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How to Do a Pastry Crawl in Seville

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Two towns in Andalucía claim birthplace dibs on the mantecado, but legend tips the scales toward Estepa, a village 90 minutes east of Seville. According to local lore, 16th-century nuns created the recipe. But it was an enterprising and well-fed señora who created national demand for the mantecado, perfecting the recipe in 1870 and ordering her husband to sell them en route to Córdoba. Today, Estepa’s 12,000 inhabitants refer to her affectionately as “La Colchona”—“The Mattress”—and credit her for the town’s 20-plus mantecado factories, which churn out 44 million sweet pounds between September and December.
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