Today, Alexandra Cash brings us three pretty ridiculously cool facts about Spain. Read on to learn some of the most awesome stuff you didn’t know you didn’t know about españa!
Spanish Fun Fact #1: Ratoncito Pérez, the tooth mouse
There is no tooth fairy flying around Spain leaving Spanish children money for their lost teeth. Instead they are visited by a little mouse named Ratoncito Pérez. In an ancient tradition mothers gave lost teeth of their children to rodents in the hope that the children they would grow strong and healthy. From this tradition the legend of Ratoncito Pérez, or “the little Pérez” was born. In the 20th century author Luis Coloma wrote a definitive story about the extraordinary mouse and gave life to the tradition for all to read. Children put their tooth under their pillow and as they sleep they wait for Ratoncito Pérez to leave them money or a present in exchange. He is looked upon as a cleaver creature, gallant in nature, intelligent, and highly charismatic. Other stories have been written about Ratonicto Pérez and film adaptions have made his story widely known.
Spanish Fun Fact #2: Spain is home to the world’s largest tomato fight
Just thirty miles from the largest city of Valencia, a small town of Buñol is known for its produce. People in this area want to do more than just taste the fresh produce, but rather wear it too. Buñol is home to La Tomatina, the world’s largest vegetable fight. Every year, on the final Wednesday in August, upwards of 20,000 people from around the world join together to have a good laugh by being covered in tomato. In the 1940’s, in the town’s main square, a number of friends started a tomato fight for an unknown reason. Whether the projectile was intended for a city official or just a sucker of a passerby, the event spawned a yearly tradition. Truckloads of tomatoes are brought in from all over Spain to create the 90,000 pounds of produce that are aimed at anything that moves, runs, ducks, or tries to escape a direct hit. The event has blossomed into a full on party complete with a festival, food, parades, and fireworks all in the name of becoming a sloppy mess.
Spanish Fun Fact #3: Spanish hot chocolate is like drinking pudding
The Spanish are known for great cuisine, but they’ve been crazy for chocolate since it was brought back from the New World in 500 years ago. In centuries past Spaniards used to consume this hot beverage for breakfast. It is so thick you can even stand churro in it. The two pair up nicely. This drink strays far from other known hot chocolate made from powdered mixes and water or milk. Try this recipe from spanishfood.about.com to experience the delectability.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 2 Servings or 2 Cups
Sweet chocolate version
2 8-ounce cups (250 ml) whole milk
4 ounces (113 gr) milk chocolate
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
Baking Chocolate Version
2 8-ounce (250 ml) cups whole milk
3 ounces=3 squares (93 gr) baking chocolate
1/3-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and add the cornstarch. Whisk to dissolve the cornstarch. Once the cornstarch is dissolved, heat the milk on medium heat just until it boils, then remove from heat. Add the chocolate squares immediately and begin stirring until the chocolate is completely melted. If the milk cools off too fast, place the pan back on the stove on low heat to melt the chocolate.
If you are using baking chocolate, which is unsweetened, pour the sugar into the chocolate milk mixture and stir until thoroughly dissolved.
Place the pan back on the stove on medium low/medium heat, stirring slowly, but constantly. (Do not cook the mixture over high heat because it may cause lumping.) Taste the chocolate for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary. The mixture should thicken quickly. As soon as you see it thicken, remove the pan from the heat so the cornstarch will not thin. Ladle immediately into cups and serve piping hot.
Photo Credit: fearghalonuallain