Of all the changes I’ve experienced in my first month of studying abroad in Madrid, Spain, adjusting to the Spanish food has been one of the easiest and most enjoyable. My Spanish host mom, Loti, who is 81 years old, is a fantastic cook. Not to mention all the wonderful, fresh produce she keeps stocked in the house. I knew the culture of meals in Spain would be different than the United States, with smaller breakfasts and later dinners. But I was most surprised to find out that Loti makes her own orange juice, or “zumo de naranja” as it’s known in Spain, almost every day. 

Megan Brinkworth

The first week I was living with her, she told me “you are what you eat” and I stood there with my mouth open for a minute. As we talked more, I discovered we have a very similar philosophy when it comes to food. She cares about quality, freshness, and loves to buy organic produce, hence the delicious “zumo de naranja.”  

High-Quality, Fresh, and Organic

Loti loves to buy organic when she can. In fact, she gets fresh oranges delivered every other Tuesday from a farm in Valencia, Spain

Megan Brinkworth

She claims that the oranges sold in the market in Madrid are wet and covered with preservatives. I was amazed to find that Loti would rather have fresh, organic oranges shipped to her instead of buying them at the market because she knows the sellers and cares about the quality. She’s bought oranges from the same company for almost 10 years and even got her son on board who lives in Luxembourg, Germany. The company, LaMejorNaranja, has been selling oranges from Valencia online since 2002.

They claim that their oranges are the best because they are 100% natural and 100% Valencian. Their secret ingredients to the perfect oranges...fresh water from their family well and good ole’ Mediterranean sunshine. 

Megan Brinkworth

Making "Zumo de Naranja"

There was a look of pure shock on Loti’s face when I told her I had never made or drank fresh orange juice before. I could tell she was a little disgusted I had only consumed it boxed from the store. So, in my first few days of being in Madrid, I learned how to make the real stuff.

Megan Brinkworth

The process of making “zumo de naranja” was fun and borderline therapeutic, so it’s no surprise now that I’m an orange juice making addict. Needless to say, I don’t think I will be able to go back to buying a carton of orange juice at the store after this semester. I can’t imagine a better start to the morning than a fresh glass of “zumo de naranja”.

A Glass In The Café

Naturally, drinking this amazing “zumo de naranja” in my Spanish home made me want to try it at cafes around Madrid too, even though I wouldn’t feel the satisfaction of making it myself. If I wasn’t feeling a “café con leche” one day, I started to order a “zumo de naranja” instead. Unlike the United States, people in Europe can be seen drinking orange juice at almost any hour of the day here.

Pretty much every café has the machine that squeezes the juice straight from the oranges right there for you to see. Some of my favorite “zumo de naranja” that I’ve tried is from Monkee Koffee.

As well as from the café, La Rollerie.

Both give me the same delicious taste as if I had made my “zumo de naranja” at home.  

So, don’t worry about me, thanks to Loti and my daily glass of “zumo de naranja,” I’m adjusting to Spain just fine. What more can I say, it was love at first organic orange!