Olive Oil Tortas

A specialty of southern Spain that’s been ever more present on my kitchen counter over the last couple months. I haven’t been back to the area for a long time now, but I’m speculating that these tortas are to the people of Seville what mandelbread is to Eastern European Jews. A really great little sweet you could eat almost every day, something most everyone made at home, that could carry you through a long afternoon or be a light, sweet ending to a good meal.

Made in the town of Castilleja de la Cuesta, they’re lightly-leavened, crisp flatbreads made with a generous dose of olive oil, then sprinkled with a bit of coarse sugar and, in the case of our most recent arrival, also brushed with a bit of orange syrup. Unlike some of the other “models” on the market, these are completely hand done. Each torta is a bit different from the next, which you’ll see when you unwrap the waxed paper in which they arrive. I’m particularly partial to the slightly dark edges that you get on a few of them. Not too sweet, great with tea or coffee, with cheese, or for a snack. I have a feeling they could be a big hit with kids and parents alike—sweet enough to get you excited, not so sweet as to put you off. Again, all are made completely by hand and all are really quite excellent!

This post is part of a series of Ari’s Best Foods of 2011.