia


Andalusia is probably the region that best satisfies the sweet-toothed. The great Arab and Jewish influence in our land determined our love for all that sweet to the palate.

Jaen is the door to Andalusia. In Guarromán, we shall come across irs famed hojaldres de cabello de ángel or angel's hair feuillettes. If coming from the Albacete road, it is a must to try the delicious sweets made by the sisters of St. Clare and by the Carmelite nuns in Úbeda, their delicious tortas de manteca and other such sweets.

In Mancha Real, the traveller will delight in its sponge cakes and wine doughnuts. Once in Jaén, the nuns in the convent of the Discalced Carmelites prepare some ochíos, and those of St. Ursula's some yemas and rosquillas de San Blas which are a delicacy. Twenty kilometres from the provincial capital, the Trinitarian sisters of Martos work, on order, making mostachones, pestiños, aniseed doughnouts (roscos de anís) and costradas.

The sisters of St. Clare of Jesus in Alcaudete, village also famous for its "mantecados" and "polvorones", produce as a speciality huesos de santo (literally "saint's bones) and cider turnovers.

The convents of Alcalá la Real provide "magdalenas", "pestiños", oil tarts and pastries (Trinitarians); or on order, cuajados de almendra y almíbar (almond and syrup curdles) and almond doughnuts (Dominicans).

The pastel cordobés, made of puff pastry and angel's hair, and occasionally ham, is famous in the provincial capital of Cordova. The Cistersian sisters prepare "pestiños" (honey-coated pancakes) and fry doughnuts; and at Christmas, "yemas" (sweet made of egg yolk and sugar) and "mantecados" (buns) variedly flavoured. The sisters of St. Clare Elizabeth have given fame to mojicones (sponge cakes) and "palmeras" (palm-shaped pastries).

In the heart of the Subbética mountains you find Rute, famous for its anise liquors, its buns and nougats. Close by, you'll find Cabra and its convent of Recollet Augustinians which provide the most demanding plates with bizcoletas (iced cakes). Quince jam from Puente Genil has been known to feed half of Spain's school children. Two confectioners' in Aguilar de la Frontera contend to attract the staunch lovers of merengas de café (coffee flavoured meringues), cortadillos de coco (coconut pasties) and wine doughnuts.

In Granada, convent sweets are distributed among the local families. The Mothers of St. James have delicious syrups, sweet potato powder and chocolate "bones"; the Recollect Augustinians make, on order, a curious sweet they call figs. Almost without leaving Granada, the visitor will find, in Santa Fe, its piononos, delicious babas with cream.

The rest of the provinces also boast a tradition in the confection of sweets. Worthy of mention is the village of Medina Sidonia, in Cadiz, cradle of the "alfajor" (sort of macaroon); the "mantecados" of Estepa and Antequera; the famous yemas del tajo from Ronda; the very delicate doughnouts from Olula del Río, the cream rolls of Vélez Blanco and the macaroons from Huércal in Almeria; or the very unique tocino de cielo, or hevean's bacon, from Jerez, which originated from the yolks left over in the wine cellars, where the egg whites used to clarify the wine.

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