Ten traditional delights that make a real Spanish Christmas feast
Photo: Lablascovegmenu / Flickr Creative Commons.
This sweet nougat made of honey, sugar and toasted almonds is a popular Christmas treat across the Iberian peninsula. From the hard Alicante style to the softer version from Jijona.
Photo: emivel2003 / Flickr Creative Commons.
Mariscos are likely to be served for Noche Buena -Christmas Eve and the focus of festivites. Expect anything from fish soup, lobster, prawns to langostinos, as pictured above.
Suckling pig / Milk-fed lamb
Photo: Leslie / Flickr
Either cochinillo (roast suckling pig) or cordero lechal asado (roast milk-fed lamb) are likely to make an appearance on traditional Spanish tables over Christmas. Cooked slowly until the skin is transformed into delicious crackling and usually served with potatoes, it's a favourite in Castilla y Leon.
4. Roscón de Reyes
Photo: Secret Tenerife / Flickr Creative Commons.
This "king cake" in Spanish-speaking countries is traditionally eaten on January 6th to celebrate Epiphany when the three kings brought gifts to baby Jesus. The ring-shaped cake typically has a hidden figure inside and whoever gets the slice with the figure inside "wins" – though some make the winner buy next year's cake.
5. Polvorones and mantecados
Mantecados. Photo: Javier Lastras / Flickr Creative Commons.
These crumbly cakes are another traditional Christmas shortbread dessert. Mantecados are distinct in that they are prepared with pig fat – manteca – while polvorones are named because they crumble into powder – polvo.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
These little cakes, a specialty of Ávila, are made of mainly egg yolk and often covered in sugar or icing.
Photo: Chris / Flickr
Yet more treats for those with a sweet tooth, the best marzapan – as it is known in Spanish – can be found in the region of Toledo where the almond flavoured delicacies are crafted into intricate shapes.
Photo: Boca Dorada / Wikimedia Commons.
Because when is it NOT the right time of year for jamón? In Spain, it's always time for jamón. But especially at Christmas when many families receive an entire ham leg as a Christmas gift.
Photo: FrikJan / Flickr
Galets soup is a stable at Christmas in Catalonia which is comprised of large pasta shells stuffed with mince meat floating in a rich tasty broth.
No celebration over Christmas and New Year would be complete without lashings of cava, Spain's go to alternative to champagne, the majority of which is produced in the vineyards of Catalonia.