Taking a T-shirt or a model of one the Region of Murcia's monuments home as a souvenir is fine, but taking a taste of our Region is better still. Typical food products are the best way of remembering your visit or sharing the experience with those who couldn't be with you on your journey.
Sweet, savoury, bottled or canned... head to one of the typical local shops, especially the cake shops, and take their advice. Each area is renowned for its own typical products, which people travel from far and wide to try. Check out these souvenirs that will have you licking your fingers even when you are back at home.
Each of these tasty souvenirs has a rich history that often goes back for centuries. They might be Greek or Roman, Phoenician or Carthaginian, Christian or Arabic in origin, but they all have one thing in common: they are sure to delight all those who try them. Make some space in your case, because there are plenty to choose from.
WHAT CAN I TAKE HOME?
01 Alfajores. Ours have little or nothing in common with the Argentinean version. Amongst other ingredients, Murcian alfajores have a blend of rosemary honey, almonds and hazelnuts sandwiched between wafers.
02 Borrachos. Sponge cakes soaked in syrup and local wine. Typical throughout the Region, the most famous come from Ojós. Don't be put off by the fact they are called "drunkards", you can eat them to your heart's content.
03 Caramelos de Semana Santa. If you come to Murcia over Easter to see the processions, you are in for a nice surprise as the penitents distribute sweets. Eating and reading all in one, because there are traditional verses on the wrappers.
04 Cordiales. These typical Christmas sweets are made with egg and almonds and are filled with candied pumpkin in Murcia, sweet potato paste in the Cartagena area or nothing at all in the highland districts, where they are known as cristóbalas.
05 Cuernos de merengue. There are Viking horns and then there are meringue horns. We don't know what the first taste like, but the latter would be sure to make even thunder god Thor tremble with delight.
06 Empanada murciana. OK, empanadas or pasties are global, not just from our Region, but here we give them our own special touch with pepper, tomato, hard-boiled egg and tuna. A nicely rounded recipe, just like their shape.
07 Libricos from Yecla. Typical sweets from the town of Yecla, with leaves of wafer sandwiched together with honey as if they were a book. A real "best seller".
08 Mazapán from Moratalla. A marzipan log filled with egg-yolk that sweet-tooths will love. Cut it into slices and let this yellow-centred sweetmeat cast its spell on your taste buds.
09 Pastel de carne. A typical meat pie from this area made with puff pastry, meat, chorizo, hard-boiled egg and spices. The top, with its concentric circles of pastry is rather like the rings of a tree trunk that tell us its story. Who knows, maybe you can read the recipe in the rings of pastry.
10 Pastel de Cierva. Recipe given to a local pastry cook by the chef on a Russian ship and named in honour of the inventor of the autogyro. A mixture of sweet and savoury, the addition of chicken to the recipe makes for a tasty surprise.
11 Picardías from Lorca and Abarán. These bite-sized morsels of great tradition are sweet simplicity itself. A caramel-covered hazelnut that you can eat as it is or with ice cream or use to sweeten a cup of hot milk.
12 Salteadores. Continuing with our sweet and savoury combos are these beef pasties dusted with sugar. You can't imagine how well both flavours combine until you try them.
13 Santiaguitos from Totana. These cakes from Totana are the talk of the town. Made with flaked almonds, butter, sugar and candied orange, even the box they come in is appetising.
14 Sequillos from Jumilla. Sweet biscuits made with flour, eggs and oil, decorated with meringue and hardened sugar. The description doesn't do them justice; better stop reading and tuck in instead.
15 Torrijas. Yes, OK, your grandma makes the best French toast in the whole wide world... But the next best thing is our take on the recipe, and especially if it's from Bullas. What's more you can take some home, which also has its advantages.
16 Tortas de pascua and tortas de "recao". Made with egg, flour and anisette, both these cakes are made in a similar way. The former will surprise you with their orange flavour while the latter have an indent for honey. Why not buy some of each and play "taste the difference".
17 Yemas from Caravaca. Covered with caramel or with chocolate, these sweetmeats made with egg yolks and sugar will delight children and adults alike. Convents have always been renowned for their confectionary.