Painting the town red

Fri 27 Aug 2010 @ 12:32
Author Adrienne Pitts

A few days ago on the 26th of August, I was lucky enough to participate in the world’s largest food fight with Laura, our resident nutritionist. Held in the village of Buñol, in Valencia, Spain, La Tomatina has surged in popularity from its inception in the 1940s to become a huge event drawing people from all over the world, with the sole purpose of throwing tomatoes at each other.

You’d think that being in a crowd of up to 40,000 people would be daunting, especially given that La Tomatina takes place on just one street in the centre of town, but the atmosphere of camaraderie and excitement was absolutely amazing – people really were just there to have a good time and get covered in tomatoes. The fight is supposed to start once a brave soul has managed to release a ham from the top of a very high pole that has been generously greased with animal fat. However in the past few years this has proved impossible, so at around midday the fight starts anyway. This year we came so close to someone actually getting the ham from the top of the pole – only for the intrepid climber to become so preoccupied with having his photograph taken that he fell. You can imagine the types of things the crowd were chanting at him...

Savvy homeowners and storekeepers covered their buildings with tarpaulins and hid behind netting covering their balconies so they could witness the carnage. Some kind villagers spent the hours before the fight throwing buckets of water over the crowd, and set hoses on the masses as we waited for the trucks to arrive and the fight to start. Four trucks then rolled down the main street, with people positioned on top lobbing tomatoes into the crowd. By this time all bets are off and for the next hour it was a free-for-all as the crowd picked up and threw as many tomatoes as they could at each other. I can report that the first few tomatoes aimed at the head do smart a little, but once they have been thrown a few times they are a lot squishier, and far less likely to cause whiplash.

It sounds like such a cliché, but La Tomatina really was an experience of a lifetime – and the kind villagers hosing off the tomato-covered tourists at the end of the fight really summed it all up – go for the fun and the mess, and enjoy it for the friendly, manic, and unique experience.

More blogs


Meet the Real Picky Gourmet
Wed 10 Sep 2014 @ 15:31


Alaskan salmon, Keralan spice
Wed 09 Jul 2014 @ 14:57


Strawberries & cream cover cake recipe!
Tue 08 Jul 2014 @ 15:17

Andy’s spicy aubergine stew
Mon 07 Jul 2014 @ 16:42

Happy birthday to us!
Thu 03 Jul 2014 @ 16:12

CORRECTION!
Mon 30 Jun 2014 @ 13:16

Ten ways to spoil your Dad this Father's Day
Tue 10 Jun 2014 @ 16:01

Thailand, via Alaska
Thu 29 May 2014 @ 10:23

PORTENO: HOW TO COLD SMOKE YOUR CHICKEN WINGS
Wed 21 May 2014 @ 15:35

The Queen of Rice Paper Rolls
Tue 25 Mar 2014 @ 15:51

Oh Carolina!
Thu 13 Mar 2014 @ 10:13

The goddess's apples
Wed 12 Feb 2014 @ 12:00

Vegan brownie recipe - As seen on The Graham Norton show
Mon 16 Dec 2013 @ 12:15

A TASTE OF NORWAY
Wed 23 Oct 2013 @ 14:23

The burgers are on Red Tractor!
Mon 16 Sep 2013 @ 11:38

Reader offer: Join us on a cooking holiday in Portugal
Thu 05 Sep 2013 @ 12:29

It's Island life for me
Fri 09 Aug 2013 @ 14:22

Summer staycation, you'd be Scilly not to...
Thu 08 Aug 2013 @ 18:54

Get set for spring!
Thu 28 Mar 2013 @ 12:15

Correction
Mon 18 Mar 2013 @ 14:34

Jamie is best of 2012!
Thu 03 Jan 2013 @ 13:15

The Ideal Christmas present
Tue 20 Nov 2012 @ 14:36

The festival and feasting of Diwali
Mon 12 Nov 2012 @ 17:04

Jamie's Magazine app's out now!
Fri 26 Oct 2012 @ 18:46

SOLD!
Thu 18 Oct 2012 @ 14:35

Calling all readers...win a case of Champagne!
Thu 27 Sep 2012 @ 11:18

Nutritional alterations
Mon 17 Sep 2012 @ 11:18

Shucks away!
Fri 07 Sep 2012 @ 12:29

Cookery workshop tickets: Taste of Greece
Thu 06 Sep 2012 @ 16:38

Magic Cirkiel
Wed 08 Aug 2012 @ 15:29

Happy news!
Thu 21 Jun 2012 @ 11:41

How to butterfly the topside for our Malaysian beef rendang wellington in issue 29
Mon 14 May 2012 @ 15:16

