Still, it's pretty hard to avoid. At the Parador de Chinchon, a charming hotel in a restored monastery, I find out just how ubiquitous it is: I round off a meal of garlic soup and succulent roast lamb with (no surprise here) a bombon helado flambeado al anis—vanilla ice cream coated in chocolate, doused in anis, and set aflame, creating a landslide of rich, dark sweetness. The chocolate crisps in the heat, the ice cream melts away to reveal a core of honey, and the now-familiar aroma explodes across the table. Postprandial coffee at the Parador is accompanied by a plate of yemas, those delectable convent-made egg-yolk confections for which Spain is famous. My waiter watches eagerly as I bite into their silken sweetness, and smiles at my delight as I detect an unmistakable savor. "Yes," he confirms proudly. "Here _everything _is scented with the perfume of anis."