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More than 12000 people will join in Trebujena to savour its delicious chick peas. The 1st of December the fiesta of the new grape. With the Fiesta of “los garbanzos como conejo” (chick peas rabbit style) on the first Sunday of December, Trebujena becomes the gastronomic capital of the province.
It all began in 1979 when the first fiesta/competition was introduced as part of the cultural week to celebrate the arrival of the new young wine. However, what originally started out as a small gathering for the local community, grew and exceeded all expectations.
Today, 12000 people descend on Trebujena every year to welcome in the new young wine and to eat a dish from the 1940s which has been revived and reinvented.
The dish originated in Post-War Spain when hunger was the mother of invention and imagination was used to compensate for the lack of ingredients. Chickpeas were cooked with rice, garlic, bay leaves, parsley, saffron, salt and wine so that they tasted like chickpeas with rabbit…but without the rabbit! For despite its name, rabbit is not one of the ingredients of this delicious dish – the secret lies in the way the chickpeas are prepared and peppered with wit and imagination.
From early in the morning on the 1st of December, there is a milling around of chefs and their helpers, judges and visitors, forming an amazing spectacle around the 100 or so gas burners where in the open air different versions of this popular dish are prepared. The chef who is judged to have created the most exquisite dish is awarded the title of “Cocinero Mayor de la Villa” (Head Chef of the Village).
There are more than 3000 litres of newly pressed wine and more than 300 kilos of chick peas so that no one goes home without trying the best known dish of this generous town. As well as a wide variety of chickpea dishes there are sardines, meat and other appetising tapas on offer.
The competition takes place in Trebujena’s fairground area which offers parking for some 3000 vehicles. Although it officially finishes at 2.30 pm, the festivities go on until much later in the municipal centre and in hundreds of local clubs and associations.
The event is the best advertisement for the gastronomy and wine of the region – an art which, since the fifteenth century, has been part of the way of life in Trebujena which is a distinguished producer of young white wine whose fruity taste is renowned.
Coinciding with the competition there is also a local produce, arts and crafts fair where apart from a wide variety of wines, sweets, cakes and cheeses, handmade furniture and wickerwork, plants and decorations are also on sale.
Above all it is a fantastic opportunity to get to know this old town whose horizons, sunsets and marshlands fascinated Steven Spielberg and were immortalised in his film “The Empire of the Sun”.
But Trebujena has many more stories to tell. Its rich fertile lands have been acknowledged since prehistoric times and Phoenecians, Romans and Muslims have all left their mark on the town which in the 11th century was already trading with the East.
Today it is an important exporter of wine and the local grape producing cooperatives boast more than 1000 members. It is also one of Spain’s main suppliers of eels and shrimps - delicious with garlic, particularly in Trebujena.