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Extractor hood installed above the 'espeto' boat. Javier Martín
Popular beach bar reopens following complaint from local resident about smoke and smell from grilled sardines
Environment

Popular beach bar reopens following complaint from local resident about smoke and smell from grilled sardines

The owner of La Dorada de Plata in Almuñécar, on the Costa Tropical, has invested 36,000 euros in an extractor hood over his traditional 'espeto' boat to try and avoid future problems

Pilar García-Trevijano

Almuñécar

Friday, 22 March 2024, 13:48

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La Dorada de Plata beach bar in Almuñécar on Granada's Costa Tropical has reopened four months after it was forced to close following a complaint from a local resident about the smoke coming from its traditional 'espeto' boat, used to grill sardines on an open fire.

La Dorada de Plata opened in 1966 and is famous for its 'espetos' (sardine skewers grilled over an open fire, typically in a dugout fishing boat). Now the bar has installed a pergola equipped with an extractor hood which Mingorance describes as "unique" on the Spanish coast, covering the three metres of boat so that normal service can resume.

A complaint about the smoke from the espetos in October 2023 led Almuñécar town hall to force the chiringuito owner to stop grilling the sardines and to require him to install an extractor hood. It is unusual for this type of cooking method which is traditional on beaches along the Andalusian coast.

Fireproof material

In 2019 the town hall sent notices to several chiringuitos because of smoke and odours coming from the outdoor fires. The bars in questions used small fires and most of them were able to install a smoke vent quite easily.

However, Francisco Mingorance, owner of La Dorada de Plata, did not want to lose this culinary art or his traditional espeto boat. The chiringuiteros on Granada's Costa Tropical have always fought for the dish not to be identified exclusively with Malaga province and Mingorance was clear that he was not going to give up his boat easily.

The work has cost around 36,000 euros and Mingorance explained that the structure is made of pine wood, similar to that used by Malaga's 'espeteros' (the people who grill the sardines) to provide shelter from the sun. La Dorada de Plata's pergola is covered with fireproof material.

Employment for 18 local families

Mingorance stressed that as it is outdoors the hood will not completely reduce smoke emissions, but he is confident that it will be enough to continue the business which employs 18 local families.

La Dorada de Plata reopened during a spell of bad weather with storms putting people going to the beach and eating in chiringuitos. However, with Easter signalling the start of the high season and the summer the owners are hoping to get back on track after the investment in building work and the months of closure.

"The embers are a fundamental part of our menu and we don't want to lose the tradition in Almuñécar. We didn't want to give up the espeto", Mingorance concluded.

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