What do the Spanish Eat for Breakfast?

Cafe con leche and rice pudding
Gary Conner / Getty Images

Are you planning a trip to Spain? Or putting together a Spanish themed brunch? If so you might be wondering just what's on the breakfast menu in Spain? Well, breakfast in Spain is small but tasty. Cafe con leche (espresso coffee with steamed milk), a roll and some cheese and/or jam. Those who do not drink coffee may have a cup of thick, rich Spanish hot chocolate and churros (a light, crisp sort of doughnut) or torrijas.

That keeps Spaniards going until they have lunch at 1:30! 

The Spanish Breakfast

The Spanish start eating in the morning and don't seem to stop until they turn in for the evening... and even with the increased serving sizes in the USA, most Americans are surprised at the large size of Spanish meals. But what does it all start with? Well, coffee of course! 

Cafe Con Leche

Coffee is an important part of the Spanish diet but many American's are surprised to learn that coffee in Spain is very different. Like most European nations Spain prefers espresso to drip coffee. But thanks to companies like Starbucks most Americans are now familiar with the espresso drink known as the latte. This delicious drink made of steamed milk, espresso and microfoam is almost exactly like the Spanish drink Cafe Con Leche. While the Spaniards breakfast drink of choice is made of steamed milk and espresso there is no microfoam to be found in the cafe con leche.

 

Ensaimadas

One of the best parts of a Spanish breakfast has got to be the sweet bread known as ensaimadas. These breads come in many different styles and flavors but they date back centuries. The first known recipes for these breads dates back to the 1700's. Back then reduced pig lard was a major ingredient but today you can find most breads sans the pig lard.

Now it's common to have fruit or sugar coated ensaimadas. 

Torrijjas

If you're lucky enough to be in Spain over the holiday known as Easter you'll have to partake in this Spanish Easter breakfast tradition. Torrijjas is very similar to the popular American dish French toast. Torrijjas are usually made with the slices of bread that no one wants to make a sandwich with, like the ends. Then milk, sugar and either ground cinnamon or a cinnamon stick are brought to a boil and left to rest for five minutes. If you've you'd a whole cinnamon stick you'd discard it before pouring the milk over the bread. After letting the bread sit for an hour dip it in a stirred egg and fry it. If you just can't wait for Easter or a trip to Spain this dish is easy to replicate in your own home. You can bring a little bit of world culture right into your home's kitchen. Your kids will love it!

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