Pork products are cause for celebration at Ardales festival
One of the most popular gastronomic festivals in the region, the Fiesta de la Matanza, was held in the mountainside town of Ardales last Sunday.
French, German, Dutch and British tourists mingled with the locals, and a convoy of coaches brought people from all over Andalucía to enjoy this popular yearly event.
The festival, which was celebrating its twentieth edition this year, started at midday with a fair showcasing typical products from the region, almost all of which came from the pig traditionally slaughtered at the start of the festival.
Tradition dictates that the women of the village, using methods and utensils of the past, take charge of the preparation of the pig and the tools of their trade were displayed at the town’s local blacksmith’s.
Visitors were able to sample a selection of types of sausages - ‘morcilla’, ‘chorizo’, ‘salchichas’ - as well as ‘chachina’, cured pork marinated with local spices. Other specialities offered were ‘morcón’, a large blood sausage, and the characteristic white sausage of Ardales, both served in small flat rolls called ‘botones’.
The ‘botones’ were free to whoever wished to try them and thousands of visitors kept the chefs busy for the entire afternoon.
A pork stew - with origins that date back to the ancient celebrations introduced by the Celts - was cooked on a traditional stove fuelled by the wood of olive and almond trees. The stew, served from a large cauldron measuring more than two metres in diameter, consisted of 500 kilos of pork, 100 kilos of onions, 20 kilos of garlic, and 30 kilos of tomatoes.
A selection of local ecological wines, olives, almonds and goat’s cheese was available from the dozens of stalls that lined the main plaza, and the town’s restaurants and bars participated in a gastronomic journey, offering dishes prepared with products and derivatives of pork at a cost of just three euros per portion.
Biscuits and wine
The town is also renowned for cakes and sugary pastries made with the excellence of simplicity. These included ‘galletas de almendras’, almond biscuits flavoured with cinnamon, and ‘roscos de vino’, small doughnuts made with anise seeds and sweet wine.
The Plaza de San Isidro was the scene for a craft market where local wares were on offer, including brightly coloured ceramics, esparto products and leather goods.
There was also a verdiales band to add to the ambience of a village fair, as well as the light flamenco that blared from many of the bars. The Plaza del Ayuntamiento was the scene of a concert by Seville singer, María Artés Lamorena, which brought the twentieth edition of this celebrated festival to an end.source surinenglish