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The "roscón de Reyes" is a must on the table on 6 January. Fotolia
This is the best traditional cake for Three Kings on the supermarket shelves in Spain, according to OCU
Food and drink

This is the best traditional cake for Three Kings on the supermarket shelves in Spain, according to OCU

The leading Spanish consumer organisation has analysed 13 different 'roscón de Reyes' available from the major store chains, ahead of 6 January

Thursday, 4 January 2024, 16:59

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They are available with cream, chocolate, nougat fillings or even without any at all.... it's all a matter of taste, but these traditional cakes are a must on table in Spain at this time of the year, especially on 5 and 6 January, to mark the arrival of the Three Kings. This is the popular roscón de Reyes, a product that originated in France. Ahead of the big occasion, Spain's national OCU organisation of consumers and users has drawn up a ranking of the best cream-filling roscón cakes that can be bought in the major supermarkets.

An expert tasting panel judged the packaged cream-filled roscones sold in the main store chains across the country: Ahorramás, Alcampo, Aldi, Carrefour, Dia, El Corte Inglés, Eroski, Froiz, La Despensa, Lidl and Mercadona and in the scoring they assessed different aspects of the products such as the quality of the fats used, flavour, aroma and texture as well as the labelling.

According to the OCU, 6 of the 13 roscones analysed did not reach an acceptable rating. Some of them overused additives: colourings, preservatives, emulsifiers and texturising agents, and some replaced cream with vegetable fat mixtures.

The best of the 13 selected roscones tasted was the Lidl brand roscón which, according to the OCU, had a very good quality/price ratio, followed by the El Corte Inglés Selection roscón de nata, which was highly rateed in the tasting session, although it was also the most expensive of those tested.

Roscón with cream from Lidl (€10.65/kg). Overall rating: 71 points out of 100. Tasting: well-fermented cake of good size, with plenty of pearl sugar and a soft texture. Good pastry smell, abundant presence of cream of balanced sweetness, the cake is tasty, the butter is appreciated and it has a balanced orange blossom flavour.

El Corte Inglés Selection Roscón with cream (€19.94/kg). Overall rating: 63 points out of 100. Tasting: Well-fermented cake with pearl sugar, soft texture. Good pastry smell. Cream with good flavour, cake where the butter can be appreciated, with tender, balanced aromas.

Main problems identified

The main problems encountered by the OCU while carrying out the study were as follows:

-Quality of filling: Some 'roscones' replace cream (in whole or in part) with vegetable fat blends of palm, coconut or turnip rape.

-Use of additives: Some roscones overuse additives, such as colourings, preservatives, emulsifiers and texturising agents.

-Disappointing results: Almost half of the roscones analysed received a disappointing rating in the tasting test by the experts.

The roscones from Lidl and El Corte Inglés Selection were the only ones to obtain an acceptable rating in all the aspects analysed.

To be taken into account

Bearing in mind that the quality of an artisan cake cannot be compared with the industrial ones sold in supermarkets, when choosing a cream-filled roscón in the supermarket, the OCU recommends always checking the labelling to ensure that there are no vegetable fats such as palm, palm kernel, coconut or turnip, giving priority to those whose filling is exclusively whipped cream and the pastry is made with butter. And they should always be consumed in moderation, as they are very high in fat (17%) and sugar (21%).

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