Traditional Christmas sweets

Christmas is full of typical dishes and sweets that you cannot miss if you want to enjoy this magical holiday season in Spain. As in almost every country in the world, Spain has plenty of traditions and sweets, that, for some weeks now, can be found in many markets, supermarkets and small shops in all the cities of Spain.

In order not to miss out on any of this tradition, we are going to take a look at the most popular Christmas sweets that can be easily found not only in Valencia, but all over the peninsula, as it is becoming easier and easier to find sweets from other parts of Spain in our shops.

We will start with the most typical and world-famous sweet in Valencia, and then move on to the rest of Spain. It is obvious that each region has its own sweets, so we will bring you the aroma of the most traditional and typical ones in Christmas holidays.

Turrón. This is the Valencian sweet par excellence, the one that cannot be missing from any meal or family event at Christmas. Although there are many varieties of nougat, the most traditional is made with honey, sugar, egg whites and almonds. As for its texture, some people prefer it soft and others hard, but if we talk about turrón in Valencia we always have the Jijona one in mind. For a Valencian, the best nougat is the one from this town located in the province of Alicante…its texture and tradition can be felt in every mouthful!

Polvorones. This is another very common Christmas sweet in Spain. At Christmas time, there is not a restaurant in the city that will not invite you to try a polvorón along with a mistela. The most famous are those made in Estepa, a town in the province of Sevilla, that is proud of its tradition and that has been sweetening the Christmas season for many Spaniards since 1743.

Mantecados. Estepa and Antequera are the places that has the longest tradition in making mantecados. Unlike polvorones, mantecados are made with lard, which gives them a less dry texture.

Mazapán. Of Toledan origin and inherited from Muslim times, marzipan is made of peeled almonds and sugar. In Valencia it is also a much-loved sweet, but we tend to associate it more with the festivity of the 9th of October. Nevertheless, it is always present on our tables at Christmas.

Roscón de vino. Although not popular in every home, the roscón de vino is made with sweet wine, dried fruits, nuts and flour. In the same way as marzipan or polvorones, it is an ideal accompaniment in the table talks of the Christmas season.

Alfajor. This sweet of Andalusian origin has been known since the 10th century and is much loved and consumed in the areas of Murcia, Malaga and Cáceres. Those of Valverde del Camino, in the province of Huelva, are the most popular. It is said that French macaroons have their origins in this Spanish sweet, which was exported by the Spanish conquerors to South America. Countries like Argentina and Paraguay have their own versions which are sometimes better known than the Spanish ones. This is the least typical sweet in Spain, but as said, it can be found in some regions.

Roscón de Reyes. If you still have sweet cravings, we still have the roscón de reyes left. We leave it for the last of the Christmas festivities, as it is eaten on the Three Wise Men‘s Day (Jan.6th) and marks the end of the Christmas celebrations.

It is a cake filled with cream and covered with candied fruit in the shape of a big doughnut. The interesting thing about it is what is hidden inside. Hidden in the cream filling is a field bean, a “faba” as we Valencians call it, and a king. Tradition says that if you get the faba, you have to pay for the roscón while if you get the king, the rest of the guests at the party have to pay homage to you. Therefore, for people who do not know this detail, the roscón might be “dangerous”, as there is always someone who has lost a tooth because of a bad bite.