There are many harvesting festivals here in Spain, one of them is the annual orange festival in Coín. This year’s edition takes place this Sunday on May 15th.
Almost every rural area in Spain have different harvesting festivals. It can be a wine grape harvest, an asparagus harvest or when the chestnuts are ready to be picked. Common to all is that they are genuinely local festivities and no tourist traps. The fact is that in some of them there is not a single tourist in sight. The Orange Festival in Coin is a typical such a party. It is now being celebrated in May to mark the end of orange harvest. The oranges are harvested in these parts of Spain from October to May since the trees gives two crops a year here in southern Spain.
Coin is in “Valle del Azahar”, a side valley of Valle del Guadalhorce. Azahar is the Arabic name for the flowers, and in this case the name refers to the delicious aroma that all the flowers on citrus trees emit when they bloom. The valley is brimming with orange, lemon and tangerine trees that really thrive in the fertile soil.
The festivities are taking place in the center of Coín in and around the square “La plaza Bermúdez de la Rubia.” Getting to Coin is easy. There are good roads from Malaga, Fuengirola and Marbella. By car it takes about 30 minutes from each of these cities, but there are also bus connections with all cities around.
There are going to be sales stalls from around 50 exhibitors, all local producers. They are selling goat cheese, bread, candy, hot dogs, crafts and ceramics which is of course a specialty in the area. Some of the activities, exhibition and an artist competition starts early in the morning and already at 11 am the city is full of people.
Most activities begin at 11.30 am with the local restaurants are cooking and every recipe has orange as the main ingredient. There will be workshops for all ages where you can develop you skills and make desserts for the competition which will be held later.
At 2 pm it is time for various tastings like fresh orange salad with cod (also called malagueña) and the popular soup “Sopa Hervia.” This tasty soup is the dish that the land workers used to eat in the old days and it is made of the best that the garden has to offer. The basic ingredients are peppers, tomatoes, garlic, day-old bread and a dash of olive oil (extra virgin).
During the festival you can also drink fresh orange juice and try any of the desserts that have been made for the big dessert contest. The city’s confectioners are obviously involved in the competition, but everyone can take part, you just have to make a dessert in which the main ingredient is orange.