Monas de Pascua: Easter "Eggs" in Catalonia and other Spanish Regions

Today in some regions of Spain they'll continue the Easter holiday and local traditions with Lunes de Pascua or Dilluns de Pasqua (in Catalan). In Madrid, where I am now, the city is back to work and the stores and people are adopting to their normal routines. However, in Barcelona where I spent last year, as well as the Balearic Islands, Valencia, Aragón and Castilla La Mancha, even Murcia, this Easter Monday they'll celebrate a holiday in which the focus will be centered around being with family and for children, or kids at heart, the partaking of the mones de Pasqua (monas de Pascua in Castilian).

For many the end of La Cuaresma (Lent) is marked by giving in to their hunger-strikes or 40-day resistance to meat, coffee, or perhaps the ever popular self-denial of chocolate. Maybe for this reason, the traditional monas, which were originally constructed of a sort of enlarged donut with hard boiled eggs baked in, have found a new affinity with the general population in the likes of chocolate eggs, baby chicks, or football team and Dora the Explorer figurines. Even the avant-garde have stepped up to the plate, were monas have been reinvented by pastry chefs and chocolate masters such as, Christian Escribà and Oriol Balaguer, creating hand-crafted works of art that seldom show a price tag.

Custom designed "mones de Pasqua" eggs by Oriol Balaguer 
For centuries the egg has been a symbol of life, of rebirth.  Dating back to origins of Pagans and Persians, the Christian religion adopted the custom as is told in the story of Mary visiting Jesus' tomb before his resurrection, the egg representing the boulder.

It remains in the Catholic families of the above mentioned regions of Spain, that the mona de Pascua is given from godparents to their respective godchildren. Every year, from toddlers well into adolescence, these children will receive their mona and pose for a picture with it, no doubt shortly thereafter, it is eaten! Often paired in The Levante with a longaniza de Pascua, a cured pork product eaten at merienda time, to further define the meat consumption/restrictions practiced or respected by some during Lent.

While you can pick up your mona from a myriad of bakeries in cities such as Barcelona (where some 600,000 monas are consumed), Valencia or Palma de Mallorca, my insider's tip from friends David and Eli recommend Pastelería Hofmann, a haute couture bakery in the chic neighborhood of the Born, Barcelona. Aside from seasonal monas they provide a wide range of delicious and beautifully crafted sweets all year long; you can also visit their restaurant and cooking school.

mona de Pascua from Hofmann that is muy mona (very cute) and a mono (monkey)! 


Front entrance to Pasteleria Hofmann, El Born, Barcelona. 

Pastelería Hofmann
Carrer Flassaders 44
Barcelona, Spain 08003
+34 932 68 82 21
[map]

2 comments:

Capitan HaddocK said...

Great article and very well documented!

I was afraid of blaming you because of not saying that the Monas are also a tradition outside Cataluña before reading the article, and I found that you did your homework!

Just as a curiosity, in my birth town in Murcia, we use to follow the same tradition, but in this case the Mona (which is called Hornazo) is given not in Lunes de pascua, but the previous sunday to Palm Sunday, called "Domingo de Panes".

Lauren Heineck said...

Thanks so much for sharing Juan! And I thank you for your kind comments. One of these days I would love to get to Murica to experience first hand their traditions and gastronomy!

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