The region of Murcia has been designated the Spanish Capital of Gastronomy for 2021 having been previously awarded the title in 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic prevented Murcia from hosting many of the activities that were scheduled to take place in celebration of its designation. Now, Murcia has announced its programme of events for 2021, designed to celebrate the region’s culinary heritage throughout the year.
Murcia is a corner of Spain with a deep-rooted gastronomical heritage thanks in large part to the outstanding produce on offer, whether it is the broad range of high-quality fruits and vegetables from the fertile grounds of La Huerta de Murcia, fresh seafood from the Mar Menor or beautiful cuts of meat from inland farms.
Murcia is among Europe’s largest producers of fruit and vegetables and this, combined with agricultural and fishing techniques passed down through generations, influenced by the different cultures that occupied the lands, has given rise to a thriving modern food scene.
To drive local awareness and education of Murcia’s cuisine, activities planned to celebrate the Spanish Capital of Gastronomy status include a series of workshops for local chefs under the theme “La Huerta of 1001 Flavours”, “huerta” referring to the fertile land where many of the region’s fruit and veg are grown.
The programme also features “Gastrojueves” (Food Thursdays), a series that will highlight healthy, Mediterranean cooking and involve professional chefs running “cookalongs” allowing participants to cook Murcian specialities from the comfort of their own home (Spanish language only).
Until December, Murcia will also be celebrating, each week, a different product emblematic of the region, many of which are protected by Denomination of Origin (D.O) recognising their specific qualities and characteristics. “Semanas de elaboraciones y de producto” (Production and product weeks) will share typical recipes from the different municipalities of Murcia according to the produce being honoured that week.
More information on Murcia as the Spanish Capital of Gastronomy is available at www.murciacapitalgastronomica.es (Spanish language only).
The food pocket guide to Murcia
For food lovers looking to get a taste of the Spanish Capital of Gastronomy’s cuisine later in the year when travel resumes, the Murcia has provided some must-try Murcian specialties and memorable restaurants fit for any culinary pocket guide.
Caldero del Mar Menor
A rice stew traditionally made by fishermen from the catch that was too small to sell at market. Cooked in a cauldron style pan, hence the name caldero, the stew includes ñoras (small dried peppers popular in Murcia), garlic, tomatoes, saffron and of course an array of seafood from the Mar Menor.
A traditional salad made with tomato, Cieza olives, onion, tuna and hardboiled egg. It is as healthy as it is refreshing and delicious.
Pastel de Carne
A Medieval recipe with a slight Muslim twist to it. The strict recipe is held in high regard with standards and processes laid down in 1695. The pastry is a puff pastry which envelopes meat, boiled egg ad chorizo.
A traditional Murcian dessert consisting of battered and fried lemon leaves. It has the indulgent texture of a doughnut but be sure not to eat the whole package. Remove the leaves and enjoy the crisp, lemony dough casing.