The Queen of Nuts

Marcona almonds
Marcona almondsfoodistablog/Flickr

Heart-shaped, sweet, and entirely addictive, Marcona almonds have justly earned their title in Spain as the "Queen's Almonds." Rounder, smoother, and plumper than their California siblings, they have a soft crunch and delicate flavor that evokes subtle, salty almond milk. While available raw, they're truly satisfying when blanched, fried in olive oil, and gently dusted with sea salt. In line with their royal namesakes, these delicacies are worth a pretty penny, coming in anywhere between $10 for a third of a pound to nearly three pounds for as much as $49. But look for a good deal, and eat them out of the package, sprinkle them into your next after-dinner cheese plate, or do as I often do—bake them into something sweet. Macarons sound divine, salty toffee is always well received, but I think I'll be whipping up a taste of Spain in the form of a rich torta de Santiago, spiked with no less than seven eggs.