I was up in Sallent de Gállego in the Pyrenees a couple of weeks ago. As I have mentioned in the past, it really is a beautiful place to be and somewhere I keep saying I will visit more often…… although I never do! When we visit the town we always go to the local bakery to buy some “mantecados”, they really do bake some of the best I’ve tried. The problem is of course that they are so good that they soon disappear. I decided therefore it was about time I made my own version of these mantecado biscuits.
These biscuits tend to have ground and chopped nuts in them, often almonds but also hazelnuts and pine nuts too. I used almonds, as I have lots of them from the orchard.
Almond trees grow very well here and there are many fields of them around the village. As with many crops they are harvested by machine now instead of by the traditional manual methods. To collect the almonds the locals would lay nets under the trees then hit the branches with the locally available canes. The almonds would drop from the trees and be collected in the nets.
Nowadays they use tractors with a special attachment that shakes the whole tree, with the almonds dropping into a special net that extends mechanically, like a butterfly’s wings, unfurling from the tractor to wrap around the trunk of the tree.
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2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge