Tag Archives: Spain

Finer Things Club: Torrone for the holidays

Italy spain
As the holiday season draws to a close, we are finishing up the last of the Christmas goodies – including one of our favorites torrone. It’s a pretty simple confection made of egg whites, honey, almonds and sugar. Popular across Southern Europe, this almond nougat is known as Turrón (Spanish), torró (Catalan), or torrone (Italian).The origin of Turron is Arabic, and was created by moors in the town of Jijona, in Valencia, Spain. Spanish turron comes in 2 basic varieties – soft Jijona or turrón blando, and hard Alicante or turrón duro, similar to peanut brittle.


Torrone is most commonly consumed around the holidays – La Florentine is one of the most popular varieties in the US, and has individually-warpped portions of soft torrone in Vanilla, Lemon and Orange flavors. You can even get La Florentine torrone online, though it is pretty commonly available in larger grocery stores. Delicious Days even has a recipe to try on your own, even though it seems pretty tricky.

1 Comment

Filed under Finer Things Club, Holidays, World Eats

[Road Trip Eats] Spain: Despaña

408 Broome St.
New York, NY

Though Chicago boasts a wide variety of specialty grocery stores offering Mexican and Central American foods, there are no continental Spanish groceries. So we were excited to check out Despaña in SoHo, NYC. The store itself is small but uncluttered with a large deli case on one side and shelves of packaged goods on the other. We perused the selection of vinegars and olive oils, and many varieties had little sampling dishes to try all the different varieties. There is also a small selection of sweets to try, like Spanish nougat candy Turrón. We picked up a Crema Catalana boxed mix to take home with us (a steal at $2.50).

At the deli counter, there is an extensive case of Spanish cheeses and meats. While there were of course well-known Spanish cheeses like manchego, we were excited to see some more exotic cheeses like the unusual sheep’s milk Murcia al Vino (also called “Drunken Goat“), which is soaked in red wine. At the back wall of the store there is also a section with pre-made foods to eat at the small table area or take home. Featured sandwiches included: Chorizo with Mahon cheese and hot peppers ($8.50) and Nocilla (Spanish Hazlenut spread) on Cibatta for $5. There were also small tapas-style dishes, called pinxtos ($3-5), for snacking. We opted for the homemade blueberry cheesecake made with Afuega cow’s-milk cheese, which was excellent.

At Despaña, also M got his first taste of Spanish horchata, which is quite different than the rice-based Mexican horchata that is common in the US. Spanish horchata is made from tiger nuts and mixed with cinnamon, so it tastes kind of like a spicy almond milk. A liter bottle of Chufi brand horchata set us back only $5. Another particular we enjoyed about Despaña was their helpful staff, who couldn’t have been nicer. If you are in the area, you should definitely check out Despaña’s Iberic treats. It’s a whirlwind culinary tour of Spain your pocketbooks can handle!

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

FTC: Wisconsin Cheese Plate – To Spain and Back

Did you know that April is grilled cheese month? Well it is! In honor of this sacred month, the Eaters have compiled a lovely little cheese plate consisting of both Wisconsin-bred and Spanish cheeses (we ❤ Manchego, what can we say), complete with festive flags. We also selected several World Champ Cheese Contest contenders, marked with a *.

  • Vintage Van Gogh (Roth Kase, Monroe, WI) – This is far and away the best grilling cheese of our selection, due to its melty consistency and hint of sweet caramel flavor, but not our preferred cheese for plain munching.
  • Baby Swiss (Chalet Cheese Cooperative, Monroe, WI)- Award winning Baby Swiss, with a delicate flavor and smooth texture. Also a great grilled cheese staple. Coincidentally, Chalet is the only operating Limburger factory in America. Boy, we could tell.
  • *Redstone (Natural Valley Cheese, Cashton, WI)- This is a semi-hard cheese that we found best suited for grating. It has a taste not unlike very strong Parmesan, with a tinge less saltiness.
  • *Garrotxa Muntanyola (Quorum International, Sevilla La Nueva, Madrid)- A deliciously creamy, Catalan-style goat’s milk cheese that has a nice bite, but nothing too overwhelming. Excellent with figs and crusty bread.
  • Gran Queso (Roth Kase, Monroe, WI) – Gran Queso is a domestic Manchego-style cheese. Thus, not really from Spain, but extremely tasty nonetheless. This cow’s milk cheese has a nice bite and a smooth finish. We could eat a whole block in one sitting.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cheese, Finer Things Club

FTC: Spanish Orxata de xufes

Right now I (L) am craving orxata de xufes (horchata de chufas), a Spanish drink of tigernuts and sugar with water. It is extremely uncommon (at least I’ve never seen it) in the US, where the Mexican horchata, which is rice-based, dominates. True, it’s a warm weather drink, and it’s freezing cold here – but some brutally cold orxata de xufes would really hit the spot.

{photo} The Boqueria Market in Barcelona, home of awesome Orxata. Maybe I should write more about this market later.

Leave a comment

Filed under Finer Things Club