In Spain, summer is slowly but surely approaching and after a festive and fiery March we are all looking forward to a peaceful beach-lying-sun-soaking-season.
During March, the Valencian Community in Spain, celebrate their biggest and most unusual festival, Las Fallas. The main theme of Las Fallas, meaning torches in Valencian, is the construction and burning of enormous artistic statues. Artists, carpenters and craftsmen from all around Valencia work for months to construct these monuments, before finally being implanted on the 15th of March (La Planta).
The statues or monuments referred to as a ninot (figure or doll), once assembled, can rise above apartment and office buildings throughout the city. It truly is a spectacular sight.
On the 19th of March, the statues are set alight (La Crema), a supreme highlight of Las Fallas, while dedicated bomberos (firemen) hose the streets and surrounding buildings.
In the days leading up to La Crema another jaw-dropping event takes place called La Mascleta (to ignite thousands of string-lined firecrackers). This ear-shattering, adrenaline-pumping, window-breaking experience happens in Plaça de l’Ajuntament every day at exactly 2 pm from the 1st to the 19th of March.
Las Fallas is such a grandiose and complex festival that I find it difficult to fully describe. This celebration has you mesmerized the one moment and wanting to run for the hills the next.
The events mentioned above don’t even touch the surface of what this amazing festival is all about. There are so many facets, details, celebrations and age-old traditions intertwined, that it really has to be experienced to fully grasp the magnitude of what happens in Valencia during the month of March.
Staying on the topic of wild and unique things let’s move on to wild fruit…
Getting to know Spain, particularly Valencia, as loving their wild and extraordinary fiestas it came as no surprise that they also enjoy wild fruit. And so it happened that Wil and I stumbled across wild strawberries at the Mercat Central the other day.
Wild strawberries are tiny red to pinkish berries, with a diameter of about ten millimeters. The flesh is quite tender and if pressed too hard completely disintegrates. The fruit is covered with dark brown to yellow seeds. It’s not especially sweet but very aromatic with distinct floral notes and a tropical undertone.
While eating this little wild thing its perfumy flavour will only brush your taste buds for a fleeting moment leaving you wanting more…