Let’s talk about feria food. When you go to feria here in Andalucia, you eat and drink. People complain that the food is overpriced, but everyone is going to eat (and drink) anyway, since that’s one of the best ways to enjoy yourself in Spain!
First of all, there are a lot of foods that are similar to what you would get at the country fair in the USA. Chips, pizza, cotton candy (called algodon which means cotton) and lots of sweets.
Here’s Amelia, with her first encounter with cotton candy. Our friends ordered one, and she was mesmerized as she watched this sweet lady build the cloud onto the stick. (One taste, and she decided the texture was not for her.)She’d rather have chocolate any day. She bought herself a thick brick of turrón de chocolate, which is chocolate nougat. That’s my girl!
I smiled as the familiar, mouth-watering scent of funnel cake reached me, walking through the section with children’s rides. However it was not funnel cakes, but the buñuelos, very similar to doughnut holes, dusted in cinnamon and sugar. And yes, there are hamburgers, which seemed particularly popular with the younger crowd. But it’s not all junk food or typical fast food! There are some really nice traditional foods to enjoy at feria. Local small restaurants, called ventas set up tents (casetas) in rows at the feria and cook good meals to serve there. Lots of grilled meats and sausages, fried peppers, potatoes, and all sorts of tapas like olives, salads, jamon, revueltos (scrambled eggs with additions such as ham, asparagus or mushrooms). And there is fried fish and seafood– pescaito frito. Most of the food is simple and good, and rarely fancy. In many of these restaurants, you stand in line to buy tickets, and then you use the tickets to order the food and drinks you want. Our friends showed us on the first night where the best venta was, and told us it was the only one that would take our orders tableside– a nice little luxury!
The family favorite was pimientos de feria– feria peppers. These are non-spicy fried and blistered green peppers, sprinkled with coarse salt. You just pick them up with your fingers, dangle over your mouth, and bite! A similar, very popular tapas is pimientos de padron, which are smaller green peppers– some are spicy, and you never know what you’re getting! I have since made these peppers at home, and it’s really simple and delicious– here’s the recipe.
We also enjoyed some pinchitos, which are pork kebabs with North African spices– pictured above.
As for drinks, there are not quite as many options, but there’s something for everyone. By far, the preferred beverage is the rebujito. This is a light cocktail made by mixing fino or manzanilla sherry with a citrus soda, like 7up. Since these wines are strong, making them into a rebujito is a good way to stay cool and hydrated, and drink a lot without getting totally hammered. Similarly made, the other popular beverage is tinto de verano (“summer wine”)– red wine mixed with diet lemon soda. The rebujitos and tinto de verano are brought out by the jugful, with ice, and it made me smile to see people walking around the feria grounds with their jugs of punch! It was hot out, so this seems reasonable. You can also order sodas, sherry and red wine. We mostly enjoyed glasses of cold fino, water, and a glass or two of local wine.
So, there’s lots of good food to eat at feria! It’s great to have a few plates to nibble from as you sit and watch all of the pretty ladies stride by.
What would you order?