Typical sweets of the entroido (Galician carnival)

It is already known that there is no celebration without food. And in Galicia, less. The entroido invites gastronomic excess, especially if we look at the origin of the festival, prior to the containment of Holy Week. Those with a sweet tooth are in luck, as we have a wonderful assortment of sweets typical of these dates. Of course, it is something magical that, with practically the same ingredients, and very common, these delicacies come out.

Filloas. They are like crepes. They are also called freixós, depending on the area. Eggs, flour and milk or water. And a piece of bacon or cow butter to grease the pan. How simple and how authentic, like everything that comes from tradition. Of course there are many variants: there are those who add Galician stew water to the dough, those who add sugar, those who make them from rye flour… There are even those from pig’s blood. They are also filled with: honey, chocolate, cream… There are rum, with aniseed…

The most traditional way of cooking them is using a filloeira or freixoeira, which is a round, rectangular or clover-shaped iron or stone plate, with circular holes to make several filloas at the same time. There are them with legs, to go directly to the fire.

The most typical day to eat them is Shrove Tuesday, although they are good all year round, of course. The filloas from Lestedo, in the Ulla region, are very famous. At his pancake party, some are cooked on the stone, and others in an invention designed by the local leonardo da vinci, who makes 1,500 pancakes an hour. It is also an excuse to gather the xenerais da Ulla… And there are more festivals, like the one of the filloa da pedra de A Baña, for example, or the one of Muimenta, which falls in May.

Orellas (Ears). To simplify, we could say that it is fried dough, but what a dough! Anise is already incorporated into this sweet, a classic flavor in carnival desserts. Also with the base of flour, eggs and milk, rather large rectangles or ovals are kneaded. Some people add lemon or orange zest. To turn these shapes into good ears, at the moment of frying they are given a touch with the fork. We can say that they fall into the category of vicious sweets, the kind that you start eating and don’t stop, the same as filloas.

Flowers. Like a preview of spring, the entroido is also filled with flowers. The flower is another skillet confection, but unlike the ear, which takes its shape with the help of a fork while frying, the flower requires a mold, as it has a more complicated design. The mold is filled with the batter when it’s in the pan, so it has a long handle so you don’t burn yourself, it almost looks like an animal branding iron. The flowers, fine and delicate, are very popular in Ourense.

Bica. This cake, with a sugared and toasted upper crust, is typical of the province of Ourense. The most famous bicas are those from Trives, Laza, Castro Caldelas, Chandrexa de Queixo and Maceda. They all carry cow butter to a greater or lesser extent, and then, the local touch. Laza’s bica has cream. There they have a yellow version, made with whole eggs, and another that they call white bica, in which only the whites are added. In Trives they go up to Manzaneda to drink bica in July.

Chulas de cabaza (Pumpkin fritters). This unexpected ingredient gives a very tasty result. The pumpkin gives these fritters a fluffy texture, and it’s also very healthy. Where they drink the most is in… Yes, in Ourense, the land of the entroido. Some people give them a more ball shape, although it is normal for them to be flat, like pancakes. They are also cooked in Samain.

Rosquillas de anís (Anise donuts). This sweet is so popular that, in the end, we practically do not distinguish seasons and we eat it all year round. The most traditional, will take them only in entroido or in holy week. Among the variety of donuts in the country, many white and puff pastry, we recognize the ones from Entroido by the aniseed, the spongier texture, and the color: egg yellow.

Torta de roxóns (Roxóns cake). It is also called bolla, depending on the area. It is a sweet with its salty touch, since when we talk about roxóns, we refer to that meat that remains after melting the pork fat to make butter. As in all recipes, there are those for the purists and the more personal ones. In this case, imagination to the power, the cake admits raisins, pine nuts, walnuts…

All these sweets are very tasty but, if we are looking for a perfect pairing, for non-drinkers, we just have to accompany them with a glass of licor café (coffee liqueur). The fame of this drink spreaded over the years. Before, it was practically only drunk in the province of Ourense, now it is almost the Galician liqueur par excellence, along with that of herbs. It is made with coffee, sugar and pomace. Normally it is taken cold, but it also supports heat and even a drop of milk cream. In the region of Verín, at this time the xastré, or xastreu, a lower alcohol content is also drunk. While the licor café is brown, this one is intense green, made with schnapps, sugar and herbs.

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