THE XVIII Al-Arbuli Food Festival will be held on Friday November 24 and Saturday November 25 in Arboleas, giving locals and visitors alike the chance to sample the best produce the region has to offer.
The festival was founded to celebrate local cuisine, and locals are asked to cook one of their favourite meals and bring it with them for everyone to try. Typical dishes include migas (a traditional dish made with semolina and garlic), ensalada Rusa (Russian salad), empeñadas (pasties) and garlic rabbit.
As around half of the population in Arboleas are expatriates, there are some more exotic dishes thrown into the mix these days such as chicken curry or chili con carne. Local restaurants will also be serving their own special meals during the event.
To participate, guests need to purchase one the hand-crafted ceramic bowls for roughly €2. The bowls are specially made for the festival each year and have the date and details printed on them, so not only do they give you the chance to sample some great food, but they also make a great souvenir.
The festival was named after local writer Al-Arbuli who lived in Arboleas during the Nasrid dynasty (13th-15th centuries). He wrote a nine-chapter book called a “Treatise on Food”, which was recently translated from Arabic into Spanish and can be found in Madrid’s National Library.
The Almanzora region has always had excellent conditions for the production of fruit and vegetables, which has resulted in a strong food culture in the local towns.
Traditional dishes in Arboleas tend to resemble those that can be found across Almeria, such as Ajoblanco (a cold soup made from bread and almonds), Moorish soup, and olla de trigo (a fennel and wheat stew).