Barcelona Photoblog: Dragees or Peladillas, La Boqueria market, Barcelona

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dragees or Peladillas, La Boqueria market, Barcelona

Dragees or Peladillas at La Boqueria Market [enlarge]

Dragées come in many different colors as you can see here. In fact I had never seen purple or green ones before. In English I prefer to call them dragées instead of sugar almonds or Jordan almonds since they can carry not only almonds but also raisins, nuts, liqueur or just chocolate but to be honest here they call them all peladillas (sugar almonds) in spite of having also the word gragea which is more general and seldom used. I don't know in your country but in Spain it is customary to give them as a present to guests at a wedding or baptism as they are thought to bring luck. They are usually presented inside a basket or a tulle net along with the newlyweds or the child's name. Peladillas are undoubtedly a coveted and appealing treat for children and adults alike. The origin is not clear, some say it was a Roman delicacy called tragemata created accidentally by Julius Dragatus, some others say it was the name of a slave or that it was reinvented by Pecquet in 1760 a famous French confectioner who gave them the current sleek appearance and used to supply the court aristocrats who carry them in small boxes called drageoirs. The final product is obtained after a five-day process which I won't describe here. According to the dictionary the word comes from Greek tragêmata that means sweet, treat, a sort of food made of nuts and fruit that could be munched or chewed. Gragea means pill or tablet so as you can see history is like a giant puzzle where every piece makes sense. There are even variations of the word like the verb to dredge in English which means to sprinkle or coat with some powdered substance and of course is used in cookery. Interesting don't you think? Peladillas are common in some parts of Valencia and Alicante, in Southeast Spain. The image was taken in La Boqueria market, Barcelona.


  1. Hi Carlos, not only is this a wonderful picture (as always) but I love the commentary that you give which complements your photographs very well. Thank you so much for taking the time to do that.
    PS. I was in Barcelona two weeks ago and there was a lovely lady in the market who sold chocolate. I bought some wonderful black and green olive chocolates. They looked incredibly real. The attention to detail was superb, right down to the olive stone, which was in fact a crunchy praline. You are very fortunate to live in such an amazing city. Best wishes. Gary

  2. mmm yum! you're making me feel hungry :-)
    they sort of look like oval shaped beads.

  3. Anonymous12:46 PM

    I'm not sure what they call dragees or peladillas here in the States.

    I just remember them as the "almond candies" that we would get at wedding receptions when I was a kid, years ago.

    They were always coated in white and wrapped in tulle netting, tied with a white ribbon. There were usually three candies in each bundle.

    Haven't been to a wedding in ages where the little packages have appeared on the table.

    Thanks for the memory jog!


  4. Love your photo and the information too. Brings back lovely memories of La Boqueria, the fish, the vegetables and all kinds of everything really. It's amazing.

    I definitely need another Barcelona fix! Soon!!!! In the meantime I'm going to browse your blog to keep me going. Thanks so much.

  5. Nice shot. Superbly colorfull.. :-)

  6. Those colours are just magnificent and U agree the narrative transports the viewer there.

  7. Off-the-charts AMAZING colour in this shot.

  8. Nice shot and interesting information! I've never heard of tragêmata - the modern Greek word for sugared almonds is koufeta, which most probably comes from the Italian confetti.


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