Thursday, October 23, 2008


Friday, 17th October, saw the opening of the 13th Gourmet Fair in Utiel. Held in the Paseo de la Alameda, visitors were invited to enjoy the rich gastronomy of the district, ranging from bread, oils, sausages, cheeses, sweetmeats and wines. Much of the food was produced by the local 'Housewives' Associations' and tickets ranged from 4-8€, entitling the bearer to try delicacies from the 30 or so stalls along the avenue. In the afternoon there was a wine-tasting organised by the Association Circle Enófilos Utiel Requena, which gave everyone a chance to decide which wines to go for with their tickets.

Tell me again what it is we're doing here ...

First came an exhibition (and sale) of classic cars in the deliciously named El Patio de la Delicias, arranged by the Utiel Classic Motor Company, followed by a roast-beef tasting in the style of the Argentine Court, courtesy of the Argentine Association of Valencia. Then there were some interesting culinary treats to try from the II Cooking "Utiel Gourmet" School. Some not quite to my taste but, each to his own. 'I'll take the chicken breast, you can have the feet'. I know how to share.
Good eating .....

At six o'clock came the Ceremony of the Gourmet Gold Award (13th edition). The award was presented by Mayor Ajero, after which gifts were handed out to the exhibitors. At 7 o'clock the pergola at the centre of the fair came alive to music from the Argentine Association of Valencia entitled: "Living the Tango", giving us a chance to witness one of the most extraordinary dances ever choreographed. And then, as if we hadn't had enough, we were encouraged to indulge in sausages and grilled bacon. Unnnnhhhhh......

Should you be eating that sausage? Are those twins or am I seeing double?

Utiel is an interesting town and well worth the drive (about 80k from the city on the Madrid A3 road). With its history of wine-making, the landscape is rich with vineyards against a backdrop of hills and valleys. Utiel-Requena wines have much to offer but my advice is to try before you buy as they can be both strong and dense. Go in late August for the grape harvest festival or the sausage fair held in Requena (just before you get to Utiel) in early February. Both are great fun and offer a chance to chat with the locals while indulging yourself in foods you wouldn't normally eat. And, in some cases, will never eat again. Apart from the fairs there are guided tours of the old quarter of the city and don't miss the traditional Ruta del Tapeo (Tapa-Tasting Route), which brings together eleven establishments that offer the public a taste of their own culinary specialities.

Caption competition: Somebody's 'friend' seems a little out of sorts. ¿Un poco aire, quizás?

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