Advantages Authentic local festivity, good value, good fun
Disadvantages Noisy, not for vegetarians
Did I describe the Sierra de Aracena in my most recent review* as quiet, peaceful, even sleepy? Well, as a rule it is, but perhaps Thurber was right when he said that there is no exception to the rule that every rule has its exception. After two days of wandering in the mountains and hearing little but the rustle of breeze in trees, the splashing of streams and the lowing of livestock, it was something of a rude awakening on the third day to do so accompanied by the thumping beat of 1980s disco music.
We were in even less doubt when we reached the outskirts of Jabugo. All the roads leading to the town’s football ground, where the event was taking place, were closed to traffic for the occasion, but groups of pedestrians were making their way purposefully in the right direction – just as they might for a football match in fact, though I rather suspect that attendance at the Cocido was a lot higher than for any local football match. 6,000 portions of stew were being cooked, and all were expected to be eaten during the course of the day, although the total population of Jabugo numbers fewer than 2,500. Clearly, hungry participants were being attracted from neighbouring towns and outlying villages.
Six thousand is a lot of portions, and cooking them requires a lot of ingredients. The stew was prepared to a traditional recipe, with the meat content being entirely pork of one kind or another. This was hardly a surprise, given that Jabugo is the centre of ham production in the area, with the characteristic Black Iberian pigs being reared on every other farm or small-holding you pass. Not that any of the best Jabugo ham was going into the stew, of course; it is far too precious for that, both financially and gastronomically. It is eaten, or rather savoured, in wafer-thin slices, with nothing but bread and reverence. By contrast, much of the meat content for the stew reads more like what might be left after all the prime cuts had already been taken: 125 kilos of salted backbone, 125 of matured pork fat, 125 kilos of salted pork ribs and 300 kilos of head and neck, plus 50 kilos of bacon, and 220 kilos of various kinds of sausage, including a chorizo and a morcilla each measuring 30 metres long - presumably they are sliced into segments before being added to the stew. This list is taken from an article in a magazine produced by the regional tourist office, mainly in Spanish, with only an English synopsis.
Attention, this is the first review from this author
Instead of giving a negative rating, consider:
Help this member by giving your advice
Report fraud (for example plagiarism) or other issue with the review to the Ciao support team
Add your comment