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Convent Sweets (Dulces) in Madrid
Many nuns in the convents of Madrid earn their living selling sweets and confections. Their recipes come from the times of the Romans and Moors, which they have preserved over the ages. Unfortunately many convents are closing because they have fewer nuns. So this art may be lost in the future. Buying their sweets will help their convents and tourists can try something completely Spanish.
1. Monasterio de la Visitacion
Calle San Bernardo, 72
T el: 914-478-979
Specialties: Pastas, bizcochos y cocas.
2. Monasterio del Corpus Christi aka Las Carboneras
Plaza del Conde de Miranda, 3
Specialties: Naranjines, mantecados de jerez y de yema, huesos de Fray Escoba, pastas de te, los nevaditos, los tocinitos de cielo, pastas de almendras, polvorones.
3. El Jardín del Convento
Calle del Cordón 1, close to the Plaza de la Villa. This shop sells pastries and jams from some convents and monasteries of Spain (except from Las Carboneras in nearby). Closed on Monday.
4. Convento de San Diego
Plaza de San Diego, 7.
Alcalá de Henares
Specialty: Almendras, garrapiñadas.
The procedure for buying the sweets is very archaic, but very charming. You enter the convent to a very small room with a lazy Susan installed on the wall. You never see the nun with whom you do the transaction, since the nuns are cloistered and avoid direct contact with the public.
On the wall beside the lazy Susan will be a pricelist. You look it over and decide which sweets you want to buy. Then you ring a buzzer on the wall. After a while you will hear the voice of a nun greet you and ask you what you want to buy. You tell her your order and after a few minutes the lazy Susan will turn and you will find your order on it. You then put your money on the lazy Susan and turn it so that the nun can get it. If there is change, the nun puts it on the lazy Susan and you then can get your change.
The transaction is completely based on trust, and that is why it is so very charming.