Jamie Mag iPad app
Mon 19 Mar 2012 @ 11:32

Correction: gluten-free recipes, issue 27
Tue 13 Mar 2012 @ 13:40

Tweet & Instagram with us!
Tue 07 Feb 2012 @ 10:56

Tips for entering our food photography competition
Wed 25 Jan 2012 @ 10:09

Interview with David Loftus
Fri 06 Jan 2012 @ 10:22

Medlar jelly recipe
Wed 14 Dec 2011 @ 11:51

Let there be light!
Tue 15 Nov 2011 @ 16:34

CORRECTION!
Tue 15 Nov 2011 @ 14:10

Easiest crackers ever!
Wed 02 Nov 2011 @ 15:03

Our little French address book
Wed 14 Sep 2011 @ 15:19

Do you cut the mustard?
Wed 03 Aug 2011 @ 16:26

Like Maw Maw used to make
Tue 19 Jul 2011 @ 15:03

Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery
Fri 15 Jul 2011 @ 17:22

The value of pie
Wed 13 Jul 2011 @ 14:51

Jude's ice cream
Tue 05 Jul 2011 @ 12:03

What's your beef?
Tue 07 Jun 2011 @ 12:46

Adrienne espressos herself
Mon 06 Jun 2011 @ 16:37

Paddy power
Mon 14 Mar 2011 @ 15:09

What we're loving at the moment
Fri 11 Mar 2011 @ 15:56

Veally tasty
Thu 03 Mar 2011 @ 16:14

Eating for two
Fri 11 Feb 2011 @ 17:34

Puntarelle alla Romana
Tue 25 Jan 2011 @ 15:08

It's all in the little details...
Tue 21 Dec 2010 @ 13:14

Jamie's perfect roast potatoes, get-ahead gravy and roast veg megamix
Tue 07 Dec 2010 @ 14:44

Colombia Gourmet 2010
Wed 29 Sep 2010 @ 12:59

The one that didn't get away
Fri 17 Sep 2010 @ 13:29

Time for tea
Fri 17 Sep 2010 @ 10:50

Hive Aid!
Fri 20 Aug 2010 @ 16:06

Going Nuts over Squirrel
Mon 16 Aug 2010 @ 15:31

Extra ice-cream recipes
Wed 04 Aug 2010 @ 15:37

Gennaro Gets Saucy
Wed 07 Jul 2010 @ 12:45

Ceviche Masterclass at Gaucho Restaurant
Fri 02 Jul 2010 @ 12:39

A proper cup of coffee
Thu 01 Jul 2010 @ 16:45

"This is not molecular cuisine..."
Tue 08 Jun 2010 @ 16:04

Postcard from Portugal
Wed 19 May 2010 @ 15:16

Bhaji time
Fri 14 May 2010 @ 11:03

Jamie nominated for awards!
Mon 26 Apr 2010 @ 17:37

"Rules and pie crusts are made to be broken"
Fri 23 Apr 2010 @ 16:18

Finger Lickin' Good!
Fri 23 Apr 2010 @ 11:21

Boris bakes!
Thu 22 Apr 2010 @ 16:30

Sex and drugs and sausage rolls!
Tue 13 Apr 2010 @ 15:09

Ormer eating in Jersey
Wed 07 Apr 2010 @ 13:23

Welcome to the new site!
Tue 30 Mar 2010 @ 18:22

Watercress
Mon 22 Mar 2010 @ 16:01

Amsterdam
Fri 19 Mar 2010 @ 13:00

© 2014 Jamie Magazine Ltd. All rights reserved. Jamie is a registered trade mark of Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited.