Carnivals with a lot of flavour
Carnival and the typical food from this traditional festival features really tasty and varied homemade dishes from all over Spain. Discover them!
TRAVELLING WITH TASTE
Carnival is a celebration of pagan origin where luxury, beauty and fun are the stars of the show. Venice Carnival (Italy) or Rio de Janeiro Carnival (Brazil) are two of the best-known and most traditional carnivals in the world, but... Did you know that you don’t need to look very far to enjoy this celebration? In Spain, we have some of the most famous carnivals in the world which welcome millions of tourists interested in enjoying their beauty, culture and typical food from this time of year. Below, we reveal the keys to the most famous carnivals in our country and which typical dishes you simply must try when you visit.
Discover the keys to the most famous carnivals in Spain.
Carnival is a festivity celebrated throughout our country, but which carnivals are not to be missed? We suggest to you some of the most famous in Spain which, in addition, have also been declared Festivals of International Tourist Interest!
Águilas Carnival – Murcia -February 18th, 2022
Águilas Carnival isn’t just the most famous carnival of the Region of Murcia, it is also one of the most-visited and renowned in our country, since it has been recognised as a Festival of International Tourist Interest. For two weeks, this city fills with luxury and beauty to welcome the masses of tourists who come from all over the world to delight in its meticulous parades of costumes and floats.
Not to be missed: The paper costume competition; the Release of the Mussona from the castle; the battle between Don Carnal and Doña Cuaresma, together with the subsequent war of the eggshells; the proclamation of the Carnival’s Muse and of the special guest, the Carnival Sunday parade.
The most typical dish: “Buñuelos de Águilas” (fritters).
- 1 large egg
- 125 ml milk
- 2 large tablespoons olive oil
- 125 g flour
- 1 large tablespoon sugar
- 1 small tablespoon baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- Place the egg, milk and olive oil in a bowl. Then whisk well. Once everything is incorporated, add the sugar, flour, yeast and salt and whisk until it forms a homogenous and lump-free dough.
- Fill a saucepan with plenty of oil for frying lightly. When the oil is very hot, put the fritters into the oil which have been previously shaped with a spoon. (Careful! It is best to fry them in batches so they don’t stick together). Leave them to fry until they turn golden.
- Remove the fritters from the oil with the help of a slotted spoon and leave them to rest on kitchen paper so they absorb the excess oil.
- Coat the fritters in sugar, accompanied with a hot chocolate and...enjoy!
Cádiz Carnaval – Andalusia - June 9th, 2022
Cádiz Carnival isn’t just renowned as a Festival of International Tourist Interest, it has also been declared a Treasure of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Spain. This festival is known as the carnival of humour and, for two weeks, the ‘comparsas’ (satiric groups), choirs, costumes and ‘chirigotas’ (carnival bands) invade the streets of Cádiz to fill this Andalusian city and all those that come to visit with jokes and joy.
Not to be missed: the light switch-on, the proclamation of the Carnival Goddess, the ‘carrusel de coros de Puerta Tierra’ choir performances, the proclamation, the Romancero competition, the great parade or ‘Gran Cabalgata’, the burning of the God Momo and witch Piti, the ‘Jartibles’ or ‘Chiquito’ little carnival, the anthology contest and the parade of humour.
The most typical dish: “Corrusquillos gaditanos” (Crunchy nut pastry).
- 2 medium egg whites
- 230 g sugar
- 100 g chopped peanuts
- 100 g soft flour
- 1 small tablespoon ground cinnamon
- The zest of half a lemon
- Half a small tablespoon vanilla essence
- 1 large tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC with heat top and bottom (without fan).
- Place the egg whites in a bowl and whisk until they start to foam. Once they are whisked well, gradually add the sugar to form peaks.
- To the mixture, add the oil, vanilla, lemon zest and ground cinnamon until it is well integrated. Add the peanuts, previously chopped, together with the flour and mix well until you get a firm dough.
- Insert the dough into a piping bag with a wide and round nozzle.
- Cover a baking tray with baking paper and, using the piping bag, create lines of approximately 4 cm in length. (Careful! The lines should be separated so they don’t stick together).
- Place the tray in the preheated oven for 10 - 15 minutes until the dough turns golden and crunchy. Leave the corrusquillos to cool and they are ready to enjoy.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival – Canary Islands - February 23rd, 2022
Another festival that has been declared Festival of International Tourist Interest is the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival. This celebration is characterised for being one of Spain’s most famous and spectacular festivals. Why? Thanks to the spectacular nature of its Carnival Queens, the luxury of their dresses and floats, their salsa dances and the “batucadas” (substyle of samba) which are organised by the “comparsas” (groups of singers, musicians and dancers). This is the most similar carnival to the one in Rio de Janeiro and, for that reason, the cities are twinned.
Not to be missed: the great gala for the crowning of the Carnival Queen, the ‘cabalgata anunciadora’ announcing parade, the Carnival Saturday dances, the ‘gran coso Apoteosis’ final parade, the sardine burial and the “llorosa” and the Saturday and Sunday piñata party.
The most typical dish: Honey crepes with cinnamon syrup.
- 6 eggs
- 500 g sugar
- 400 g flour
- The zest of 1 lemon
- Half litre milk
- 100 ml Anise
- 3 large tablespoons honey
- Olive oil
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Whisk the egg whites with a mixer and, when they start to peak, add the rest of the ingredients while whisking constantly. First add the sugar, then the yolks, flour, Anise, milk and, finally, the lemon zest.
