Posted by: Team McSlade | February 27, 2010

BBQ Nirvana (or how we went to the Medieval Fair in Rótova)

It’s a Saturday, we have bikes and the buses don’t run on the weekend. So what to do? Well, as luck would have it, the medieval fair (El Porrat, to be correct) was in town, Rótova town.

We jumped on the pushies, headed down the drive at the ‘early’ time of 11.30 and at a great rate of knots (if you call Jess throwing the anchors out as we went down the hill a great rate of knots) headed for the fair. Through the orange groves, so as to steer clear of the main road and then the slight climb to the top of the Rótova Hill had all of us in Granny gear with Jess getting a helping hand from me. As the little mountain goat’s hooves weren’t built for great speed up hills (a slight irony but when have you seen goats on bicycles – it’s weird enough seeing dogs play poker), I grab hold of her handle bars as we ride; dragging her up while she pedals to ease the burden. It works and we manage to get to the top of hills without having to get off and walk.

By this stage, Jess has a semblance of confidence in her ability on the bike and we manage to go down the hill to Rótova with a modicum of pace.

Reaching the town, they had obviously known we were coming as a Marching band was firing up, and as we were tying the bikes up to a lamp post, they swung out onto the main drag with gay abandon and a merry swagger in their step. There’s something quite magical about seeing a band wander up the street while cars are still passing in both directions. The Spaniards hold the aces in this game with Australia; as the Aussies would cordon off the street, erect bollards and ask to see the indemnity insurance to 10 million dollars before the first note was played.

Moseying into Ye Olde Medieval Faire (read El Porrat de Rótova) we came across several of the same or similar stalls from last week’s sojourn into Gandia with Ben, where a fair was taking place in what we believed was the 500th year celebration of Saint Francis Borgia’s birthday. However, the garb of choice for vendors was tunics, corsetry and hats with bells on the ends.

No surprise should be had when I mention I was ‘dealt’ some more meat today, a picante selection with just enough spice – which Jo has wisely enthused may need some extra time to hang and dry out to give it the right texture and added flavour (which adds to the numerous reasons as to why I married her three years ago this Wednesday – March 3 – please raise a glass and cheer thrice for our wedded anniversary that day, thanks). Back to the meat; I parted with 9 Euros for half a kilo of carne bueno and we alighted to see what else we could find in this world of wonder.
A slight back track takes us to my first t-shirt purchase here; an olive green number with ‘Past, present and future’ (but written in Valencian Spanish) which is in reference to the Ecomuseu Vernissa Viu ( and its drive to maintain the local area for future generations. A noble cause and for 10 Euros the price was right.

‘Carney’s’ were out in force, Zach tried his hand at bursting semi-inflated balloons with darts. He hit one out of three, but they don’t seem to have the ‘everyone wins a prize’ ethos here. Further wandering took us past bread stands, dodgem motorbikes; scarf, hat and bangle merchants. On the whole, artisans prepared fine food, banners adorned the streets and medieval rides & puppetry were out in force, suffice to say it eclipsed most small town shows. Sadly, the novelty tinsel wigs connected to plastic top hats were not to be seen for sale. 

The jewel in the crown today was the barbeque to end all barbeques. Shut the gate and sit down people, this thing was a monster, not only in size but in the selection of dishes being charred exquisitely on it (and has rightfully earned a place in The Spanish ‘Got…?’ Series). This behemoth was a two tiered job, both tiers being 8 ft in diameter discs; the base for the charcoal and the upper tier was a grill that was ‘wagon wheel’ in design, set two ft above the coals, able to spin freely on the axis. This axis gave our chef (a lower title would not be fitting for this genius) the ability to control the cooking of the racks of ribs, chorizo sausages and – wait for it – pig’s faces.

Pig’s faces.

 Yes, ears to snout and everything in between (eyes were not in the mix, eyelids were shut) was roasting away on this barbeque. It was one giant piece of face crackle (Mum, you should have seen it, it was glorious, sure you only cooked the skin from further south on the pig, but it was a wonderful sight to behold). I checked the menu and no cara del cerdo was there, so I am unsure of the price and correct Spanish name for this treat, had Ben still been here and not wandering the snowy streets and parks of New York, then my rough Spanish would have acquired at least half a pig’s face for us to gnaw on. Jo, the fun sheriff, rounded up this one man posse and directed me on to other stalls. She was not partaking in Babe.

We wandered for a while longer, all tackled the Rótova hill with deft aplomb and a few more naranjas were liberated for our Vitamin C stocks to be replenished when they have their juice extracted.

A wonderful way to spend a Saturday in sunny Spain.


See all the photos (click the link).



  1. “La la laaaaaaaaa” Babe, 1995

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