My family and I are back for another hot summer in Spain. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to beat the heat. Fine beaches, mid-day siestas and a tall glass of café granizado are some of my favorite ways to stay cool.
Coffee lovers will love this! A glass of pre-sweetened coffee with crushed ice. On a day where the temperature rises to 40C/100F, how could one really pass that up?
Well, one could when you have the option to add a scoop of ice cream to that tall glass of iced cafe. How about a Blanco y Negro?
As a native New Yorker, a “Black and White” to me, means a sugar cookie half-coated with chocolate frosting and the other half in vanilla. Here, a Blanco y Negro is a glass of café granizado with a scoop of ice cream called leche merengada. A treat like this will surely cool you down.
Oh, but you want something a little lighter than that? Or a straight cup of coffee is too strong for you? Ok, well then have a glass of fresquet. This is similar to an iced coffee with milk, but the crushed ice and the sprinkle of cocoa powder adds a little more excitement to the cool beverage.
Since our return to my father-in-law’s village just outside of Valencia, I have been happily taking part in our daily ritual of merienda time. Merienda is not anything new for me. Growing up in a Filipino household, merienda was and still is an important part of our eating habits. Merienda is a light snack, maybe the equivalent of afternoon tea, and we usually had merienda between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner. With the late night dinner schedules of Spain, a merienda is necessary to make it through the long lapse between lunch, siesta, and dinner time.
So what have we been having for merienda? Any of the above, as well as another refreshment called horchata (or Orxata as in the original Valencian/Catalan word) and other Spanish baked treats. Café granizado can easily be made at home. However, with the sweltering heat, my desire to spend time in the kitchen has gone on vacation. Another reason that my cooking rhythm has slowed down is the particular location of our home. We are just a two minute walk from a cafe/bakery owned by a relative in town. Yes, I know. I am absolutely spoiled here. But since you can’t all come and visit us, I am happy to share a family member’s recipe for some homemade café granizado.
1 pot of coffee (decaffeinated if you need to)
Sugar (amount depends on how sweet you like your coffee)
1 peel from a lemon
1 stick of cinnamon
Prepare the coffee.
When the coffee is ready, put it in a saucepan and add sugar to taste, 1 piece of lemon peel and cinnamon.
Heat until sugar is dissolved.
When cool, pour in a freezer safe container and put in the freezer.
Remove from freezer a few minutes before serving.
Blanco y Negro
Pour one serving of café granizado into a tall glass.
Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, unless you can find the flavors leche merengada or nata. (Unless you are in Spain, you may not easily come across these flavors, so go with vanilla)
Optional: It’s usually sprinkled with some cinnamon on top.
Pour a serving of café granizado into a tall glass.
Add some milk.
A teaspoon or more of your favorite cocoa powder.
Stir and enjoy!