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The legend of the Tiò de Natal

The ramblas decorated for the occasion of Christmas were a real beauty, from every tree that lined the promenade lights rose like many hands towards the sky. In the background, Will could admire the Sagrada Familia, the mythical basilica designed by Gaudi, all covered with lights that made it stand out in the starry night. The journey towards happiness of Will and Joy had in fact brought our two protagonists to stop in Barcelona. Will and Joy, after leaving the ramblas, walked through the gothic alleys of the Spanish city until, between arches and narrow streets, they found themselves in front of a restaurant with a rather strange name, which, to tell the truth, did not go very well to Joy, els Quatre Gats, the four cats. However, they were hungry so they decided to enter the restaurant anyway. It was like walking through a door of time and entering Barcelona in the early 1900s, candelabra, photos and drawings of the time hung on the walls and with a little imagination you could almost see Picasso sitting at the counter sipping a coffee! In a corner, not far from their table, Will and Joy noticed, as they gorged themselves on various delicacies, a log of wood placed with full honors on a pedestal. Will asked an elderly lady sitting next to the meaning of that piece of wood. The woman began immediately to tell about a Spanish legend, the legend of the Tiò de Natal, the Christmas log. A long time ago, on a cold and dark night in December, a hungry elderly man knocked on the door of a small house in search of hospitality. In that small house lived a very poor family who did not even have the money to buy firewood to keep warm. But, despite this, the family warmly welcomed the elderly man and shared with him the dinner which was not abundant but prepared with love. The next day the elderly man had disappeared but, in the fireplace, a large log had appeared. The family, happy, immediately lit the log from which, as if by magic, gifts and foods of all kinds came out. From that day on, the family was able to live without worries and the tiò de Natal became a symbol of good wishes and abundance.

Turron de Jijona

Typical of the city of Alicante in southern Spain, this soft and exquisite nougat is usually prepared at Christmas time. Toast 150 grams of almonds and 150 grams of hazelnuts in a pan, stir often to avoid burning them, then set aside. In a saucepan, melt 100 grams of honey and 50 grams of brown sugar over low heat, then remove from heat. Separately beat an egg white and add it to the honey and sugar mixture. Stir to mix the ingredients. Add the grated zest of an organic lemon, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and the dried fruit. Pour the mixture into a high-sided container greased with oil. Let it rest for a few hours, then cut it up and serve.
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