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The tradition of torrijas (Spanish-style French toast) in Madrid

By | 17 April, 2019 | 0 comments

Torrija con azúcar


Have you decided to experience Holy Week in Madrid? That’s because you’d like to see the processions that parade in the capital’s city centre. But also, because you’d like to try a good portion of this holiday’s typical food. One of the main ones is without a doubt, the torrija, which has a deep-rooted tradition in Holy Week. We’ll tell you about its origins and why you shouldn’t leave Madrid without trying one.

Torrijas in Holy Week: a tradition for your palate

This dessert is made with bread soaked in milk. It has a large amount of cinnamon, sugar and egg. The origin of torrijas precedes Holy Week—it’s one of the oldest desserts that we know. The existence of this dessert was documented in recipes from the 4th and 5th centuries. In that time, egg was still not regularly used in cooking (until it was introduced by the Arabs) and sugar was a highly sought-after scarce commodity (until it was popularised in the 19th century). For this reason, both ingredients were often substituted for wine and honey.

It was an indisputable part of the diet of women who had given birth. Perhaps you don’t know that it was believed that consuming milk would improve milk production for the baby. This led to some names that still exist today. We talk about torradas de parida (childbirth toasts) in Galicia or sopes de partera (childbirth soup) in Menorca. It wouldn’t be until the 16th century that they received their current name: torrijas.

The ingredients became cheaper over time and, coincidentally, all of them were suitable for the abstinence rules that mark Holy Week for Catholics. For this reason, they became popular during this religious festival, as previously mentioned. In the 19th century, they were included in vigil menus, which are characterised by fasting. Torrijas were a comforting and a sweet moment and you can also enjoy them in Madrid.

Categories: Madrid Cultura

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