Requena Sausage Fair 2015…More for the Visitor to See and Eat!!!!

Sausage Fair 2015Valencia´s gastronomy year traditionally commences in February with the Requena Sausage Fair….Muestra de Embutido Artesano y de Calidad de Requena. This year was the 22nd edition of the fair which is now firmly at home, indoors, in the towns Feria Recintal. On a cold mid-winter weekend with snow on the ground outside this was maybe welcome and certainly the fairs organisers have the layout sorted out so that at peak times there is sufficient room to move around. The organisers have also stepped up to the plate ( no pun intended) in reviewing activities and options for the visitor to this celebration of the products from the pig!

Some of the 25,000 visitors!

Some of the 25,000 visitors!

This year the committee behind the fair had thought very carefully about how to offer more, and it paid off, with 25,000 visitors over the three days and 12,500 kilos of sausages alone being eaten. It used to be the case when the fair was held in the streets that there was a hog-roast and the sausages were cooked over huge barbecues. That went a couple of years before the fair moved indoors but this year in exchange for one of the tickets purchased on entry you could once again enjoy chorizos, longanizas and morcillas cooked in the open air over the brassa.

Sausages on the Brassa!

Sausages on the Brassa!

Of course, the fair showcases more than these three sausages. In fact the CRIGP, (the governing body which controls, regulates  and promotes the protected sausages from Requena,) has seven products. The remaining four are güeñas ( a spicy longaniza) perro, ( a botifarra served cold) salcichon and sobrasada. At the launch of the fair the town´s mayor and the tourism minister ( respectively Xavier Berasaluce and Sebastien Fernandez) re-iterated that Requena has its own distinct gastronomy and that gastronomy as a whole is a key element in promoting the Valencian region as a whole. The traditional dishes from the interior of Valencia are every bit as important in attracting tourists as the seafood dishes of the coast and paella.



To spice up the visitor experience therefore the fair introduced some new elements. Local restaurants and bars have been involved for a couple of years in providing sample dishes at a parallel fair called Tasta la Dipu. The local cookery colleges have also been involved in cooking some of the plates with an emphasis on some of the traditional rice dishes such as `arroz de la matanza´. Similarly the towns housewive´s associations have provided some local tapas such as mortuerelo and ajo arriero. This year therefore the aim was not just to provide these dishes for the visitor to sample. Through the medium of `showcooking´ ( cookery demonstrations) filmed by the local TV crew and projected  live onto a huge screen the visitor was able to watch the preparation and creation of these famous plates.

Ajoarriero and Mortuerelo.

Ajoarriero and Mortuerelo.

Cristian Cubas, head chef at the town´s `Los Cubillos´ restaurant (itself a source of excellent traditional local dishes) gave a demonstration of how to prepare some of Requena´s local rice dishes using sausages as their main ingredient. Los Cubillos Requena also has good local producers of other healthy produce! This year for the first time, Spain´s only remaining ostrich farm, which is in the nearby hills, was selling burgers and steaks. The excellent local artisanal cheeses from Quesos Hoya de la Iglesia in nearby Campo Arcis were selling their products and the towns coffee producers and distributors Reke were providing an alternative to drink! As another alternative and a way of showing gastronomy from a different part of the community this year saw an innovative invitation to the Clochina del Mediterraneo. Clochinas are the very special mussels from the port of Valencia, grown on floating pontoons. The visitor was able to try steaming bowls of this tasty mollusc, or the famous red prawns from Denia ( if you have never tried these it is worth a pilgrimage just to savour the incredible depth of flavour from what are considered the best `gambas´ in Spain) or a rice dish with seafood and boletus all served by Chema Ferrer. Chema is another of Valencia´s genial newshounds who has a gastronomy bent, writing for Las Provincias ( Valencia´s major newspaper), running the weekly radio programme `Comer and Beber´  and producing video shorts for a new App ( Wines and Spirits TV ) amongst other projects. 2015-02-08 13.40.56 Now, of course Requena is home to another famous product, the wine region of Utiel-Requena! Seven bodegas had been invited to participate in the fair providing an opportunity to combine eating and drinking the regions products together! We took the opportunity to talk with Luis Miguel Latorre of Latorré Agrovinicola whose wines VÍ vid had shown earlier in the week at an English Language Tasting. Also exhibiting wines were Carlos Carcel who makes the only Bobal wine by the Maceration Carbonic method. We also enjoyed wines from the Coviñas Cooperative whose wines are widely available in the UK through Aldi and those of Ernesto Carcel ( El Rebollar) whose oak aged Macabeo is a perfect accompaniment to paellas.

Maceración Carbonica, Bobal, Carlos Carcel.

Maceración Carbonica, Bobal, Carlos Carcel.

For the first time the Cava producers Association were showing their products separately and we enjoyed a glass whist we ate some `Bollo´, the bread covered with the local sausages and bacon produced locally by the Associación de Panaderos Artesanos. Five of the towns sausage producers were on hand serving very generous tasting samples. In the press conference launching the fair the President of the IGP ( Mari Luz Pedrón ) had said that  visitors would receive a welcome with open arms! This edition of the fair certainly achieved that!



For those interested in attending next years fair, no doubt with more innovation, transport is easy from Valencia ( by car up the A3 ) or by train.  Those coming to the fair from Madrid or Valencia could use the fast train service ( AVE ) and enjoy a massive 60% discount on the fare price with free buses laid on to transport visitors to the fair or back to the station! Well worth a visit!!!! Although entry is free, to try all the samples you will need a ticket with 10 sub-tickets which you exchange for wine, sausages, bollo, etc.

Something to Look Forward to!!!!!

Something to Look Forward to!!!!!

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