Turrón or tangerines? What Spaniards really eat and drink during Christmas

Nougat fudge and seafood aren’t the only foodstuffs Spanish people eat during the Christmas period. Here’s what Spaniards are wolfing down the most during the festive season according to official data.

Turrón or tangerines? What Spaniards really eat and drink during Christmas
Photos: AFP/Flickr

Despite Christmas being unofficially recognised as the season of gastronomic overindulgence, hedonistic Spaniards are actually far healthier during this period than the reputation that precedes them. 

According to a report by the country’s Agriculture, Fishing and Food Ministry, the food product Spanish people eat the most during La Navidad (Christmas) is a fruit.

Each Spaniard ate an average 1kilo of tangerines in December, far more than any other drink or food product.

Not bad going considering it’s not even traditional in Spain to hang up a Christmas stocking, let alone stick an orange in a sock.

Next in line were two Spanish Christmas classics: Denominación de Origen (certificate of origin) wines – 650 centilitres consumed on average per person – and prawns/langoustine, 490 grammes per capita.

Langostinos. Photo: Emilio García/Flickr

READ ALSO:  ‘Don’t suck prawn heads’: Spain issues health warning over Christmas dinner delicacy 

But in fourth place on Spain’s Christmas food list is another fruit: the pineapple, showing that Spaniards’ love of fresh green produce – one of the main reasons they’re set to have the longest life expectancy in the world by 2040- is no coincidence.

Lamb was the fifth most eaten food product in Spain during the 2017 Christmas period, followed by Catalan sparkling wine Cava and other bubblies.

Source: El Mundo 

Then come the traditional Christmas sweets turrón (nougat made with honey, sugar, egg white and nuts) in seventh and polvorones/mantecados (a form of dry, crumbly shortbread) in ninth, illustrating how Spaniards don’t have as much of a Christmassy sweet tooth as other European nations, especially when it comes to chocolaty treats.

Turrón. Photo: AFP

What is surprising by Spanish standards is that the quintessential cold meats assortments don’t dominate the tables. Ibérico ham, better in quality than jamón serrano, is the first embutido on the list. Jamón Ibérico prices have shot up by 45 percent in the last five years in Spain, which might explain its lowly 13th position on the list, coupled with a common hike in prices during Christmas.

 Photo: Pablo BM/Flickr

Other foods that Spanish consume a fair amount of during Christmas include foie gras and pates, smoked salmon, clams and cockels, frozen octopus and cabrito goat.

Other alcoholic drinks that made it onto the list include gin, brandy and rum.

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What childcare options are available over the summer in Spain?

Kids in Spain get around three months of holiday over the summer, but finding childcare options during this time can be challenging for parents, especially if they have to work. So what is available?

What childcare options are available over the summer in Spain?

Kids in Spain get to enjoy a ten to 12-week summer vacation, starting towards the end of June and lasting until around the second week in September. This is one of the longest summer holidays in Europe.

In the UK, kids get around half of this time with around five or six weeks, while in France they get around eight weeks and in Germany around six weeks.

Unless you are a teacher or are self-employed, most salaried workers in Spain, according to the Workers’ Statue, can only take up to two-weeks vacation at a time, meaning that parents are often stuck with what to do with the kids for the rest of the summer.

If you’re in this situation, what are your options for summer childcare and how affordable is it?

Summer school camps

Most regular schools in Spain offer campamentos de verano or summer camps. This means that your kids can carry on going to their normal school, even after the term ends. But instead of doing their lessons, they’ll get to do fun daily activities, crafts and games, as well as a variety of day trips.

If your children’s school doesn’t offer this option, then there’s always the possibility of signing up to a campamento at another nearby school.

Remember, you’ll need to enrol your kids in advance to make sure they’re able to get a spot.

The price for these is around €70 to €100 per week if your child is going all day, and this typically includes lunch. Be aware that these school summer camps are usually not available during the whole of the summer, so you may need to still organise childcare for the month of August or a couple of weeks in August, if you’re taking your vacation then too.

The advantage of these is that your kids will often get to be with their friends and will know the surroundings already, however it may not really feel like much of a holiday or a break from school for them, if they’re in the same environment. 

Specialised or themed summer camps

Another option, rather than going to a summer camp at a school, is a themed summer camp, based on your kids’ hobbies or the activities they love. There are many different summer camps across the country, focused on everything from sports and languages to music or even theatre.

For example, in Barcelona, the city zoo offers a summer camp, as does FC Barcelona, where kids can learn football from the pros all day.

In Valencia, the Bioparc offers a summer camp, as do a couple of the local outdoor swimming pools.

Try searching online for campamento de verano (summer camp) plus the name of the town or city where you will be, there are options across almost all of Spain.

As these are private companies, not sponsored by the state schools, they typically cost considerably more than the school summer camps.

Expect to pay anywhere upwards from €200 per week, and double this for popular summer camps. The general rule is that the better the facilities, staff and transport, the more expensive it will be. 

Temporary nanny or Au-pair

If summer camps or schools are not an option, or you’d prefer for your kids to get more attention or be around the house, hiring a summer nanny or au-pair is also a good choice.

There are many young people who want summer jobs in order to earn a bit of extra money and many career nannies who may be stuck without a job with their regular family in the summer.

This could be a good chance for your kids to learn another language, by hiring a native speaker from a different country. Many Spanish families hire native English speakers to look after their kids in the summer, so you could hire a Spanish nanny if your kids need to brush up on their language skills or even a French or Italian nanny, if you want them to learn new language skills.

According to Au-Pair agency, the salary of an Au Pair in Spain is €70 per week if you live in the countryside, and €80 per week if you live in the city, which means between €280 and €320 euros per month, if they live in and more if they live out.  In cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, expect to pay a nanny around €10 per hour.

Ask family members for help

Many Spaniards will rely on family members such as grandparents to help look after their kids during the summer holidays.

If you don’t have family members in Spain then during the summer, you may be able to entice some family members to come over and help look after your kids or your children might enjoy a holiday back in your home country, if family members are able to take them in.