This sweet treat for children is steeped in tradition throughout the Levant and Catalonia. A Mona cake is typically gifted to godchildren and grandchildren at Easter
The Mona de Pascua Easter cake is traditional throughout the Spanish Levant region, especially in Catalonia, where a chocolate version is particularly popular. Traditionally, they are made with brioche dough and served in a round shape, topped with hard-boiled eggs. This has long been the way they are made in Valencia and Murcia, where they are known as tonya.
They are usually given as gifts from godparents and grandparents to their young godchildren and grandchildren. Generally, they are gifted on Easter Monday, which falls on 10th April this year. The Mona base can range from brioche to sponge cake and is decorated with icing, almond pieces, candied fruit and chocolate. The egg element is a must and is often accompanied by chocolate chicks and Easter decorations, like feathers. Eggs are also significant as a religious symbol of food at the end of Lent but also as the ancient pagan symbol of fertility and abundance.
Although eggs are still a crucial part of the Easter Mona, they have evolved into many other forms over the years. Nowadays, decorations could come in the shape of mini houses, footballs and popular cartoon characters. In Catalonia, the emphasis is on chocolate decorations. In fact, every year, in the run up to the festivities, there is always a degree of friendly rivalry among confectioners, keen to find out who or which is the most sought-after Mona of the year. Often, the decoration of choice is a celebrity of the moment, this was the case with Messi until recently, but this year, we’re bound to see Shakira, Pedri or Lewandowski in chocolate or confectionary form!
In many cases, Monas are an opportunity for master chocolatiers to show off their incredible skills with spectacular displays, shown in patisserie windows all over Catalonia up to a fortnight before the big day. In fact, Barcelona’s Chocolate Museum has a permanent exhibition of Monas that are true works of art.