While visiting El Rastro, Madrid’s largest open air flea market on a Sunday seeking out “treasures” and hopefully some very cool souveniors to take home, we spotted a Chulapo (a man from Madrid dressed in traditional clothing), who stuck out like a sore thumb. He was standing next to a colorful round cylinder, that looked like it could be part of a circus act. The closer we got, we noticed he was selling waffles! He was a Barquillero!
Our now friend and Spanish tutor Elena, explained that Barquilleros are part of Madrid’s tradition, but now you see very few of them throughout Madrid and mainly in tourist areas. They would roam the streets of Madrid singing; “Al rico barquillo de canela para el nene y la nena” which translates to “A delicious rolled wafer for the little boy and girl!”
The round cylinder he would carry was full of rolled waffles and on the top of the cylinder there are numbers. Once a child purchased and paid for his/her waffle they are allowed to spin the wheel and then got as many waffles as the wheel pointed to.
Since you don’t see them much around Madrid, we were lucky to have come across a barquillero at the market and the kids were eager to try their luck at spinning the wheel. The waffle itself was light, crispy and wonderful. At first we decided to just share one, but then we all got one because it was that good. Jaf decided to spin first, and got 2 so was handed another one! Lou Lou was next to spin and got 2 as well, but because we were already stuffed with waffles, she told him she didn’t want anymore but enjoyed spinning the wheel.
As we continued our walk through the market, Jaf says; “Mom, that man was dressed really nice. Everyone else here looks like a bum.”
Whatever happened to the good ol’ days?!!