comes from munus, gift in greek; others suggest the arab origin of the
word. What we actually call 'Mona' is a quite recent creation
(monkey in english) is a usual Easter cake in Catalonia
and the Valencian Country, including the West Border (catalan-speaking
territories currently in Aragón). Is in these last territories
- and also in the southern catalan shires (counties)-
where its traditional shape keeps preserved, rounded like a tortell.
It is common practice to be given to godchild on Easter. In some counties
such as Osona, Pla de l'Estany, Gironès, part of Empordà
it is usually given on Easter Sunday but in Alt Empordà this
is traditionally given on Christmas.
are many towns in the Valencian Country where the 'mona' has a whole
year tradition. This is the case of Alberic, Ribera Alta County, where
panous, coca d'aire or pa cremat is the typical cake produced.
These names refer to its brown color and to the eggs used to decorate
it. It is already mentioned in the manuscript 'Formulario práctico
de cocina', from Joan Company (1905, “pan quemado al estilo de
During XIXth century, many people coming from the Valencian Country
or Minorca settled down in Oran, Algeria. The Mona was one of the customs
that people brought there as well as the tradition of eating it in the
countryside on Easter Day
(“casser la mouna”, in their catalan modified language).
In fact, all current recipe books from Algeria mention the Mona as well
as other typical meals from the Catalan
Countries like the 'paella', 'melsa', etc.
is believed that the origin of the 'Mona' word comes from the custom
of barcelona cake shops who, on XIXth century, used to decorate this
with a monkey. Some linguists believe that this term may come from the
latin 'munda', gift or present, as well as from an arab word.
There are easier versions than the current ones made with pa de pessic
(sponge cake), yolk, chocolate, etc, only with eggs, with pasta, painted
(Montsià, Baix Ebre, Castellón counties, West Border,
are present in Easter from England to Ukraina as a resurrection sign.
One of the first mona recipes we have found was in the 'Classes de cuina.
Curs 1927-1928' cookbook from Josep Rondissoni (Barcelona, 1929).
recipes in the book 'El gran llibre de la cuina de les àvies' (Grandma's great cookbook),
by Jaume Fàbrega, RBA-La Magrana,2005 and a complete explanation
about the origins and history of the 'Mona' in the encyclopaedia 'La
cuina catalana', , vol. VII, Edicions de l´Isard).
Grandma's great cookbook (catalan version) ,
by Jaume Fàbrega, RBA-La Magrana,2005