the appetizer:

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.

Destinations Tomatoes  


The Tomatina (Tomato Fight)

The annual tomato fight in Valencia.

Duck & cover!

  • Festival: The Tomatina, a townwide Tomato Fight
  • Location: Bunol, in the Valencia region of Spain
  • Date: The last Wednesday of August, during week long festival

This must be the world's largest food fight—and certainly the messiest. More than 240,000 pounds of tomatoes are hurled by townspeople at each other from 11 AM to 1PM, then a bottle rocket goes off and together they clean up the mess. The streets are literally flooded with tomato juice, pulp, seeds, skins—the slop is ankle deep and all over the walls. Bring a change of clothes (or two).

Factoids about the Tomatina:
  • Reportedly established in 1945 at an anti-Franco rally
  • The tomatoes are imported from the far side of Spain, Extremadura. Why? Because they are cheaper.
  • A Roman aqueduct provides the water for huge hoses that clean up the mess.
  • About 20,000 participate, usually boys vs. girls.
  • A paella cookoff is held the night before the Tomatina. Pans the size of trash can lids simmer over wood fires in an outdoor lot. Over 50 contestants compete. The aromas are outrageous!
  • The town itself has only one pension but Chivas, 4 miles away, has a few, and Valencia is only 30 miles away.


Spanish Cookbooks with Recipes

Tapas by Penelope Casas

More Spanish Tapas Recipes

Back to the main Spain page

Spain on Wikipedia

More country Destinations


This page modified January 2007

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