Exploring the Stories of the Islands and the Freedoms of Third Age


Roscón: The Last Taste of Christmas

The other reason I think I resent the prolonging of Christmas is roscón. Oh, not because I don’t like roscón, but because I do.

Just when you’ve had five days of eating healthy, getting rid of the bloated feeling from Christmas and New Year feasting, there is roscón. “Kings’ Day” isn’t known for feasting in general, although it’s the day the kiddies get their presents, the family feast is over Christmas, but roscón is a traditional sweet bread, made especially for the beginning of Epiphany.

On the night of the 5th Austin and I heroically resisted temptation, I am proud to report, despite the delicious aromas coming from the bakeries still open in both La Laguna and Güimar.  It was made easier for me by the report on local t.v. I’d watched that morning.

“What are the main ingredients?” the reporter had asked the baker.

“Sugar,” was his first reply.

“Butter and salt,” he went on. “Some flour, and dried fruits.” You get the picture?

When he said dried fruits he meant crystallized dried fruits, and he didn’t mention that there are fillings of cream or confectioner’s custard according to your taste. I saw one advertised this year with truffle filling, so I am guessing that meant chocolate truffle filling, unless anyone can advise me otherwise?

In other words, in my words – heaven on a plate, or death on a plate, depending on your point of view or your mood! Sufficient people must be avoiding the worst of the recession because the baker interviewed said they were making 20,000 this year, and didn’t expect any to be left over.

If your viewpoint is heaven, here’s what you do: on the night of the 5th the bakeries stay open very late, you go and choose your roscón, which is huge, by the way, and comes in a colorful box, and then you proudly parade through the streets carrying the box on high to avoid being crushed by all the folk around who are also shopping, waiting to see the kings or just having a bevy.

When you get home and open up the box inside you will find a “golden” crown as well as a ginormous sweetbread.  Don’t throw away the crown even if you don’t have kids around, because when you cut into the bread/cake and are munching away, someone is going to crack a tooth on a piece of “coal” and someone else on a saintly figurine.  The person who gets the “coal” – usually a small, boiled sweet these days – pays for the cake, and the person who gets the king/saint gets to wear the crown for the day – presumably they are also entitled to lord it over everyone to go with that!  It’s not unlike the silver threepenny bits we used to find in our Christmas puds in England as kids.  Although how this stuff gets past the EU rules and there aren’t reports of multiple deaths by choking every year I don’t know!

Joking apart, roscón is yummy (for me best without filling), it’s just the slide back into gluttony I don’t like!