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Seville will enjoy its traditional exhibition of sweets and pastries from cloistered convents, promoted this year by extraordinary measure
The consequences of the pandemic reach any corner, even the most remote. Even the nuns of the 19 cloistered convents of the city have suffered the consequences. This year they won’t be allowed to carry out the sweet exhibition at the Real Alcázar during the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Therefore, the City Council, together with the ‘Cabildo’ (religious council), have promoted a set of actions to promote this very traditional celebration. It will be the 36th edition.
With these initiatives there is no excuse to go out and start a tour that includes the seven convents awarded with the Seal of Quality. Although the list is still open to new admissions.
But of course, an itinerary always respecting the safety and hygiene measures established by the health authorities, such as the distance of two meters or the use of masks, among others
Seal of Quality ‘Ora et Labora’
So far there are seven convents that have received this recognition from the institutions. To have this recognition, monasteries must meet a series of requirements:
1. The products must be made in the workrooms of the convents by cloistered nuns who work in prayer and silence. These are exquisite products developed with authenticity in peaceful communities and unique environments.
2. They are made by hand. All their products are handcrafted with patience and dedication. Made with great skill and with top quality raw materials. And, of course, keeping all the safety and hygiene measures.
3. They are gastronomic heritage of Seville. Many of their recipes are centuries old, jewels of our gastronomy. Specialties that are an important part of the history of the city and a mixture of influences from all the cultures that have passed through Seville. Products full of history and tradition.
4. Simple and careful presentation, in keeping with the nuns’ lifestyle and following tradition. Packaged and labeled complying with the mandatory food quality and safety regulations.
5. Limited production. The main activity of the cloistered nuns is contemplative prayer. That’s why they only make sweets and other artisan products for their subsistence. They don’t have an industrialized production.
Both institutions want the Sevillians to ring the bell of the convents so as to buy some of their delicious products. If we only count the convents cataloged with the ‘Ora el Labora’ stamp, we would have a route of just 40 minutes to see them all, following the most convenient circuit. The extra time you spend in each of the ‘tornos’ (gates) depends on how sweet you are.
Starting the tour from the Madre de Dios Convent, on San José Street, we would soon reach the convents of Santa María de Jesús and San Leandro, and after a short walk we would reach the famous convent of Santa Inés, where the mortal remains of Mrs. María Coronel are located.
1. MADRE DE DIOS (Dominicas) – San José St., 4. 41004
Torno: Monday to Friday: 10.00 – 13.30 h and Saturdays: 11.00 – 13.30 h
Specialities: bocaditos árabes, naranjitos sevillanos, cordiales, yemas de batata, almendrados, gallina en leche, bienmesabe, dátiles rellenos de mazapán, empanadillas hechas al horno rellenas de boniato or cidra, magdalenas, pastas de almendra, perrunillas, roscos de anís, tortas de aceite, torta de hojaldre, roscos de vainilla, galletas especiales, pastas de mantequilla and bocaditos de almendra.
2. SANTA MARÍA DE JESÚS (Franciscanas Clarisas) – Águilas St., 22. 41003
Torno: everyday: 9.30 – 13.00 h and 16.30 – 19.00 h
Specialities: corazones de almendra, perrunillas, pastas de San Francisco, pastas de nuez, pestiños, roscos de almendra, pastas Sevilla con chocolate.
They celebrate currently the fith centenary of the founding of the convent.
3. SAN LEANDRO (Agustinas) – San Ildefonso Sq., 1. 41003
Torno: everyday: 9.00 – 13.00 h and 17.00 – 19.00 h
Specialities: yemas de San Leandro, muffins and pestiños.
4. SANTA INÉS (Franciscanas Clarisas) – Doña María Coronel St., 5. 41003
Torno: Monday to Saturday: 10.00 – 13.30 h and 16.00 – 18.30 h
Specialities: cortadillos, bollitos de Santa Inés, mantecados, pastas, chocolate, almendrada, polvorón, tortas de aceite, magdalenas, empanadillas de cidra, pastas de Santa Inés (limón) and Santa Clara (anís y canela), sultanas and cajas surtidas.
Continuing north and leaving the Palacio de las Dueñas on our left, we would go off course to the right to Santa Paula Convent.
5. SANTA PAULA (Jerónimas) – Santa Paula St., 11. 41003
Torno: todos los días: 9.30 – 13.30 h y 17.00 – 19.00 h
Specialities: Mermeladas, Jalea, Pimientos dulces, Dulce de membrillo y Alfajores mozárabes.
Diversify the cultural offer
From here we have a long walk crossing the city from east to west until we reach the Santa Ana convent. The longest stretch of the tour. Once there, only 600 meters separate us from the Royal Monastery of San Clemente, next to the Guadalquivir, where another María rests, in this case, Queen María of Portugal, the wife of Alfonso XI.
6. SANTA ANA (Carmelitas) – Sta. Ana St., 34B. 41002
Torno: everyday: 10.00 – 13.15 h and 17.00 – 19.00 h
Specialities: pestiños, mantas, trufas, yemas, rosco frito, panellets de piñones, empanadillas, cordiales de Totana, muffins, carmelitas, bombones de almendra and suspiros.
7. SAN CLEMENTE (Cistercienses) – Reposo St., 9. 41002.
Torno: Monday to Saturday: 10.00 – 13.00 h and 15.30 – 17.45 h; Sundays and public holidays: 11.00 – 12.45 and 15.30 -17.30 h
Specialities: cortadillos especiales, piñonadas, pastas de almendra, pestiños de miel, dulzuras clementinas, cookies de chocolate, tortas de polvorón, mazapán, dulces surtidos (medio kilo) y dulzuras Navidad (1 kilo), corazón de Santa Gertrudis, mermeladas biológicas, miel de sierra.
In short, a very pleasant route with wich you’ll appreciate other beautiful places of the city, so often replaced by the most popular heritage sites or -even- forgotten.
Making visible all the effort that the nuns have made the last weeks is the purpose of all these enterprises. The ultimate goal of this campaign is for convents to receive a minimum income also this year, despite the pandemic.
For this to happen, 20,000 leaflets of these 7 Sevillian convents have been printed with the most important information, such as their addresses, telephone numbers, sweets that they offer –more than 70 varieties of products!– and the opening hours of each of the ‘tornos’.
In addition, ‘Turismo de Sevilla’ (Tourism Department of Seville) has made a promotional video for the occasion, entitled ‘Seville has a heavenly flavor’. All these measures are part of the Plan8 for tourism promotion that the local government has been carrying out since the state of alarm was proclaimed in March.
These courses of action are focused on covering beyond the Christmas season, encouraging people to buy throughout the year. A very interesting, supportive and full of history proposal to sweeten a really unusual and unfortunate year.
We are Víctor Fernández (Bachelor’s Degree in Audiovisual Communication and Master in Journalism) and Clara Nebrera (Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts), founders of the Macarena Tours brand, formed by a team of official tour guides specialized in private visits in Seville and its surroundings.