Roscón de Reyes
Roscón is such an insipid and uninteresting pastry that it has to offer a bribe in order to be eaten.Discuss.
This is a remark I often make around this time every year. I like to fling it like a cat among the pigeons when conversation lags at the kind of party one finds oneself inevitably attending. Because the Holidays ain´t over here, not til Sunday they ain´t.
It usually causes some debate. People are divided over the issue. Roscón is eaten on the day of the Epiphany, a big day in the Spanish calendar, when children receive their Christmas presents, courtesy of the three Wise Men, or Kings, who come from the east in camels, and cut the traffic on the 5th with the big parades.
Myself, I think roscón sucks, and that it only passes muster because people are distracted by the whole Reyes palaver. On a normal day it would be rejected with scorn.
What is it, you´ll ask? It´s a cake/bread, shaped like a big oval ring, scented with orange blossom, and decorated with sugar and glazed fruits. Somewhere in its folds there is a prize, a small toy or a coin, or a bean, depending in which part of the country you are.
It´s a very old recipe, made with yeast, the way things used to be before the invention of baking powder not so long ago. In the old days, all cakes were like this. Let us all now raise our hands in silent prayer of thanks, and may the descendants of whoever invented baking powder be blessed and people the earth.
Lots of people actually love this thing, but then, lots of people love Julio Iglesias, and Charles Manson receives fan mail. Human nature is an odd thing.
Other people hedge the issue, and say things like "oh, it´s quite good with whipped cream". Annoying remark, because bootlaces are good with whipped cream.
I have always disliked Reyes, because I had my presents for Christmas, and 6th of January only meant I had to go back to school. These days, that threat is thankfully over, but I still resent the thing a little. Leaving the house on the 6th is dangerous. The streets are thronged with parents who beam fondly as their adorable offspring fling their new bycicles at my ankles.
The roscón thing is just the last straw. Mercifully, the thing is served with hot chocolate, which goes a long way towards restoring my peace.
If you want to try it, then you have a recipe in Like water for chocolate, which I´m sure graces your bookshelves, since you´re such dedicated foodies. But frankly, you´d be better off just toasting some bread.