Top 5 Seasonal Pastries in Madrid

Weird : Quirky : Fun

by Julie Espinosa


Spanish pastries are here to tempt you year-round, with the chocolate napolitanas of La Mallorquina or the chocolate con churros at Chocolatería San Ginés, for example.

But their scale-tipping powers become even harder to resist around holidays. At these times, be prepared to either let out the belt a notch or hit the gym a little harder, for you won’t want to miss at least trying these special pastries, available for a few weeks at most at your local pastelería.

Here are my top five favorite seasonal Spanish pastries:

5. December/January: I really don’t like the round, sometimes cream-filled roscón de reyes, but it is super popular with most people around Christmas and Reyes (Epiphany).

4. November: For Day of the Dead you’ll find marzipan shaped like huesos de santos or saints’ bones with various sweet fillings. Nothing like religious relic-tinged culinary humor.

3. November: Another All Saints’ Day specialty are cream puffs, buñuelos de viento. There’s no linguistic link, but they always remind me of Spanish surreal filmmaker Luis Buñuel.

2. May: Madrid’s got its own special treat for the Fiestas de San Isidro, in honor of the city’s patron saint. Try these anise-flavored donuts or rosquillas de anís.

1. March/April: Described by one Spanish girl I know as a “bomba de calorías,” torrijas, or Spain’s version of French toast, are a cinnamon-sugary fried treat sold around Holy Week.


Comment from marina
Date: March 28, 2008, 11:46 am

Torrijas are my favourite from all the sweet treats that Julie tell us. You can find two versions, Wine Torrijas or Milk Torrijas, depending in what they’ve been soaking before going into the frying pan.

The buñuelos are also nice, is little ball of dough filled with different flavours like cream, chocolate, chocolate-truffle, hazelnut…

Comment from luke
Date: April 10, 2008, 5:36 pm

Interesting to see this list. I’m normally biased towards Spain against Portugal but Roscón de Reyes is okay, yet the Portuguese version, Bolo Rei, is fantastic, more like panettone with lots of fruits inside. As for torrijas, I was surprised that this was a special treat for Easter. I had it in El Escorial and it just seemed like egg dipped in bread with sugar on top, I’m afraid to say that I couldn’t finish it. For me Spanish cuisine is wonderful until it’s time for dessert (with the exception of Tarta de Santiago).

Comment from Katie
Date: April 10, 2008, 6:54 pm

i agree, luke, sometimes i think portugal far outdoes spain in terms of sweets. but torrijas, mmmm, can’t believe you didn’t like them!

Comment from luke
Date: April 11, 2008, 12:01 pm

Perhaps I need to try different version of torrijas; I’ll give it another try…