Continuing from the previous post of Toledo Trip Part 1.
Souvenirs in Toledo
As we roamed around the area after passing by briefly Teatro de Rojas, we walked through an alley where many souvenir shops are located. There are many. I love the ceramic spoons and other tiny and cute ceramic accessories. Toledo is famous for this.
Toledo Swords and Steel Accessories
The picture above is a souvenir shop specialised in Damasquinado (or Damasquino), Espaderia (Spades) and Cuchilleria (Knife).
Damasquinado is damascening. Well…this is my first time in my life hearing this word. Well, way to go to gain a new English vocabulary in Toledo.
Damascening is the art of inlaying different metals into one another—typically, gold or silver into a darkly oxidized steel background—to produce intricate patterns similar to niello.from Wikipedia
Honestly, they are really gorgeous!! I think it is worth to bring home as a decoration on the wall. I just couldn’t take my eyes off them whenever I passed down the many Damasquinado shops all around Toledo.
Another souvenirs that Toledo is famous for are swords and blades making. If you are a major fan of the fantasy movie Lord of the Rings series, you definitely should visit Toledo and grab a sword or a blade for souvenir to bring home. (Muka I dah demoksss so kena la mosaic sat…hahaha).
I love the movie but not so much as to gift myself a sword though. ^^
If you are interested to buy any Toledo swords or steel souvenirs, here is the location of the shop – Damasquinado De Toledo Espadería Y Cuchillería. It is just 3 to 4 minutes walking distance from Plaza Zocodover.
The third thing that makes Toledo famous is Mazapan. Mazapan (or Marzipan in English) is a cookie made of simple ingredients primarily sugar or honey and ground almond.
We walked pass an alley where a Mazapan bakery was but either we were to early of they are closed that day. We weren’t sure.
Mazapan Spain vs Mazapan Morocco
Compare these 2 pictures above. On the left is Mazapan from Spain and on the right are cookies that we received from our Moroccan friends. Both used the important ingredients which are sugar and ground almond.
However, we did not try Mazapan of Spain as we were not sure if they are Halal or not. Many confectioneries in Spain contain lard (pig fat) hence we avoid to eat them.
Some of them which are nicely packaged sometimes do list out the ingredients for lard as manteca de cerdo (in Spanish). Above is the infamous Santo Tome cake shop or Pastelería Santo Tomé located at Zocodover Plaza.
If you are interested to go to Santo Tome Confiteria to try Mazapan from Spain, below is the map. It is located just across the road from Zocodover Plaza.
I actually ate similar cookies like mazapan from Morocco every year during Eidul fitr or Eidul Adha. Above is the mazapan that we had during the recent Eidul fitr.
Basically all of them taste quite similar but come with different cookie shape. I smell rose water in all of them but my husband said that it was the smell of ground almond.
Actually many countries have their own version of mazapan or Marzipan. Read here more to know the history of mazapan or marzipan.
Toledo Ceramic Arts
Another kind of souvenir is Toledo ceramic art. Aren’t they lovely? We came across a tiny ceramic shop near the Jewish Quarter and they have this big sign – Hecho en Toledo (Made in Toledo) outside the shop along with various gorgeous display of their hand made art.
I would love to get one but a man reasoned with his wife – “Toledo is only thirty minutes away from our home so we can always get them next time”. Oh man….~~
If you are interested to get some Toledo ceramic as souvenirs I suggest that you visit some Ceramic shops around Monastery San Juan de Los Reyes. There are a few and one of the interesting one is Arte Aguado. Here is the location.
We were supposed to find Tourist Information Center to visit Toledo Cathedral first but were side-tracked and blinded by these gorgeous crafts and lost our way. Hahaha…
We are the wanderlost..hehe..
Finally we saw the catheral tower and followed the crowd. The catheral is huge and beautiful. We did not miss the chance to snap a few selfies there.
As we were taking our turns snapping pictures in front of Toledo Cathedral, a man came to us and suggested that we followed him to view some artisans making Damasquinado. He told us it was FREE.
Well…I felt uneasy.
Since my husband was with me so I was not too worry. We decided to follow him. True to his words, he brought us to the spot. The art shop was located underground hence you would not see it even if you pass by the building.
My instinct told me…ahh..he’s trying to sell the souvenirs to us. He’s some what like a promoter looking for tourists in front of the cathedral and directed them to this shop.
The reason I felt uneasy was because I used to work as a tour guide before in South Korea and there, tour guides or promoters normally will direct us to shops which are rather expensive than the one outside.
Well..I was right but my husband insisted that we bought a few as a courtesy because he directed us to this underground shop and for his effort. Oh my husband, why are you so kind?
Artesania Toledana – where we purchased the damascened bracelet. I told you at the beginning of the post that this is one of the arts which Toledo is famous for.
Our silver plated bracelet costs us 27 euros a piece and after checking out many other shops, it actually costs only 12 euros. We’ve been duped!
Oh well…my husband was the one paying anyway. Women love to compare stuff before they decide to buy one or not which differ with men’s principle. My husband style. When he sees an item, take it or leave it and don’t check out other shops. The predator instinct. Hehe..
After purchasing the souvenirs, we finally headed to our main intention – The Tourist information center. But not before passing by this gorgeous building which I thought was a mosque but actually is a monastery.
Till next post..~~ Insha Allah.