Spanish Christmas food to try

All over the world, Christmas is a time to eat, drink and be merry – and Spain is no exception.  Throughout the various regions of the country, including Catalonia, the bakeries overflow with the following traditional treats.


Torron / Torró / Turrón

This is without a doubt the most popular Christmas sweet.  Originating in Arabic times back in the 16th century, it is traditionally made with almonds, honey and eggs.  Comparable to tablet or nougat, it can be hard or soft and comes in various flavours.  Personally, I prefer the softer ones and I particularly recommend the Nata Nueves (made of marzipan and walnuts).  Torron is traditionally eaten throughout the festive period and plays a particular part in the Catalan Christmas tradition of the pooing log.  You’ll need to shop around as Torron is expensive, but avoid the chocolate slabs masquerading as ‘Torron’ in the supermarkets.


Neules or Barquillos

These wafer-thin biscuits are typically dipped in cava and are particularly popular in Catalonia. Named after ‘fog’ (nebula), they are light as a feather, although unfortunately more weighty in calories: this sugary treat is sometimes coated in chocolate or almond paste.   The story goes that a waylaid nun with a sweet tooth created them by “accident” whilst making communion wafers.

_MG_9975 editaa blfo


Equally light, but calorifically lethal, are polvorones.  Made of flour, sugar and butter, they come in various flavours including cinnamon, chocolate and almond.  Named after the Spanish word for ‘powder’, they crumble immediately on your tongue like fairy dust.  Children tackle this edible mess by challenging each other to pronounce ‘Pamplona’ with a mouth of full of powder.



Spain’s love for almonds continues with marzipan (mazapán / massapà) treats.  You’ll find this sugary almond goo moulded into festive figures in bakeries from Barcelona to Cadiz.  Also, try yemas and glorias, made of sweet potatoey marzipan.


Tortell de Reis

Similar to the Tortell de Rams Easter cake, this Christmas cake is shaped like a giant doughnut.  It is made of puff pastry stuffed with marzipan or Catalan custard and decorated with fruits and nuts.   It is traditionally eaten on 6th January, known as Kings Day. This holiday is almost as big as Christmas here; families gather, presents are given and of course, The Kings Cake is eaten.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s