- Leave the dough to rest. Meanwhile, heat the oil in the frying pan.
- Once the frying pan is hot, pour small amounts of the dough using a ladle. Turn them over until both sides are golden.
- Heat the honey in the microwave and pour it into a saucepan with the cinnamon stick so it infuses.
- Mix the honey with a drizzle of olive oil and pour the syrup on top of the crepes. Decorate to taste!
Vilanova i la Geltrú Carnival (Barcelona)- Catalonia- February 24th, 2022
One of the most traditional carnivals in Spain is the Vilanova i la Geltrú Carnival. This celebration has been classified as a Festival of National Tourist Interest and is characterised for its celebratory ‘comparsas’ (groups of singers, musicians and dancers), but also for the indisputable stars of the festival, including the Carnival King, Moixó Foguer, Vidalot and the Carnival Notary.
Not to be missed: the traditional shawl dance, the meringue food fight, the ‘gran xatonada popular’ ritual codfish meal, the ‘arrivo’ speeches done in fancy dress, the Moixó Foguer parade, the dance of the ‘malcasados’ and the Carnival Sunday parade to the beat of the Turuta (military march).
The most typical dish: La coca de llardons (pork crackling cake).
- 350 g strong flour
- 12 g fresh yeast
- 2 large eggs
- 80 g sugar
- 15 g mild olive oil or sunflower oil
- 4 g salt
- 60 g Anise liqueur
- 50 g water
- 150 g llardons (pork crackling)
- Pine nuts and sugar to decorate.
- Preheat the oven to 200 ºC above and below.
- Line the baking tray with baking paper.
- Crush the ‘llardons’ (pork crackling).
- Dissolve the yeast in warm water.
- Create a volcano with the flour, make a hole in the centre and gradually add the other ingredients. Stir everything until you get a homogenous dough and, when everything is mixed together, add the pork crackling.
- Tip out the dough and knead until it is easy to handle. Then, make the dough into a ball and leave it to rest in a bowl covered with a kitchen towel or clingfilm, for approximately half an hour or until it doubles in size.
- Next, roll the dough out and place it on a baking tray and cover again for a few hours. When the dough has grown, coat it with the pine nuts and sugar.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 180 ºC and bake the cake for 20 minutes or until the dough turns golden.
Vinaròs Carnival (Castellón) - Valencian Community - February 8th, 2022
One of the most famous carnivals in the Valencian Community is the Vinaròs Carnival. This festival is recognised as a Festival of Autonomous Tourist Interest and is characterised for its spectacular parades which flood the town’s streets with fantasy and colour, thanks to its Carnival queens and the arrival of the legendary character of Don Carnal, who arrives each year to incite those in attendance to “sin” to the beat of the comparsas.
Not to be missed: The Carnival queens’ gala, pyjama night, the fancy dress party and the parades of ‘comparsas’ (groups of singers, musicians and dancers) accompanied by King Carnestoltes.
The most typical dish: “dulces rocas de Vinaròs” (sweet meringue rocks).
- 4 egg whites
- 350 g white sugar
- 180 g peeled roasted almonds
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- The zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees above and below.
- Line the baking tray with baking paper.
- Cut the almonds into irregular pieces to form brittle.
- Place the egg whites into a bowl, whisk until they foam and add the lemon juice.
- Continue whisking the egg whites until they form peaks.
- Incorporate the sugar to the egg whites, and keep whisking as you do so, until the sugar is fully integrated.
- When the meringue has thickened, add the cinnamon, lemon zest and almonds. Mix everything together well using a spoon or spatula.
- Take a spoon or ladle (depending on how big you want the meringue to be) and make mounds on the baking tray.
- Bake the rocks for 45 minutes or until they are ready (when they start to crack slightly).
Villarrobledo Carnival (Albacete) – Castilla-La Mancha- March 24th, 2022
Declared Festival of Regional Tourist Interest, Villarrobledo Carnival is one of Spain’s most famous carnivals. This celebration is characterised for being one of Spain’s most participative and traditional. Notable traditional activities include the murgas and chirigotas contest (groups that sing satirical songs), the Carnival flea market, the Manchego pride evening or the wedding contest, which give this festival a unique touch.
Not to be missed: The arrival of ‘los juanes’, the proclamation of the carnival, the murgas and chirigotas contest, the Carnival flea market, Manchego Pride night, the wedding contest, the Gachas Manchegas contest and the street Carnival parade.
The most typical dish: “flores fritas de carnaval” (fried carnival flowers).
- 300 g flour
- 500 ml whole milk
- 3 large eggs
- 5 g salt
- The zest of 2 lemons
- 75 ml Anise
- 2 l mild olive oil or sunflower oil
- 15 g sugar
- Icing sugar
- A flower-shaped iron mould.
- Whisk the egg whites with the sugar in a bowl until it forms a meringue. Then add the eggs, milk, salt, flour, lemon zest and Anise. Whisk well until everything is fully mixed and you have a thick and lump-free creamy texture.
- Put oil in a frying pan or saucepan on a medium heat. When it is hot, add the mould until this is also very hot.
- Remove the mould from the oil and place it on the dough until it is well covered.
- Insert the mould into the oil again to form the flower. When it is formed, it will release from the mould easily. Leave it to fry lightly until it turns golden.
- When the flower is ready, leave it to rest on a dish with kitchen paper so it absorbs the excess oil. Leave to cool and decorate with icing sugar.