Benaojan food festival (Feria de muestra de la chacina)
The small town of Benaojan (located in the Ronda mountain range) hosted its 13th fair. The fair champions various types of pork products, ranging from chorizo, salami, morcilla (black pudding) and the lovely local ham.
As we walked up the incredibly steep hill, we reached what seemed like a mecca of stands offering home-made products that have been made in different parts of the region. As well as all types of cured pork products, there are also cakes, pastries and bread. Ding. Ding. Ding yes I was on that. Hehe
This place was packed, the noise was intense and then there where tasters everywhere. We tried loads of different pork products, and they all tasted amazing, the quality was obviously of its highest as we watched as people brought bags and bags of products. I noticed that they just didn’t just tried samples then brought the product if they liked it, they would have an in-depth conversation about it first. I can only assume because I don’t speak Spanish, that they took a deep interest in is the back of the products they were buying.
After we came out of the market area we took a wander around the town; it was a little warren of buildings in each street. The streets were all at sharp angles, as we walked around and down, we found ourselves back at the bottom of the steep hill. We both looked at each other and started to climb it again, we knew there were things we missed at the top and probably would regret not seeing.
Once at the top again, we followed another path and came to the entertainment but of the festival. We entered a long white marquee with a makeshift bar and lots of tables and chairs. We were quite hungry at this point and decided to get the rolls on offer at the bar, they were as expected, ok and overpriced. After some time the music started, it was very modern music and not quite what we expected, but the other people were singing and dancing.
We noticed an influx of small white bowls came into the tent; we remembered reading they traditionally hand out a popular local stew and went to investigate. There was a large queue forming and as is the British way we joined the queue quite merrily, this little pot of goodness was a pork stew with chickpeas, the meat was different forms of sausage and intestines and the broth was delicious but the meat did turn my stomach a little as fatty meat has a tendency to make my gallbladder scar hurt under my chest.
This was a lovely place to visit, but I can’t help feeling a little disappointed with the overall modern feeling of this festival, I suppose we were expecting a full-on traditional celebration, but in hindsight, the festival is only in its 13th year. Don’t get me wrong though if you’re near Ronda in December, go and visit the lovely place.