The aroma of cinnamon and toasted almonds pervades the streets around the twelve 'mantecado' bakeries in Antequera. Since the end of August and right up until Christmas Eve, these bakeries will be working to produce 5,037,000 kilogrammes (one million more than last year) of the traditional Christmas treat, the mantecado. To cope with the extra production, another 37 employees have been contracted.
The recipe for the little cakes has Arabic and monastic origins and has been modified for industrial scale production by companies such as Sancho Melero who with their 2.6 million kilogrammes are top of the local league and export their product world wide all year round.
There is some rivalry between Antequera's mantecados and those of Estepa but the sweet cakes from Antequera have been awarded 'Patrimonio Mundial'. This has increased tourists' interest who search out these delicacies flavoured with lemon, coconut, sesame and almonds, among many others, in all the towns of the province.