La Violeta

With only 24 hours to spend as a tourist in Madrid I chose to bypass all of the hottest tourist attractions, and I researched and found some unique things in the city tha...

Location

Plaza Canalejas, 6, 28014 Madrid, Spain

Website

www.lavioletaonline.es/en/

Directions

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With only 24 hours to spend as a tourist in Madrid I chose to bypass all of the hottest tourist attractions, and I researched and found some unique things in the city that would give me a richer appreciation for the city itself.

Very few tourists know that violet candies are the most iconic sweet treat of Madrid, and there is only one place in Madrid to get the most authentic of this very traditional of Madrid sweets: La Violeta.

It is said that King Alfonso XIII often bought violets and violet canddies for his "official" wife, Queen Victoria Eugenia and also for the "second" one, Carmen Ruiz Moragas, from this very shop. Today the shop is run by Maria Gil, the third-generation descendant of the founder of the company.

In 1915, Mariano Gil Fernandez opened this shop in its current location, Plaza de Canalejas, 6. He was born in Madrid and belonged to a family that consisted entirely of bakers, but he tried something different: sweets made of violet essence. It was a success from the very beginning. Nobody knows why he decided to make this special kind of sweets, but probably because there are many violets in the mountains located north of Madrid.

There are other shops in town that also sell this type of product, but the original violet sweet can only be found in La Violeta, so why bother with a copy when you can get the original. They sell their sweets by weight, usually to regular clients including many celebrities and politicians, and they have extravagant packaging including custom made porcelain bowls and cut-glass vases in case you really want to impress someone.

As I was about to fly home from Madrid, I took the opportunity to pick up the most iconic Madrilian souvenir possible, and I stocked up on some tiny, 3€ decorated boxes of candies.

When I got home, the reaction to the candies was mixed.
To me, they start out a bit like licorice and then gradually get sweeter.

This was just one stop on my self-guided, 24-hour tour of Madrid.