Monday, 18 May 2009

Romería de San Isidro

paella cookingThis past week has seen quite a bit of activity in El Campo de Guardamar (the hamlet where we live, just outside the town of Guardamar del Segura) in connection with the Romería de San Isidro.
A romería is the whole series of events surrounding a procession to display one or more statues of religious figures and includes all of the fiestas, dancing, eating, singing, etc. A romería can last several days. Here in El Campo, the procession of the statues was held on Wednesday evening (the 13th) and yesterday the festivities came to an end with a sort of paella pic-nic.
Groups come to prepare their paellas in the open air. The "teams" are made up of people with apparently specific activities: there's the fireman, the stirrer, the taster, the ingredient-adder (two people in the case of a large paella) and the others, who watch, pass comment, and eat and drink the offerings brought by everyone. So while the paella is being prepared, appetites are piqued with cheeses, serrano ham, gambas, almonds… It takes quite a time to prepare a paella, so the "tapas" come in very handy.
The photo above shows the pieces of rabbit being browned, together with a couple of heads of garlic. Below you can see the fireman, San José de la Leña, and the stirrer, San Antonio de la Cucharazo (wearing an apron from last September's paella championship!).

Once prepared (after about an hour), the paella is brought to a large table and served, to be eaten with salad, bread, and something to drink. Our paella was made with rabbit and snails as the main ingredients, together with red and green bell peppers and, of course, Valencian rice.

Not only was it the Romería de San Isidro, the occasion also lent itself to the celebration of two recent birthdays, those of Marimar, also known as Santa Maria de los 45 Años, and Pedro, or San Pedro de la Escoba. ¡Felizes cumpleaños!

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