We landed in Madrid the week before Semana Santa, the Spanish Easter celebration, which is one of the biggest and if not the most important religious festival of the year. During the days and nights leading up to Easter Saturday, somber, elaborate (and slightly eerie to the outsider) processions wind through the streets, the preparations for which take weeks. Grown men weep as the processions pass, and a thick, tacky coating of candle wax is felt underfoot long after the vigils are over.
But! There's more to Semana Santa than tears and wax. Custardy and spiced fried bread - torrijas.
...Torrijas are a kind of Spanish French toast, spiced with cinnamon and drizzled with honey.
We spotted this Easter dish in nearly every bar and café we visited, usually floating tepid in a bain-marie of honey syrup. Invented by nuns (as is the case with a lot of Spain’s sweets) as a way to use up stale bread during Lent, torrijas are a kind of Spanish French toast, spiced with cinnamon and drizzled with honey. Using leftover baguette soaked in milk and eggs or sometimes red wine and fried in oil, traditionally they were eaten in place of meat, though to be honest I’d rather eat them for breakfast, hot from the pan.
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Sophie is a Sydney-based editor and writer with a career that spans food, travel and culture publishing. Previously of Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine and a contributor to ELLE Australia, the Australian Gourmet Traveller Australian Restaurant Guide and Alphabet Journal, Sophie currently the... Read Full Bio