A sweet tour of Spain: 5 Spanish desserts you might not have heard of but have to try

The Spanish desserts you've probably never heard of / pixabay.com/es/users/ritae-19628/
The Spanish desserts you've probably never heard of / pixabay.com/es/users/ritae-19628/
19 October 2020, Redaction

A food tour is a great way to have a holiday in Spain in 2020 which is a little bit different and a great "alternative" holiday idea for all the family to avoid crowds of tourists during the current COVID-19 climate: you can get away for a stress-free break with family or friends while enjoying the sights, smells and, above all, the tastes of a new place. This delicious food tour of Spain is for those who have a real sweet tooth: a gastronomic route of pastries, desserts and sweet treats in Spain that you might not have heard of, but definitely should try.

Get ready to taste some authentic Spanish delicacies from all over the country and, more than anything, don’t tell your dentist!

Asturian Casadielles

    Casadielles are typical in Asturias / flickr.com/photos/xurde
    Casadielles are typical in Asturias / flickr.com/photos/xurde

    These typical pastries from Asturias in the north of Spain consist of a tube of pastry which is about 15 centimetres long, is closed at each end, and is filled with walnuts, sugar and anise. These sweet treats vary across the region and depending on the area of Asturias where you are, you may find casadielles which contain white wine instead of anise, or hazelnuts instead of walnuts. You will also find another variation known as casadielles de masa, which are fried, while others are made of puff pastry and are baked in the oven.

    When trying some of Spain's delicious delicacies, you'll also get a chance to learn some history. The origin of the name of these treats, for example, is somewhat confusing: the most well known theory is that the name "casadielles" comes from the deformation of "cosadielles", translated roughly as "a little thing". And as time has passed, they have gone from being traditional pastries reserved only for festivities like Christmas and Carnival, to a dessert that you can find in pretty much any Asturian pastry shop at any time of the year.

    Piononos from Granada

      A traditional Pionono from Santa Fe / Wikimedia commons
      A traditional Pionono from Santa Fe / Wikimedia commons

      Formally referred to as "Piononos de Santa Fe" because they come from the small town of Santa Fe, these Spanish cakes are often known simply as "Piononos". This delicious treat is not to be missed if you are in Granada: it consists of a slice of cake rolled up and then topped with crème brûlée, and is normally served in a small square. It is also soaked and sprinkled with cinnamon to finish.

      Once again, rich in history, this recipe is said to date back to Granada’s Arab tradition, although the origin of the name has to do with a former Pope. In 1897 a pastry chef from Santa Fe, who was very devoted to the Virgen de las Angustias, the patron saint of Granada, wanted to pay tribute to the Pope who had proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary and this was Pope Pius IX, or “Pio Nono” as he was known.

      Goxua from Álava

        Goxua is often served with ice cream in Zurracapote / flickr.com/photos/catorze
        Goxua is often served with ice cream in Zurracapote / flickr.com/photos/catorze

        The word "goxua" in the Basque language means "sweet" or "rich", and this is the perfect description for the dessert found on the next stop of our sweet tour of Spain. This dessert from the Basque Country is soft on the palate and at the same time, very elaborate in its presentation, something which is typical of Álava.

        This masterpiece is presented in three clearly differentiated layers: a base of whipped cream, a layer of sponge cake and another layer of pastry cream that is caramelised on top. Spanish foodies will also notice its resemblance to Catalan cream, and in fact, its creator does acknowledge that it was inspired by this typical Catalan dessert. This dessert is the perfect indulgence for 2020, and we recommend trying to get all 3 layers into each spoonful for the full experience.

        Fardelejos from La Rioja

          Fardelejo with almond cream / Wikimedia commons
          Fardelejo with almond cream / Wikimedia commons

          This sweet pastry is also of Arab origin and consists of very fine case of puff pastry which is fried and filled with marzipan. Take note that it is much lighter than traditional marzipan as it is made of ground almonds.

          The most famous fardelejos can be found in Arnedo, a small village in La Rioja where they have been producing this delicacy for over a thousand years. While in many places in La Rioja they are only eaten at Christmas, in Arnedo you can find these pastries for sale all year round. Now you know that when you pay a visit to La Rioja, you have to come back with more than just wine in your suitcase.

          Frixuelos from Northern Spain

            Crunchy Frixuelo with cinammon flavoured ice cream / flickr.com/photos/silverman68
            Crunchy Frixuelo with cinammon flavoured ice cream / flickr.com/photos/silverman68

            Along with casadielles, Frixuelos are one of the best-known desserts in Asturias, but they are also common in the other northern regions of León and Cantabria. They consist of a type of wafer (a very thin layer made of flour, water and sugar) that is traditionally made with different types of flour depending on the type of grain grown in the area: wheat, corn and rye, amongst others. Frixuelos are a typical dessert eaten the Antroxu carnival in Asturias and are very similar to Galician filloas or even French crepes, but with their own personality and unique taste.

            Frixuelos can be eaten at any time of the day; as a dessert, snack or breakfast and can be filled with anything you like. The most typical fillings are ice-cream or whipped cream, however, the most traditional way to eat them is simply with white sugar, without any filling. You just have to roll them up and you're ready to enjoy this sweet delight.

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