Spain’s La Tomatina Festival: No Way to Treat a Tomato

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For more than six decades the biggest food fight on the planet takes place every summer in Bunol, Spain. Located near the coastal town of Valencia, the small town with a population of 9,000 is the gathering place for tourists and locals alike who indulge in Spain’s dirtiest festival.

La Tomatina is the tomato fight that has no rival. It takes place every year on the last Wednesday in August after a week long of music, food, dancing and fireworks. The celebration pays tribute to a practice rumored to be started in 1945 by a group of rowdy young carnival goers who grabbed tomatoes from a nearby vegetable cart and just started throwing.

It seemed like too much summer fun to resist and the next year Spaniard youths gathered once again in the town’s square armed with their own tomatoes. Thus the tradition of pelting each other with the plump organic ammunition was born and has continued on to the present day.

Officially recognized in 1952, today the festival includes over 90,000 pounds of ripe tomatoes (about 150,000) being tossed about as well as shot out massive tomato-packed rockets. The tomato throwing is kicked off with a breakfast of Chorizo and wine and if participants are not covered with plenty of red pulp by noon they are just not playing right. The fight itself last about an hour and women are expected to wear white while men go shirtless; no doubt adding to the popularity of the uninhibited tomato massacre. That’s no way to treat a tomato!

◊ Cutting tomatoes can be tricky business. However, using the proper kitchen tools makes the precision slicing of ripe tomatoes easy. The Kyocera ceramic knife is razor sharp, lightweight, and unlike the La Tomatina Festival, a snap to clean-up!

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