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Mallorca Christmas Traditions

Roscon de Reyes

roscon de reyes

Here's a gastronomic tradition that will please anyone who may just have a sweet tooth. Despite the reputation that the Spanish have for consuming a healthy Mediterranean diet full of fruit, vegetables, olive oil, and the likes, they don't half bump up their cholesterol levels with plenty of sweet, sticky stuff.

Jamie Oliver would probably balk at the sight of our traditional epiphany cake, the Roscon de Reyes. It's a ring shaped cake which is eaten by one and all on 12th night, the 6th January, to celebrate the arrival of the camel-borne Three Kings from the Orient bringing gifts for the baby Jesus.

It's apparently a Roman tradition for celebrating the winter solstice and the feast of Saturn which has quite handily endured into our modern times. Nowadays the cake is comprised of milk, flour, butter, cinnamon, and yeast; though this varies from bakery to bakery.

The Roscon or tortell as it is called in Catalan speaking areas is then decorated with a selection of figs, quinces, cherries or dried and candied fruits, usually with a few three kings figurines thrown in for festive measure.

You'll find Roscon in practically every bakery on the island at this time as well as the big supermarkets. Kids love it, but for a more adult oriented tasting, why not team a slice up with a glass of sweet moscatel dessert wine like Veritas Dolç from the Jose Luis Ferrer bodega in Binissalem, which can be found in El Corte Ingles.

Photo courtesy of Horno Santo Cristo in Palma