Croquetas, funny little things they are, aren’t they? My first time in Spain, I never really rated them. To me, they were just “meh.” But it goes without say, he that has found a good croqueta has found a good thing. Surprisingly, the most amazing ones I have tried to date have been at Croqueta y Presumida. I had been walking past this chain for such a long time. I never once thought of going in. I used my usual heuristic: chain restaurant equals to bad quality. But to my surprise, this was far from the case.
I ordered two croquetas to start with, cod and gambas y puerros. The croquetas are fried while you wait and ready in two minutes. At first bite, I was like “woah.” What immediately hit me was that I could taste the cod. The usual béchamel sauce was creamy and velvety in texture and the cod filling permeated the entire croqueta. This taste sensation was repeated when I bit into the gambas y puerros one.
I could not believe how tasty these croquetas were. I had actually found croquetas to write home about! At further investigation, I was told that Croqueta y Presumida is run as a franchise from a Basque-based ready-made food group, Gesalaga. Not exactly a revolutionary tale of homegrown ownership. But then again, at further questioning, it turned out that this group had started from humble beginnings when a woman named Aranxa, 30 years ago, made some amazing callos. Her callos were famed for being amazing that many encouraged her to sell them in the market. Long story short, the woman went ahead and started selling these callos to the market.
Of course, being the genius in the kitchen that she was, it went without say that her croquetas were good too. In a nutshell, Croqueta y Presumida was born as an expansion project to an already booming business.
The raw ingredients of the croquetas come from the ranch and farms owned by the Gesalaga Group. This means, the fresh milk is theirs, the eggs are theirs and the meat is theirs. Their motto evolves around the use of highly quality raw ingredients. Thus, the assurance for you is that you will be eating croquetas free from additives and other manner of nonsense.
All croquetas are freshly made at their factory up there in the Basque Country and are delivered to the stores on an almost daily basis. Stores ring up daily to place their orders according to their needs and these come as and when. Nothing is ever frozen, so if they don’t sell (which is a surprising outcome) they have to resort to other means of disposal. Everything is fresh to the fullest sense of the word.
At Croqueta y Presumida, you find 14 varieties of croquetas, with more to come. These include, queso idiazabal, jamon, chicken, chipirones, and of course, the afore mentioned ones. It never ceased to amaze me that each flavour tasted exactly like the filling inside, which is a rarity amongst many a croquetas I’ve eaten.
Having had the pleasure to try them all, I highly recommend you find your nearest store and give them a try! I went to the one in Conde Casal which is owed by a lovely lady called Mariola. While I was there stuffing my face, I was surprised to see the variety of different Spanish women who had been making croquetas all their lives, flock in to by some to take home. One woman even bought two boxes of 12. I had a short conversation with her and she told me that these were as good as hers, so she would save time and just buy them!
You will not regret that you went and I bet you will thank me for it! If you do go, I would love to hear from you about your experience with them.