Apart from a bear hugging a tree, cocido madrileño and a football team, Madrid has also managed to find room for its own ‘typical’ sweet, the violetina: it’s purple and tastes like violets – I think.
Because I have never eaten a real violet, I just have to assume the sweet resembles the violet somehow.
On top of that, this quintessentially Spanish candy has a flowery shape to make sure you don’t miss out on the botanical connection. You can buy them in many shops, but the best are said to be made by La Violeta, a tiny and very old-fashioned looking shop that specializes in these faux flowers in sumptuous packaging.
Founded in 1915 and still situated on Plaza de Canalejas La Violeta sells all things violet-y save the real flowers: teas, jelly, even sugared violet petals, but most of all candy – homemade from sugar and violet essence. Sure, other types of candy are also for sale, but it’s obvious people enter for the purple stuff. Helpful Maria, member of the 3rd generation of flower candy vendors, assures me that after all these years she still eats violetinas herself. Flower power Madrid-style.
Shop: La Violeta
Location: Plaza de Canalejas 6
Hours: Mon-Sat 10h-14h and 16:30-20h
First published on http://www.MAPmagazine.com, spring 2007