Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver visited Estepona for the Virgin del Carmen Festival
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver visited Estepona for the Virgin del Carmen celebrations in 2009 during the filming of Jamie Does Andalucia, part of the Jamie Does TV series on Channel 4, broadcast in 2010.
The Andalucia.com staff worked in conjunction with Jamie´s production team, suggesting locations within the Estepona area, and explaining about the traditional fiesta.
|Jaime´s cuisine hand crafted in Andalucia.
Jamie visited Ronda first, spending three days in and around the Serrania, and made a huge street paella for 500 people in the village of Benaojan. Embarking on a two-hour cooking marathon, fascinating locals and visitors alike, he was helped by local chef Salvador Garcia Dominguez, who taught him how to make the traditional Valencian dish. Together they served up the mega-paella (using 50k of rice and stirred with wooden oars) to their intrigued dinner guests at midnight, in true Spanish style.
Later in the week, Jamie headed down to the Costa del Sol, where he prepared a delicious meal of traditional salt-baked fish on the beach in Estepona. He cooked the locally-caught Mediterranean bream in flavoured salt, and covered with hot coals, served it with salad and aoli. "I swear to God, these Spanish - they really know how to cook," commented Jamie, observing that many dishes have been handed down over the centuries, and are notable for their common sense.
The same evening Jaime and his crew had the privilege of being guests on a local fishing boat to get a close-up view of an important local fiesta in Estepona, the Virgen del Carmen, also celebrated in other fishing towns along the coast. The ceremony starts with a procession, as the image of the Virgin is carried from her church down to the sea, followed by hundreds of townsfolk.
The Virgin, the patron saint of the local fishermen, is floated around the bay on a raft, to give all the fishing boats good luck for the year. The traditional procession commences leaves the Estepona Church of Ntra. Sra. del Carmen at 8pm and celebrations which include singing and dancing on the beach with continuous firework displays go on until the small hours.
It´s a festival that´s not to be missed and by the huge smiles on Jamie´s face during the evening, I´m sure he agrees.