Romanians in Spain (1)


Romanian flag

Having recently bragged that Alcalá played host to, em, a host of Hollywood actors and directors creating the epic Spartacus, I am delighted to claim bragging rights for my adopted town once more.

Alcalá (drum roll) is the Romanian capital of Spain!  One in ten residents of the town is from Romania.  (I´m not one of them, claro.  I´m not even in anybody´s book of statistics).

The reason why so many Romanians reside in this town is unclear.  While the whole of the Corredor del Henares (towns along the course of the River Henares as well as the railway line) has become popular with all immigrants because of its proximity to Madrid, Alcalá´s greater drawing power for the rumanos is hard to explain.

A biased person would argue that the former Arab fortification of Alqal´a Nahar and Roman city of Complutum is just downright fancier than the functional dormitory towns along the way to the capital.

I´m that biased person. And we have storks, na na na na na!

Flying stork Alcalá

Thorough and profound immigration theory over with, let´s talk shop.  As in the case of any substantial immigrant influx, Romanians must have their grub. Moving to a country with a culinary brilliance bordering on the divine has not dampened their taste for their own cooking.  So Alcalá has several Romanian-owned shops catering to the nostalgia for nosh from this former Communist State (and what a state it was in).

Romanian shop Alcalá Spain

Being British, I tend to think that bread is bread is bread, but these fussy Romanians demand their own pâine. This leads to signs in Spanish panaderías advertising Romanian bread – in Romanian.  Not only this, but one of the big supermarket chains,  Ahorra Más, has a full line of produse romanesti…. and I´m sure they´re not alone.

So what do they eat?  I found out, paradoxically, a few years ago when I went all the way to Bucharest.  I tried mici (pronounced “meetch”), little sausages made of beef, lamb and pork meat and absolutely to die for.  I could´ve saved myself the Easyjet flight since I later discovered that my own butcher prepares this sausagemeat for his Romanian customers, but you live and learn.  And see Bucharest!

Mici also seems to mean “li´l purritat” so here´s a photo of both sausages and soft kitties for your delight and delectation.

Mici sausages

You can nibble on these


Kissing kitties

Don´t dare bite these babies!

Along with a Romanian white wine that was a dead ringer for my beloved Rueda, I also had mamaliga which Yukipedia describes as a “porridge made out of yellow maize flour.”  This sounds as awful as its Scottish relative, but it´s actually pleasant…. though not as delicious as Scots Porridge Oats with water, milk and salt!

Another wonderful dish was a cold, aubergine purée.  I loved this, especially since berenjenas are my favourite veggies.

So, to conclude.  The Romanians, well-educated Latins, have enriched Alcalá with their culture, of which I´ll write more soon.


  1. Inspired to learn more the origin of Romani and relevance to Romanian.

    • Just saw this Chris. I´m obviously not any kind of expert but a great book is Isabel Fonseca´s “Bury Me Standing.” Must see if I can muster up another post on Romania and the Roma. THANKS FOR COMMENTING, YOU DO IT SO WELL!!!

  2. Wow, when i started reading this article i was convinced it would be yet another negative article on Romanians but i was still planning on reading it all the way, to better understand the the whole issue between Spaniards and Romanians.
    This is the first article that did not make me uncomfortable for being Romanian, or for feeling uncomfortable the whole day.

    Thank you, Mo.
    Have a nice day!

    • I´m glad my little article was fair and respectful to some very hard-working people with a great culture of their own. I hope to get to another couple of pieces that show what Romanians are contributing to Spain. Multumesc Sorina!

  3. Love the post Mo! Wish my butcher did those little Romanian sausages. He only gives me the other type of sauasage. And it’s not really the edible kind if you get what I mean 😉 You were right when you said we all live and learn!

  4. Malasie says:

    LOL I <3 THE CATS!!!!!!!

    • They´re really cute, aren´t they, Malassie? (two ss, or it´s pronounced Malazy, which might be the case!). Thanks for explaining to me here at home what I<3 is … I love, since the <3 make a heart, on its side. I wouldn´t have known.

  5. As a former Closet Racist, Xenophobe and bigot I have learned a hell of a lot more tolerance after living in Spain for so many years. It certainly opens your eyes to have roles reversed and be the outsider in a new country, so I’m happy to be open minded…

    • Me too, though I don´t think I´ve ever been a closet anything. (Well, cross stitcher, maybe, and it´s out now!).

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