Torremolinos hosts traditional tastiest sardine contest

More than 20 local chefs competed for the title of Best Espetero of the Costa del Sol during the event in La Carihuela last weekend

TONY BRYANT TORREMOLINOS.

More than 20 chefs from the province of Malaga competed for the title of Best Espetero on the Costa del Sol during the eighth edition of the sardine (espeto) contest, which was held in La Carihuela, Torremolinos, last weekend.

Organised by the town hall and the Torremolinos entrepreneurs' association (CET), and with the Malaga provincial authority through the promotional brand, Sabor a Málaga, as the main sponsor, the popular competition aims to find the tastiest sardine on the Costa del Sol. The rules state that each chef must cook five natural cane skewers of between seven and eight sardines, which were evaluated by a jury made up of people linked to the local hospitality and gastronomy sectors.

As well as being a local specialty, the perfect cooking of the sardine is also considered an art in the province of Malaga.

The chefs participated in the cooking of the skewered sardines over charcoal grills on the beach, and the aromas alone attracted hundreds of spectators.

The event, which had an emphasis on sustainability, recycling and reducing waste, began at 7.30pm, when visitors and locals were invited to taste the grilled sardines, along with other local specialties, such as squid and sea bream.

The first prize of 1,000 euros and the title of the 'best sardine cook on the coast' was taken by Sergio Perea Pérez, the chef of chiringuito El Canarias (Torremolinos).

The second prize of 500 euros and a trophy went to David Agua Cano from the New Antonio de la Carihuela; while 300 euros and the third-place trophy was awarded to Jimmy Ayala Maldonado, the cook at chiringuito La Peña Málaga.

As a new gesture at the event, the CET introduced the Espeto de Honor, a pin presented to people who have supported and promoted the initiative since its inception: this year's recognitions were presented to the town's mayor, Margarita del Cid, and the director of Sabor a Málaga, Leonor García-Agua.

President of the CET, Adolfo Trigueros, said, "Our skewers contest has been bigger and better than ever, which is why it has become a must-attend event on the Costa del Sol."

The trophy ceremony was followed by a concert by Malaga band Dry Martina, who entertained with their unique mix of swing-infused electronic pop music.