February: Fete-du-Citron, Menton, France
From the very first display of flowers and citrus fruits in the garden’s of Hotel Riveria back in 1928, Menton’s Fete-du-Citron -Lemon Festival has grown year on year. Now magnificent displays using 120 tonnes of the fruit take over the town that was once the largest lemon produced on the continent. As the festival draws to a close, this favourite Mediterranean ingredient is sold by the bucketload to carry on the celebration in your kitchen.
November: Olive Festival, Caimari, Mallorca, Spain
Every autumn, the village of Caimari hosts a festival to celebrate its most treasured crop -the olive. Situated in the foothills of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, it’s has been the centre of olive-oil production in Mallorca since Roman times. Villagers line the streets with olive branches and a donkey powers the traditional oil press in the village square. You’ll be able to buy all sort of items made from this Mediterranean staple.
The Artichoke Festival in Tinos Island, Greece
Every May, on the Greek island of Tinos, they celebrate one ingredient most Mediterranean diets would be lost without- the all-important artichoke. 10 days before the festival local housewives prepare the feast of over 10,000 artichokes, cleaning and preparing the vegetable for ten different recipes. From fried to stuffed, in omelettes and soufflés hungry visitors are fed up whilst entertained by local music and folk dancers.
January: Calçotada, Catalan
A calçotada is a barbecue unique to Catalan and devoted to the calçot, a variety of giant spring onion. Groups of friends and family don silly paper bibs and gather round tables set out in courtyards to get down and dirty with a calçot. The calçots are blackened on the BBQ and then peeled to reveal a juice, white core, ready to dip in a romesco sauce before being lowered into the mouth in one go. One go, and the reason for the bibs become clear. The town of Valls near Tarragona is calçot central.
Anchovy Day- Getraria
The first Friday of May marks “Antxua Eguna”-that’s Anchovy Day to the rest of us. It’s an event that gets people talking about and more importantly tasting, the humble anchovy. There’s tours of the local fish markets and canning factories and fishing talks. Across breakfast and lunch there’s a chance to try this fish grilled, fried and salted alongside music from dantzaris and txistularis.