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Sweet or savoury? What do people eat for breakfast in Spain in each different region of the country?
Food and drink

Sweet or savoury? What do people eat for breakfast in Spain in each different region of the country?

Some 95% of Spaniards take their first meal of the day at home between 7 and 8.30am, but what they tuck into varies significantly from one area to another

Raquel Fidalgo

Gijón

Tuesday, 30 January 2024

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Sweet, savoury, quick or American style, almost 95% of Spaniards have breakfast at home and what they usually have for breakfast is coffee with milk and a biscuit or piece of toast. But the way to start the day varies from north to south and each region has its own typical morning dish. Most Spaniards eat between 7 and 8.30am, and a little later on days when they are not working.

The time spent at breakfast also depends on where you live, as it seems that in the north, between 10 and 15 minutes is enough, increasing to 20 minutes in Andalucía, where they take it more slowly. People in Murcia and Aragon, on the other hand, barely spend five minutes at breakfast.

Andalucía

Toast with 'colorá' butter in Cadiz or a 'pringá' sandwich in Seville can be a real delight. Huelva offers us toast with Iberian ham, crushed tomato and extra virgin olive oil, or the typical toast of Almería with olive oil and honey. Meanwhile, Granada sweetens us with its 'piononos', a sponge cake roll in syrup and filled with cream that delights even the sweetest sweet tooth. Jaén and its famous 'tejeringos', a peculiar way of describing churros, and Cordoba with its torrijas. Toasted molletes (soft baps) from Antequera are the favourite breakfast of the people of Malaga.

Aragón

In the morning, the people of Huesca enjoy their traditional 'dobladillos de canela', made with olive oil, water and sugar to obtain a very fine dough which is sprinkled with cinnamon. If Huesca has a sweet breakfast, Teruel does the same with its 'trenza de Mudéjar', a sweet made with butter dough accompanied by walnuts and sultanas, which has a similar version in Zaragoza called 'trenza de Almudévar'.

Asturias

If there is one thing that characterises Asturians, it is their good food as well as their hospitality. The most traditional breakfasts will include a typical sweet such as a 'casadiella', but if you prefer to have breakfast outside, the 'pincho' will be the star. Whether it is omelette or minced meat, a pinchín will always be the favourite in the region to start the day.

Cantabria

'Corbatas' and 'sobaos pasiegos' are an essential part of any Cantabrian breakfast, as these spongy and very tasty sponge cakes are ideal for a good breakfast. A fact: they say that the best 'sobaos pasiegos' are found in the small village of Hoznayo.

Castile-La Mancha

There is no shortage of 'toñas' in any house in Albacete. With clear Moorish reminiscences, 'toñas' occupy a prominent place alongside 'miguelitos', crunchy cream-filled puff pastries. Ciudad Real, meanwhile, offers fried flowers in the shape of a cross as an option for dipping in coffee, or Cuenca and Guadalajara with their 'borrachos de Taracón', a very spongy traditional sponge cake. 'Las toledanas', as their name suggests, are typical of Toledo. These sweet pastries filled with angel hair and covered with almonds are a perfect way to start the day.

Castile and Leon

The nine provinces that make up this region share simplicity in their breakfasts, as bread and butter is the common denominator in this part of Spain. It is also typical for the people of Castile and León to have biscuits for breakfast (not in vain does Palencia have one of the most important factories of this product) or homemade products such as doughnuts, muffins or puff pastries.

Catalonia

If there is one thing the Catalans can boast about, it is their Mediterranean diet. That's why, whether at breakfast or at any time of day, 'pan tumaca', (in Catalan: pa amb tomaca), is the speciality of the whole region. A slice of toast with olive oil and a bit of grated tomato rubbed on it is the best way to start the day.

Extremadura

Use the bread from the previous day to make fried 'migas' for breakfast. This is the first meal of the Extremaduran people, a traditional dish that never goes out of fashion. In addition, 'tostada de cachuela', also known as 'caldillo', is typical of Badajoz, with lard as the main ingredient.

Galicia

Variety abounds here, but the most typical Galician dishes are a must. A 'rosca de las Rías Baixas', 'mantecadas de As Pontes' or a good piece of 'queixo do país'. Anything goes for a Galician-style breakfast.

Balearic Islands

If there is one thing that characterises the Balearic Islands, it is their 'ensaimadas'. Whether or not they are filled with angel's hair, the Mallorcan 'ensaimada' is always a hit, a delicacy made with lard and in the shape of a doughnut that has its origins in Arab sweets.

Canary Islands

The Canary Islands share a lot of culture with the countries of Latin America, which is why it is common to find a Creole breakfast consisting of croquettes, eggs, sautéed potatoes, coffee with milk and Cuban toast. But if there is one ingredient that characterises the islands, it is 'gofio'. This flour made from toasted cereals is, together with bananas, the best breakfast treat.

La Rioja

According to several studies, 80% of the people of La Rioja say that they do not skip the most important meal of the day and start breakfast with their famous 'fardelejos', a puff pastry filled with a pastry similar to marzipan, but lighter and typically goes with 'guanjila', although this sweet is fried and is prepared more for Easter.

Madrid

The Spanish capital is still the queen of 'churros' and 'porras'. A good Madrilenian will get up early on a Sunday morning to buy a succulent breakfast with chocolate and some good 'churros'.

Murcia

Eggs, flour, sugar, yeast and cinnamon are the basic ingredients for the star breakfast of every Murcian. 'Paparajotes' are a must for any time of the year and at any time of the day, whether for breakfast or as a dessert.

Navarre

If you don't want to lose any strength during the San Fermines, the best thing to do is to have an energy-giving breakfast, and for that there's nothing better than 'churros'. They are also a speciality here, but the 'tortas de Txantxigorri' are also a good option for breakfast. They are made from the fried residue of lard, bread dough and sugar. Those who have tried it say that it is a real delicacy.

Basque Country

From the inland areas to the coast, the Basque Country has everything you need to enjoy a varied breakfast. If we want to start the day well, the best thing to do is to get our strength back at the so-called 'hamaiketako', a Basque lunch where there is no shortage of 'pintxo' cults in all their versions. At around 11am, you can have an omelette, a toast of Iberian ham with Gernika peppers in Vitoria or a 'gilda' with a 'taco' of tuna in Bilbao. The important thing is to have a big breakfast.

Valencia

If we talk about Valencia, we talk about 'horchata' and 'fartons'. This refreshing drink made from tiger nuts combines perfectly with the cornmeal-based pastries. Although the tradition of a good slice of bread with tomato is not lacking.

Ceuta and Melilla

These two cities are perhaps the most outside influenced in their cuisine, but they are not lacking in richness in their breakfasts. The typical breakfast in Melilla is called 'msemen' or 'rghaif', pancakes or flat bread that can be filled with sweet or savoury fillings depending on the person's taste. They are usually served both as an afternoon snack and for breakfast. Ceuta makes a sweet similar to 'pestiños' called 'chuparquina', but with the addition of vinegar, a key element of Arab cuisine.

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