If Galicia is gastronomy, Pontevedra wants to be its capital. This is how clear the Tourism of Pontevedra made it in this past edition of FITUR when it presented a new and ambitious tourist campaign that includes, among other promotional materials, the destination book ‘Pontevedra de corazón’ and the video ‘The return of extraordinary beings’ (starring Pablo Mèndez Performances), as well as a White Box full of gifts that the Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez took home. A proposal in which its culinary wealth plays a leading role, becoming a powerful tourist attraction and for which the ‘Pontevedra Capital Gastro’ project has been launched. A tasty initiative with which to claim, publicize and value the quality of the products of the Rías Baixas.
The first great gastronomic event that has made this project possible, promoted by the Councilor for Economic Promotion and Tourism, Yoya Blanco, has been the recently closed Festa das Cunchas, held from June 18 to 30. In it, the protagonists have been shellfish from the Pontevedra estuary. That is to say, cockles, clams, spittoons, razor clams, scallops, scallops, oysters and mussels. So the success of this I Festa das Cunchas was assured before starting. For its celebration, the intense flavors of its estuary have been taken into account through a Roteiro de Petiscos, a Gastronomic Xornadas das Cunchas with specific menus throughout the city, the participation of important names of national cuisine, walks in traditional boats and a Batalla das Cunchas as the final point to this first edition which, as could be expected, has been confirmed as a resounding success.
The I Roteiro de Petiscos, an event with an estuary flavor
The Roteiro de Petiscos has been one of the highlights of this Festa das Cunchas, an opportunity to get to know in depth and first-hand what the Pontevedra estuary has to offer our taste buds. To make this route possible, each of the 48 participating bars and restaurants has prepared a pincho based on one of the eight shellfish that are honored here. For their enjoyment, in addition to being able to go from establishment to establishment, the visitors have had a brochure that they have been able to stamp in the different locations, so that the first 150 people who demonstrated to have tasted at least one skewer of each shellfish will take home an award, announced on the social networks of ‘Pontevedra Capital Gastro’.
Those who have been able to make the Roteiro de Petiscos, like the councilor Yoya Blanco herself, will have been able to try, among many others, skewers such as oysters with Loaira albariño, the Double M scallop empanada, the glazed scallop with coconut Thai sauce, wakame seaweed and lime caviar from La Culpa de la Gula, the mussel croquette from Croquetería el Crack, the grilled razor clams with coastal herbs and citrus textures from Bocarte, the spittle sunomono with ‘Atlantic air’ from El Cafetín or Uncle Gilito’s cockle pate toast. And that, to name just a few of the leading pinchos of this gastronomic route that has given flavor to the streets of Pontevedra for 12 days.
On the other hand, the Festa das Cunchas has also held its own Gastronomic Xornadas das Cunchas on June 19, 20, 26 and 27. Establishments throughout the city have joined them, preparing a closed menu in which the offer has been based on different recipes in which any of the eight shell seafood was the protagonist. As if the quality of the product was not already enough of an incentive for the cooks of Pontevedra, the most voted establishment in the social networks of ‘Pontevedra Capital Gastro’ has also aspired to receive an important award from the organization.
Another award that has just been born during these festivities dedicated to the products of the estuary has been the ‘Gastronomic Prize of Pontevedra Loureiro de Ouro’, which in this first edition has gone to the A Moureira neighborhood in recognition of its history as a suburb dedicated to both fishing and salting, as well as a gastronomic influence in the practically forgotten city.
In addition, to complete this festival that looks at the estuary and remember the time when A Moureira was the economic engine of the city through fishing and shellfish, free rides have been carried out in traditional boats on the Lérez River. and the entrance to the Pontevedra estuary.
The Battle of Cunchas, the final fireworks
The icing on this cake dedicated to shell seafood would arrive with its closure on Wednesday June 30. It was the moment of the Batalla das Cunchas and in it nine cooks belonging to the dream team of the Banda Cociñas de Pontevedra would compete to elaborate with a shell shellfish in particular a skewer capable of convincing a demanding jury made up of nine of the most demanding palates in Galicia. The event was presented by the Deputy Mayor of Pontevedra, Tino Fernández, and had as master of ceremonies the chef ‘masterchef’ and Michelin Star Carlos Maldonado.
The chefs who saw each other in the Batalla das Cunchas prepared their skewers two by two and the first to cook were Marta Santiago (mussel) and Adrián Redondo (scallop), followed by Pablo Romero (clam) and Carlos Barreira (scallop). , Sergio Roma (razor) and Marta García (cockle) and, finally, Rubén González Vallejo (oyster) and Toño Mora and Andrés Muñoz (spit). After the conscientious deliberation of the jury, it was the razor, thanks to a recipe by Sergio Roma, from O Souto, called ‘The rooster that ate the razor’, the winning shellfish of the I Batalla das Cunchas.
According to Tino Fernández, deputy mayor of the city, “Pontevedra has all the ingredients to become a benchmark for national and international gastronomy. The brand ‘Pontevedra Capital Gastro’ is our recipe and we have to cook it together ”. In fact, it must be remembered that the ‘Pontevedra Capital Gastro’ tourist campaign presented at FITUR not only includes the Festa das Cunchas, but other gastronomic events such as the Avoa Fest and the Mestizaxes, cociñas de ida e volta will soon arrive. So the new proposals that Turismo de Pontevedra has prepared for us promise to be full of flavor.