Every area has its own unique foods and pastries if you take the time to look for them. It wasn’t hard to find in Seville where the Confiteria la Campana has been serving up all kinds of pastries since 1885. The beautiful cafe has a huge pastry counter inside filled with all kinds of goodies, including custard cakes and whipped cream-filled pastries. Everything is made fresh and, as you can tell when you walk into the crowded shop, it is popular with the locals. I picked up a few pastries (including one that was a crisp pastry shaped like a fish and filled with whipped cream) before a picnic and learned that allowing a bag of pastries to slip to the bottom of a picnic basket renders them rather unphotogenic, even if they’re still tasty. Try to picture a mass of smushed up puff pastry and whipped ream and you get the idea. Still, I would easily go back for these pastries.
One treat that wasn’t smushed was this yema. My guidebook had perhaps the most inaccurate description that I’ve ever read of a pastry to go along with the yema. It said that it is “a soft, crumbly biscuit cake wrapped like a toffee.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? A yema is actually more along the lines of a ball of candied custard, made with egg yolks, sugar and milk (or sweetened condensed milk). I’ve had some traditional Philippino yemas before that were on the milkier, creamier side. This one was more on the eggy side, with a rather unpleasant gritty and sugary texture to it and a very waxy coating. Perhaps it would have been a little less strange if I hadn’t been expecting a “soft, crumbly biscuit cake” when I bit into it!
Although this may be a specialty of the shop (and they did seem to be quite popular), it also goes to show you that you never exactly know what you’re going to get when you bite into that specialty – or if it is something that is only locally popular for a good reason!