It’s International Croqueta Day today, but do you know the curious history behind the now emblematic Spanish dish?

Croquetas are bitesized morsels filled with bechamel. Photo: Cordon Press

Paella, jamon, olive oil, croquetas, these are the foods most commonly associated with Spanish cuisine. 

But one of these dishes is so beloved it has a day dedicated to it. 

Croquetas, fried morsels filled with rich bechamel sauce, meat and vegetables are served as tapas, snacks or even dinner. 

Although they are a staple in the modern Spanish diet, they were actually created by the French. 

It is thought croquetas were invented in 16th century France, but took some 200 years to become popular. 

It was only in the 1800s that French chef Antoine Camere began serving the delicious ‘croquettes’ as they were originally known, to French nobility. 

On the January 18, 1817, the chef served croquettes to the then Prince Regent of England, George IV and the Grand Duke of Russia, giving them the name ‘croquettes a la royale’.

The dish quickly became popular and spread throughout France, reaching Spain at the start of the 19th century. 

Since then, the bitesized delights have become one of Spain’s favourite dishes. 

According to a study by Croquetasricas.com, the most popular fillings are jamon iberico with 65% of the votes, mushroom (11%) and fish (7%). 

You can find croquetas at any good restaurant or bar, but if you fancy making them at home, the recipe is surprisingly easy. 

All you need is a good bechamel, butter, milk, salt, bread crumbs, egg and your filling of choice.

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