19 December 2013

Christmas treats


Dear diary,

As a kid I didn't care much for any kind of nut, I found they had no taste and where too dry for me to like them.

Every Christmas my mother used to fill the house with Christmas treats, what to her meant lots and lots of walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and such.

I am also not a fan of marzipan and the only thing I did like were the "polvorones" and "mantecados", these are a kind of crumbly and soft mini-shortcakes made of flour, sugar, milk and, yes you guessed it, nuts. You're supposed to take them all in your mouth and try to speak out the word "Pamplona", it's a bit disgusting when you think of it but hey, you don't mess with tradition right? Normally you'd spit out some of the cake when pronouncing the p's and everybody around would have a good laugh.

When I started working at my current job I got some "turrón" given to me for Christmas, as I'd never liked it I wanted to give them to my boss but he convinced me I should try those as he claimed they were much better than the any of the other brands out there.

Turrón is kind of a nougat (not much, in my opinion) and is made of honey, sugar, egg white and toasted almonds. It's normally only eaten around Christmas and you have two original varieties, although some new ones, such as chocolate are gaining ground. They are commonly referred to hard or soft, although their real names refer to the town where they originated from: Alicante (hard) and Xixona (soft). The soft one is more like a very oily paste and the hard one is made with whole almonds surrounded by a caramelized and hard sugary surface.

Here is a glimpse of a variety pack I purchased this year:
Zaral dulces navideños
So the little ones wrapped like sweets are the polvorones, the round white one is the hard turrón and then I have two of the soft ones, the normal variety is the more yellow toned and the dark brown one I haven't tasted yet so I'm curious to find out if I like it more or not.

With the crisis and all we stopped getting them for free but I found out where to buy them: we have an almond factory in town and they make a small production so you have to get them early in December, I got these mid-November, I think. That's a way to tell you how much I did like them.

Merry Christmas to all food lovers out there!