Catalonian sardine flatbreads and donut holes

Today, Ash Wednesday, is a day full of food traditions in Catalonia, Spain. As Lent makes its entrance, today was traditionally the last day to eat rich foods. Fats, flours and eggs were used up during these past days (hence Shrove Tuesday, where pancakes are served) because the next forty days were going to be fasting days, and without refrigeration fat and eggs would not keep.

For Catalonia, this takes shape in the form of deep fried fluffy beignets, called "bunyols de vent", air filled donuts, or "bunyols de quaresma", Lent donuts.These are often bought at the local bakeries, who specifically fry them in the hundreds, to just sell today. Some of them are filled with pastry creams, others are hollow inside, but all are rolled in sugar.

Another tradition is to bury “the sardine”, to mark the end of Carnaval and the beginning of Lent, forty days of fasting. Sometimes, a real sardine is buried literally but most often, in order to mimic the burial, people eat "coca de sardines", a flatbread with grilled peppers and eggplant and topped with roasted, fresh sardines.

It's not sure where this tradition comes from (presumably because meat was forbidden during Lent, but fish was allowed on Fridays) but as so often, it's a tasty food tradition so it's not questioned too much!

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