Treats to try in Spain during the holiday season

¨It´s beginning to look a lot like Christmaaassss.¨

Actually, in 12 degree weather (60 degrees F) it´s not and it´s making me feel a little bah hum bug (obviously read in a Scrooge voice). Even though it´s sunny and I live right by the beach that hasn´t stopped me from decorating my apartment to get me ready for this years´ holiday season. I did plenty of DIY projects, bought festive lights, and picked up a ridiculous amount of candles to cozy up my home. In addition to getting my apartment ready for the season I also bought some Spanish holiday treats to stuff my face with. I mean it´s the holidays..I´m supposed to eat as much chocolate and pastries as I want right??

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Dreaming of a white Christmas

Well without further ado I´ll introduce you to some of the typical holiday goodies you´ll find here on the Spanish side of the Iberian Peninsula.

Turrón

Maybe it´s the most popular treat during this time of year because I don´t typically see it any other time of year. It comes in a few different varieties like chocolate with crunchy rice bits, almond, and nougat which is softened by olive oil. Turrón originates from when the Moors dominated Spain and you can find it every town. I actually just tried this yesterday and it´s pretty decent. I tried the chocolate one and it tasted like…..well a peice of chocolate.

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Malaga: The city of poets on the Costa del Sol

Imagine yourself sitting on a beach chair overlooking the Mediterranean, sipping on some sangria while listening to the latest Enrique Iglesias song. That’s how I felt in Malaga, a small coast town in the region of Andalucia. It’s the city of Picasso, famous poets, grilled sardines on the beach, and 320 days of pure sunshine. Why wouldn’t you travel here? It’s less touristy than Valencia and its glitzy neighbor Marbella and from Malaga you can take a day trip across a little stretch of the Mediteranean to Africa. It’s population surprisingly is the second largest in Andalucia and one of the world’s oldest cities coming in at about 2,800 years. Founded by Phoenicians and inhabited by the Carthaginians, Romans, Muslims, and Christians there is much history in the architecture of this city. This year it is being nominated as a candidate for the 2016 European City of Culture.

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The climate of Malaga is..well you guessed it, sub-tropical Mediterranean. With mild winters and hot summers this makes it the perfect city for vacationing, that is if you can stand the Andalucian heat, and it’s one of the few cities in Europe that is a “green city” Winters are mostly for rain but for a girl coming from the blistering chill of Minnesota I’ll take the rain. Average humidity is about 65% which again, is nothing compared to the 90% we get in the summers of Minnesota. The days of sunshine add up to a little over 300 which in Minnesota…never mind we are going to stop talking about the weather. It’s amazing, trust me.

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A lesson in cheese in Galicia

Those of you who know me will understand just how much I love cheese. Seriously when I was a kid I snuck cheese in literally every meal. Cheesecakes were always my birthday cake of choice (ice cream cake sucks anyway) and I would get blocks of the stuff for my birthday.

I knew I´d be hitting the queso jackpot when I moved to Europe and I´m pretty pumped to share with you the different types of cheese produced here in Galicia, Spain which is where I get to call home for the next seven months. I went to one of the best cheese shops in Santiago de Compostela to ask questions, learn more information, and even taste some of this exceptional cheeses from this area! Time to get cheesy…

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Cebreiro 

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This cheese coming from Lugo, Galicia is just as hard to say as it is to keep a straight face when you try it. It has a REALLY strong and acidic characteristic that might be too strong for some people. The shape of Cebreiro is an unforgetable mushroom/chef hat shape with a yellowish white exterior. It is produced using cows milk but has the intensity of goats milk. Some manufacturers actually include goat´s milk in the product which makes the cheese even more flavorful. Cebreiro is soft and creamy with just a little bit of grittiness but goes perfect with some honey and walnuts on crackers. Expect to pay around 6,50 euros for 500 grams of the stuff.

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