"Try it," says the man who introduced himself as Frédéric on the bus earlier, pushing a palm-sized pastry towards me. "It's divine. But be warned-- this little thing packs a thousand calories in each bite."
He has a twinkle in his eyes as he challenges me to try the golden-brown, dome-shaped Andalusian sweet in front of me.
"What's it called?" I eye the alluring pastry with a mixture of curiosity and disbelief as I take a sip of my usual cafe con leche. We are stopping along the Autovia, on the way to Granada, for some morning tea.
"You wouldn't be able to pronounce it," Frédéric scoffs with such conviction as he lights up his fifth cigarette of the morning and puffs away at the Sierra Nevada looming before us. "Even if I told you, you wouldn't remember."
"No, tell me," I insist. "I'm in your country to learn."
Frédéric turns to look at me and gives me a deep chuckle. He mumbles some Spanish phrase which sounds vaguely like "Pinocchio" but before I could get him to repeat, he stubs out his Fortuna in the ashtray and grabs his knapsack.
"I have to go. You'll enjoy it," he reassures. "It has a custardy centre and is made of egg yolks, cream and sugar-- how bad can it be, right?" He winks.
I pick up my fork. I'll worry about the consequences of its caloric content later. Or the consequences of talking to strangers.
Frédéric was right. It is absolutely divine. And till today, I still have no idea what the hell it was.