A pollo festival (no, not the moon landing!)

July 19th, 2009 | Uncategorized

Almost every small village in Galicia (and possibly every village in Spain) has an ‘adopted’ item of local produce. For many in our local area it is related to the sea, whether it be prawns, scallops, octopus or a particular species of fish, it gives them cause to have a day of celebration for their chosen dish or beverage.

Last summer I wrote about one such fiesta in our local village of Barrantes, where they celebrate the local wine – no, not Albarino, but the infamous local brew known as Tinto de Barrantes. A month or so after this first fiesta the local municipality of Ribadumia (which incorporates the village of Barrantes) holds yet another one, this time dedicated to food, or to be more specific, chicken!

Now to the best of my knowledge, neither Barrantes, nor Ribadumia is reknowned for it’s poultry, and so I was rather puzzled as to why they would single out the humble chicken for special attention. A casual conversation in the village revealed the answer, and of course I should have guessed without even asking.

In Barrantes, one of the local businesses is a chicken abattoir, and the owner was formerly a member of the local council. I don’t think I need to explain any more, except to say that a small boost in business is always welcome.

This reminds me a little of the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes (for luck), on each toll of the bell at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Perhaps I am just an old sceptic, but rumour has it that this custom was created as recently as the early 20th century when the grape producers of Alicante had a bumper harvest of eating grapes, and therefore had to devise some way of getting rid of them. Claiming that it was lucky to eat them on New Year’s Eve proved to be a stroke of marketing genius, and the rest, as they say, is history, or perhaps to be more accurate – tradition.

In a smilar vein, super cynics of the wine trade might easily argue the same of Beaujolais Nouveau in France….. a true tradition or just a clever piece of marketing to move wine quickly?

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