I was too busy, not watching where I was going – inhaling freshly brewed coffee and trying to guess what Maria & Co were cooking up for lunch to give a second thought to where my feet were heading…straight into a stack of crates…toes well and truly stubbed…tomatoes everywhere…including squashed under my shoe.
M: Ah no! ‘elen you make it like La Tomatina in here!
H: I’m so sorry! What a mess!
It looks like a brutal crime scene in Maria’s and visitors are already strolling around the courtyard. I make busy with kitchen towel, I have to admit the floor is coming up a treat, something to do with the acidity of tomatoes.
H: What’s La Tomatina Maria?
M: Ah! La Tomatina! HaHaHa! La Tomatina – is a festival in Valencia. Thousands and thousands of people and thousands and thousands of tomatoes! The people throw the tomatoes! A giant food fight!
H: No way!
M: Yes way! In Spain we love tomatoes. We make everything with tomatoes. We love them so much we make La Tomatina!
H: You’re crazy.
M: No! No! In two hours the town is completely clean. The streets – they shine!
(I still think it sounds bonkers, apparently the festival, La Tomatina, is now so popular you have to buy a ticket and numbers are limited to 20,000!)
As Maria mentioned, the Spanish love their tomatoes, turning them into Ensalada de Tomate, Pan con Tomate, Gazpacho, Salsa de Tomate to name just a few of their dishes. But Maria’s favorite, something her son Robin made for her, is Tomates Rellenos al Estilo Conte Ingles (Stuffed tomatoes Conte Ingles style).