Buying sweets from cloistered nuns in Seville

Getting ready to try the Yemas de Sant Leandro (photo: Karen L. Campopiano)

Seville’s Convento San Leandro was first built in the 14th century. The current convent is from the 17th century with renovations in the 19th century. While the church itself is interesting, the real attraction is the convent.

Cloistered nuns make sweets called Yemas de San Leandro. These little cone-shaped pastries are made with egg yolks and covered in a sugar frosting. They’re very, very sweet. You can get them served simply in a paper bag (de papel) or in a wooden box (caja de madera).

The hermitic nuns also make a little fried dough treat called Pestinos de San Augustin and a muffin called Magdalenas de Santa Rita.

Order up! (video: Karen L. Campopiano)

Because the nuns are cloistered, you never get to see them. Instead, you ring a bell at the convent and give your order. Then, you put your money on a lazy Susan and rotate it. The nun on the other side takes your money and puts your order and your change on the shelf and rotates it back to you. Your pastries appear as if by magic.

Cloistered nuns used to be quite common in Europe and you can still see churches where these lazy Susan-type rotating shelves were used. However, fully-cloistered nuns are pretty rare, so it’s fun to get to buy a snack this way.

Place your order! (photo: Brent Petersen)

I like sweets, but even for me the Yemas were too sweet. I could only finish one tiny pastry. Next time I think I’ll be getting the Magdalena. But, the experience is quite unique and not to be missed.

About the Author

Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides in Spain to Madrid, Cordoba, Cadiz, Jerez, and El Puerto de Santa Maria. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms and is distributed by the Radio Misfits Podcast Network.

Author: Brent