The last Wednesday of August in the Valencia town of Buñol in Spain they hold a festival each year that started in 1944 as a small rivalry discouraged by police, but since the 1950’s has been openly accepted. You may have seen photographs of Tomatina, the largest tomato fight in the world.
Each year the tomato fight swells to larger proportions as the local government began trucking in low quality tomatoes grown for the festival in the 1980’s, replacing the homegrown tomatoes gathered by the people of Buñol.
Today the festival begins with a greased pole with a large ham affixed to the top called the “palo jabón”. Once the ham is retrieved the pummeling begins. After an hour of tomato fighting a shot is fired marking the end, and the streets are cleaned using fire trucks.
We spoke with chef Stephan Pyles this past weekend during a visit to Samar and he said that they will be celebrating Tomatina this year with a special dinner that will include Adnalusia Gazpacho, Tomato Watermelon and Valdeon ( a pungent Spanish blue cheese wrapped in Sycamore leaves) Salad, and Mangalitsa Pork (this is the decadent wooly pig you’ve heard so much about) with Grilled Leeks and Smoked Tomato Sofritto.
Add in sultry Spanish tones and Flamenco dancers for a perfect evening of celebration with both chef Pyles and Jon Thompson at a very affordable price of $35 per person ($50 wine paired).
The dinner is August 31, 2011 and reservations can be made today at 214-922-9922. Pyles assures us that no toamtoes will be tossed at this celebration.