Spain is best known for bullfighting and baroque architecture—which is awesome—but what few people know is that every year small towns across the country host a myriad of bizarre ‘fight’ festivals. The weaponry used in these battles range from wild flowers to fruit to ants.
And if you want to witness one of the best food fights in the world we recommend you head to a little town called Buñol on the last Wednesday of August for battle they call La Tomatina. In the morning the townspeople erect a greased wooden pole with a ham on top of it. The crowd sings and cheers while people attempt to climb the pole and knock the ham off. Once the ham has been unseated, a shot is fired, a group of trucks dump more than one hundred tons of tomatoes onto the streets, and juicy red mayhem ensues. To avoid injuries, the festival has two rules: tomatoes must be squished before they are thrown, and nothing may be thrown except tomatoes. The fight continues for about an hour while the streets run red with rivers of tomato juice.
In recent years, the popularity of La Tomatina has exploded like a tomato hitting a wall at 60 miles and hour. It has begun to attract tourists from Britain, France, and Germany, and in 2007 more than 40,000 people descended on the town of 9000 and destroyed more than 115 tons of tomatoes. Both of those numbers are likely to increase in coming years.
If you really want to get into the rural Spain experience, we recommend that you check out it Posada Venta Pilar, a beautifully renovated 17th century farmhouse that has been converted into a restaurant and inn. The location is great, the rooms are charming, and the restaurant is well known for its paella and fruta en sarten.
The tomato soup, however, is not recommended.
Posada Venta Pilar
Address: Benito Perez Galdos, No. 5
Buñol, Valencia, Spain
Phone: 96 250 0923