Which Spanish supermarket sells the best Roscón de Reyes?

by Lorraine Williamson
Roscón de Reyes

MADRID – On January 6 it will be Reyes (Epiphany) in Spain again. On January 5, the entry of Melchor from Persia, Gaspar from India and Baltasar from Arabia takes place in many towns and cities. That is also the evening when the Roscón de Reyes is traditionally served. 

The children also receive their gifts on the night of 5 to 6 January, which they can still play with on their last day off during the Christmas holidays. However, back to the Roscón de Reyes. This is the Epiphany wreath which is made from sweet bread dough and decorated with candied fruit. Moreover, the aroma of orange blossom often gives the Roscón its typical taste. 

Since the 1970s, the Roscón has become more luxurious, usually filled with cream or other fattening delicacies. A plastic or ceramic figure is hidden in the Róscon, although sometimes it is still, just like before, a bean. But, whoever finds the surprise in his slice of Róscon is the king of the party for that evening and, depending on the agreements made and the local tradition, the one who may pay the Roscón the following year. 

Also read: Festive sweets and treats

Research into the quality of Roscónes in the supermarket 

The newspaper El Confidencial published the results of the annual survey by the Spanish Consumers’ Association (OCU) into the quality of Roscónes sold in supermarkets. Furthermore, in all cases, it concerns Roscónes filled with cream. 

In general, the OCU judged that the quality of the Roscónes improves every year. However, as you would expect from a sweet treat made from dough prepared with butter and filled with cream, the nutritional value relative to the number of calories is low. 

Artificial additives 

The best Roscónes are made from dough prepared with butter and pure cream (from milk) as a filling. Until 10 years ago, most Roscónes were still prepared with a mixture of butter and vegetable oils (sunflower, coconut or palm oil). The Roscónes, an industrial patisserie after all, also contained artificial additives, an average of 12 but some even contained 16, which also influenced the final verdict. 

Three Roscónes rated “unsatisfactory”. 

The Roscónes were awarded points based on taste, the presence of additives, and the quality of the butter and cream. Two Roscónes were rated “excellent”. But four were rated as average and two as unsatisfactory. The price per unit and kilogram of Roscón was also examined. The taste of the Roscónes was judged by a panel of experts, all pastry chefs. 

Which supermarket sells the best Roscón de Reyes? 

The best Roscón was the Roscón Selection of the Corte Ingles with 62 points. This Roscón costs €14.45, which amounts to €17 per kilo. 

Alcampo’s Roscón finished in second place with 60 points. This costs €8.49 each (€20.21 per kilo, the most expensive of the test). 

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Third place is Eroski’s Roscón with 56 points, €7.20 each, and only €9 per kilo. 

In fourth place with 55 points, is Lidl’s Roscón la Cestera, €5.99 per piece and the cheapest at just  €7.99 per kilo. 

In fifth place is Aldi’s Roscón Special Premium with 53 points, €7.99 each and €15.98 per kilo. 

Carrefour’s Roscón comes in sixth place with 50 points, €11.95 each and €14.94 per kilo. 

Mercadona’s Roscón finishes third from bottom with 45 points, rated by the OCU as of “poor quality”. The price is average, €8.50 per piece and €10.63 per kilo. 

Dia’s Roscón finished second to last, with only 34 points and €6.99 each (€12.71 per kilo). 

Last came the Roscón from Ahorramás with 33 points and still €10.99 each (€12.93 per kilo). 

Best buy 

The Roscón from Corte Inglès therefore clearly came out on top and, because of the favourable price-quality ratio, was also awarded the predicate “best buy”. Lidl’s Roscón was awarded the title of “most advantageous buy” based on its lowest price and reasonable quality. 

The three Roscónes that finished last did not meet the minimum requirements for quality and/or taste, according to the OCU. 

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