As a frequent visitor to Spain and primarily Andalusia, I love to explore the exciting produce and unfamiliar foods that I see. Andalusia is especially interesting as it’s past Islamic, Christian and Jewish histories have influenced it’s cuisine and culture. When I travel, I’m a food tourist. Other people buy ornaments and trinkets, whereas I look for interesting food to bring home with me to relive my adventures. When I visit Sevilla, some of my tried and tested, regular food souvenirs are hot chocolate mix and mantecados de aceite de oliva from La Despensa de Palacio and tortas from the Ines Rosales shop on Plaza de San Francisco.
Until I first visited Sevilla, I had never heard of tortas. However, on my first visit several years ago, while exploring the city’s charming streets, I randomly discovered a shop with royal blue signage bearing the name ‘Ines Rosales’, flanked by posters displaying pastries and indicating that the business had been established since 1910. Naturally, the curious foodie in me had to taste their wares – I was smitten and have loved tortas ever since.
So, what are tortas (also known as tortas de aceite)?
Traditional tortas are round cracker breads that are sweet and delicately flavoured with aniseed. They contain extra virgin olive oil which gives them their unique crisp texture.
At this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City. I happily chanced on the Ines Rosales stand and realised that I knew very little about the story behind this iconic Spanish brand. I spoke to Lucía Conejo-Mir from Ines Rosales USA to learn more about how the company’s namesake, a woman from a small village on the outskirts of Sevilla, popularised an obscure local pastry and how it evolved into a much loved Spanish snack food. You can hear the interview by clicking on the play button below.