Bread makes me so happy. Baked, fried, you name it, bread is delicious. And here in Spain they know it. With bakeries on every other street, the bready desserts are neverending, especially when it comes to holidays and festivities.
Enter the rosquilla.
From clever to stupid, there are four types of rosquillas. Listas (clever) have a lemony coating, tontas (stupid) are plain, Santa Claras have a meringue coating while the francesas are covered in my favorite, chopped almonds and powdered sugar. Rosquillas del santo are those specifically made to celebrate the patron saint of Madrid.
Now, the proper way to eat a rosquilla is to have them on May 15th in San Isidro park in Madrid. Oh, and don’t forget your holy water from the fountain on the way to the celebration.
Lucky for me though, they are in bakeries all month round.
So my friend Daniel over at Chorizo Chronicles and I decided to go on a rosquilla crawl.
I was so excited to get my hands on this dessert. Everyone in my school had been talking about it in preparation for our San Isidro festivities. I thought, bread with different types of coatings? Sounds like a donut. I had to try them.
After grabbing one of each type from two bakeries from the top places to get them, we headed to Plaza Santa Ana to see what they were all about.
I gotta tell you, I was incredibly disappointed. Rosquillas are not that good.
The bread is very dry and flaky, so if you don’t have a drink nearby, halfway through one rosquilla you can barely swallow. The tradition of having them with holy water from the fountain started to make a lot more sense. The lemony coating on the listas I found too bitter and my lips were puckering the whole time (though Daniel loved them!), the meringue coating on the Santa Claras was also very dry and sweet, and the bread for the tontas and francesas were like sandpaper flavored with anis.
I couldn’t help but think of the gooey, deliciousness of the torrijas I had last month. That is how bread desserts should be! I also wondered how the legendary Tia Javiera, famous for having put rosquillas on the map by being the first to bake and sell these at the San Isidro celebrations, did so. Was this really based off of her recipe? Or were the originals of the late 19th century much better?
Either way, it was a dessert crawl that didn’t exactly fill my bread craving. But now I know. Hey, the Spanish can’t get all desserts right. And as far as I’m concerned, as long as they continue making crazy incredible torrijas and napolitanas de chocolate, I am happy to stick to those.
Would I recommend heading to a bakery and trying one? Sure, why not? Maybe you will enjoy it more than I did! If you do, let me know in the comments below.
What traditional festive desserts have you tried?