Thursday December 20, 2012
The Christmas period of December 24th and January 7th is the time in which Spaniards, both young and old, look forward to eating the special sweet things that begin to appear on the supermarket shelves and in the windows of pastry and bakery shops in the Spanish Peninsula.
Christmas time is all about sweets, thus one is certain to always find an elegant tray filled with homemade or store-bought Christmas delicacies in almost every Spanish house. Production of these Christmas sweets begins months before the holiday season in anticipation to the popular demands for them. The Spanish do and give in to sweet temptations... and so should you. Discover what these sweets are and serve them in your own Christmas table! The most typical sweets in this season are: polvorones, which are very popular because they crumble into an almond and butter flavoured powder (among others such as vanilla, cinnamon, etc), mantecados, a traditional "biscuits" very similar topolvorón for its crumbly, light consistency, but are made mainly from lard and sugar, turrón, a traditional Spanish nougat of Moorish origins is carefully elaborated using honey- roasted almonds and lots of caramel and mazapán made with eggs and almonds (the only ingredients left in their pantry) to confection a sweet almond paste that saved the town from starvation. Some may be stuffed with egg yolk or marmalade.
One of the most famous places to by Chritsmas pastries in Granada is Casa Pasteles, in Albaycin but you can buy them also in convents.
Many nuns in the convents of Granada earn their living selling sweets and confections. Their recipes come from the times of the Romans and Moors, which they have preserved over the ages. Unfortunately many convents are closing because they have fewer nuns. So this art may be lost in the future. Buying their sweets will help their convents and tourists can try something completely Spanish.
The procedure for buying the sweets is very archaic, but very charming. You enter the convent to a very small room with a lazy Susan installed on the wall. You never see the nun with whom you do the transaction, since the nuns are cloistered and avoid direct contact with the public.
On the wall beside the lazy Susan will be a pricelist. You look it over and decide which sweets you want to buy. Then you ring a buzzer on the wall. After a while you will hear the voice of a nun greet you and ask you what you want to buy. You tell her your order and after a few minutes the lazy Susan will turn and you will find your order on it. You then put your money on the lazy Susan and turn it so that the nun can get it. If there is change, the nun puts it on the lazy Susan and you then can get your change.
The transaction is completely based on trust, and that is why it is so very charming.
These are some of the convents and monasteries where you can by these delicious sweets
1. Real Monasterio de la Madre de Dios de las Comendadoras de Santiago
Calle Santiago, 20
Specialties: Frutas escarchadas, mermeladas , y mantecados.
2. Monasterio de San Jerónimo
Calle Rector Lopez Argueta
Tel: 958-279-337 / 958-279-337 Specialties: Almíbares.
3. Monasterio de San Bernardo
Calle Gloria, 2
Specialties: Mantecados, polvorones, nevaditas, batatines and quesito de Belén.
4. Monasterio de Santa Catalina de Zafra
Carrera del Darro, 39
Tel: 958-226-189 / 958-226-189 Specialties: Roscos de vino, polvorones, mantecados and bizcochada de Gloria.
5. Monasterio de Santa Isabel la Real
Santa Isabel la Real, 15
Tel: 958-200-688 / 958-200-688
6. Monasterio de la Encarnación
Plaza de la Encarnación, 1
Tel: 958-279-135 / 958-279-135
7. Monasterio del Santo Ángel
San Antón, 40
Tel: 958-262-653 / 958-262-653
8. Convento Santo Tomas de Villanueva Agustinas Recoletas
Callejon Tomasas, 23
Tel: 958-279-575 / 958-279-575