Though Spanish cuisine has roots in Roman and Mediterranean cooking, influence from Jewish and Moorish settlers differentiates Spain's cooking from the rest of Europe. Later, Spanish conquistadores brought back numerous foods from the Americas that were then introduced to the rest of Europe, including potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and beans.
The Spanish are wild for festivals. Look at their most insane one, Pamplona's Running of the Bulls. What a crazy thing to do! But don't belittle the bullfights to a Spaniard—the bullfights are the country's finest art and the only time when punctuality matters in Spain.
Month by month, here are some key festivals where food plays a larger than usual role:
—in Cadiz, and also Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands
—on Ash Wednesday
—the last festival before Lent, so everyone parties hard —consumption of mass quantities of food and drink
—mood: reckless abandon, wild rhythms, vivid costumes
Haro, the Wine War in La Rioja
—a messy battle—people use bota bags to squirt wine at each other —later they actually drink the famous Rioja wine
Running of the Bulls
—Festivities for this San Fermin Festival include much drunken revelry. Why else would anyone want to run with the bulls. But even the experts advise: being drunk while running is a sure way to get trampled or gorged. It's a truly sobering experience.
Tomatina—Tomato Fight in the Town Square
See the Tomatina story for more information. This event is a riot—literally.
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This page modified January 2007
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