*For language learners: we've highlighted some useful vocabulary in this news story. You'll find the Spanish translations at the bottom of the article.
And they are also pretty serious about jamon.
So it will come as no surprise to anyone to learn that this year’s winner of the coveted “best croqueta in the world” goes to none other than a ham version.
What might be a bit of a shock, is that the winning croquette, from a restaurant in Toledo, also included a very unSpanish element – the Japanese ingredient panko.
The Japanese version of the breadcrumb coating added an extra crunch to the croquette, coating the smooth creamy bechamel interior laced with fatty jamon iberico pieces.
— madrid fusion (@madridfusion) January 30, 2019
“I have used the same traditional croquette ingredients throughout my whole life, treated with great care, made with a lot of patience and a lot of heart,” explained Javier Ugidos, the chef responsible for creating the winning morsel.
“But we wanted to add a Japanese detail, because in our restaurant we create fusion food with oriental elements,” said the head chef of Tobiko, a restaurant located in Toledo named after a Japanese flying fish.
It was the first time Ugidos entered the contest and he explained that at the family run restaurant he opened four years ago, the Panko-coated croquette is one of the signature dishes.
His croquette took the top prize in the championship held at Fusion, the gastronomic congress that took place in Madrid this week after competing alongside entrants from restaurants across Spain.
In a blind tasting, judges were given two croquettes from each of the six finalists in order to asses the creaminess of the inside, crunchiness of the exterior and combination of flavours.
“The decision over the winning croqueta has been unanimous”, confessed Miquel Antoja, former chef at the now closed three-Michelin starred Sant Pau restaurant in Catalonia.
Spanish vocab to learn:
campeonato – championship
pan rallado – breadcrumbs
ubicado en Toledo – located in Toledo
crujiente – crunch
pez volador – flying fish
su primer concurso – his first contest
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