This time I would like to suggest a route that will leave you with a delicious aftertaste. If you have a sweet tooth you are in luck, because at Easter the shop windows of cake shops and bakeries in Madrid put on a very tasty show. Increasingly original chocolate eggs and “monas de Pascua” (Easter cakes) compete every year, to no avail, with the quintessential Easter sweet, torrijas, a firm favourite among Madrilenians.
And to prove they are typical in Madrid, we have a bar right in the city centre called La Casade las Torrijas (the House of Torrijas). If you haven’t been there yet, you can find it close to Puerta del Sol. It is a traditional bar where you can eat torrijas all year round and wash them down with sweet wine. You can also find them in another popular bar any time of the year: El Anciano Rey de los Vinos, opposite the Royal Palace.
As you may know, torrijas are slices of bread soaked in milk, which are then coated in egg and fried – they are similar to French toast. Once they are cooked you can add sugar and cinnamon, or honey and syrup, depending on what you fancy. But what you probably don’t know is that the first written reference to this delicious cake dates back to the 15th century. Back then they were given to women who had just given birth because it was thought that they restored your strength. Their connection with Easter is probably because people would use up the bread that was left over at Lent.
It goes without saying that the best torrijas are homemade. But for those who prefer someone else to make them for them,Madrid has many places you can go to. I love stopping by Horno de San Onofre and buying two, one made with milk and the other with wine, the latter also being very popular. But there are many other places to choose from: El Riojano, La Santiaguesa, Viena Capellanes… And the most modern of all: Nunos, on Calle de Narváez, very close to El Retiro Park. José Fernández, a master pastry chef, makes them with anything at hand: chocolate, rice pudding, green tea, strawberries… A real temptation!