The search for the best sardines on the Costa del Sol

Freshly caught sardines being roasted over charcoal.
Freshly caught sardines being roasted over charcoal. / SUR
  • The Ruta del Espeto is a competition to find the best espeto (skewered sardines) in Malaga with prizes for the establishment with the most votes

The summer is the season for one of Malaga's most famous gastronomic delights, the sardine espeto. The espeto is the way fishermen used to grab a quick snack when they arrived back on shore and is believed to be a method of cooking sardines that dates back to Phoenician times. Five or six sardines are threaded onto a cane and roasted over hot coals on the beach, the only addition is a little olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt.

The Ruta del Espeto, organised by SUR's Málaga en la Mesa, is a chance to sample the local sardines cooked in this way and started on Friday 31 July, ending on Sunday 16 August. During this time, participating restaurants will offer their espetos (made up of a minimum of 5 sardines) accompanied by a drink, for a price of between 4 and 7 euros, and customers will be able to rate them with marks of 0 to 10 points through the competition website. To register you must be over 18 years old and can only cast one vote per establishment in the competition. Participants will be entered into a draw to win a voucher worth 50 euros which can be spent in any of the designated restaurants.

Votes will determine three of the five finalists and a panel of judges will choose the other two.

The judges, made up of professionals from the field of gastronomy, will be in charge of evaluating the best roasted sardines, taking into account certain criteria such as the quality of the raw material, the cooking method, presentation and taste.

This final tasting will be done live, at a time and place indicated by the organisers.

Participating establishments have the chance to win an advertising campaign worth 3,000 euros in SUR's gastronomy supplement, Málaga en la Mesa and the winner chosen by the public will receive advertising worth 1,000 euros.