After the exuberant celebrations of Carnival, Spain plunges with fervor and piety into Holy Week. These traditional holy days commemorate the death of Jesus and are a time to sample delicious specialties, with desserts heading the list. Most are traditional recipes made from sugar, flour and eggs that have come down through the centuries, with some even dating back to the 15th century - sweet treats that monks and nuns continue to make according to authentic artisanal methods.
You should definitely try torrijas at Easter, a kind of French toast fried in olive oil and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, or soaked in honey as in Andalucia. Monas de Pascua are another classic sweet, especially in Catalonia and on the Valencia coast. They are chocolate shapes which usually have a surprise inside. Children love them and in Catalonia it is traditional to give them to the little ones on Easter Monday. It is also the name of an Easter cake usually decorated with chicks and feathers (see photo above).
Flores de Semana Santa are just as attractive on account of their unusual lacework of fried pastry, large and delicate with a sweet, crunchy texture. Leche frita will surprise you: it's a kind of firm custard, cut into squares, breaded and fried.
Bartolillos from Madrid filled with lemon cream, rosquillas de Semana Santa (Easter doughnuts), Andalucian pestiños (pastries with sesame and honey) made with white wine in Andalucia and green anise in Estrémadura, feathery light buñuelos flavored with oranges juice - a whole array of fried pastries that represent some of the typical delicacies enjoyed at this time of the year.
If you happen to be in the Castile-Leon area on Easter Sunday, you'll discover a delicious savory tradition: hornazo. It's a large pie filled with assorted ingredients like hardboiled eggs, pork loin and ham. There is also a sweet version made with almonds, sugar, aniseed and egg.
Bacalao or salt cod is everywhere during Holy Week. Do as the Spaniards and enjoy some Tortitas de bacalao: cod fritters served with a glass of wine or a cocktail.
In Spain, it's traditional for the bells to return on Easter Sunday, spreading chocolate eggs on their way.
In collaboration with the España es Cultura portal, the Andalusia Tourism Office and Estrémadura Tourism Office.
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