Recently, I’ve started watching a Spanish show from the ‘80s called Verano Azul and was reminded of all the goodies I used to have there as a kid. I spent a lot of time in Spain visiting my mom’s family there when I was young. I love the architecture, food, and people, but I’d have to say that the things that I will never forget from my time there are snacks and candies.
Literally called “little worms,” gusanitos kind of have the texture of pirate booty but in the shape similar to Cheetos. In fact, Cheetos even sells them in Spain. They have a mild salty flavor and are so soft that they practically melt in your mouth the moment you take a bite.
Picos are the definition of simple foods being the best. In Andalucia, a southern province of Spain, we eat Picos with basically every meal. They’re little baguette-shaped pieces of crunchy baked bread. We eat them with ham, cheese, and sometimes use them in recipes to supplement regular bread when we run out.
Mezcla, or “mix,” is a really salty and crunchy mix of corn nuts, peanuts, tiny gusanito balls, and dried garbanzo beans. This is often served in restaurants or bars for free with any drink or meal you order as a little appetizer. You can also buy it at the supermarket and just have it as a snack whenever you feel like (which is pretty much always for me).
Most of the salty snacks we bought were from the supermarket, but I always got my candies from a little kiosk by the beach owned by a woman named Manuela. Manuela is still alive and still runs her kiosk by the beach at 75 years old. She was actually on the Andalucian News recently because of her popularity on TikTok. (Here’s her TikTok account in case you’re curious).
In complete honesty, I don’t know the proper name of this candy, but this is the name of the brand that sells them. I’ve even asked my mom and searched the internet to find the proper term, but the only thing I would find is “licorice filled with sugar”, which is essentially it. These candies are long tubes of an extremely thin layer of smooth licorice (with the taste more similar to Twizzlers than Red Vines) wrapped around a white chewy sugar filling. They’re honestly pretty addictive so you usually end up eating 5 after just picking one out of the bag.
These are pink and white marshmallows called “clouds.” There’s actually a debate in Spain whether people call them Nubes or Jamónes (hams). Personally, I grew up calling them nubes, but I’m indifferent. They’re essentially strawberry-flavored marshmallows, but they are a bit lighter and softer than your typical American marshmallow. They have a light strawberry flavor that isn’t overpowering or too sweet.
I’ve always found it fascinating how a certain smell or taste can bring you back to a certain memory from your childhood. Although I’m only able to find a few of these candies and snacks here in the US, I’ll never forget the sunny childhood memories that go with each of these snacks.