Entertainment, fun and gastronomy will all come together at the 2016 Bonfires of Saint John Festival, where you can savor the excellent Coca amb tonyina – A delicious and healthy snack which is famous for being eaten in this festival; But what is it exactly? What are its origins? Why is it related to the St. John’s Festival? Time to find out!
Gastronomy is always closely related to famous celebrations, so much so that it is easy to find one or more dishes directly associated to each celebration – The ‘Castagnol’ pertaining to the Venice Carnival, pumpkin fritters for the ‘Fallas de Valencia‘ bonfire festival etc. And so it comes as no surprise that the St. John Festival also has a unique and exquisite delicacy.
The ‘Coca amb tonyina’ is a delicious sweet snack that is not only preferred by the people who attend the festival, but also those who participate in it; It is a dish that during this celebration, can be found virtually everywhere in the province, especially on the beaches of ‘Almadraba’, ‘Postiguet’, ‘Albufera’ and of course on the ‘Playa de San Juan’ where you can enjoy may activities such as kayaking, surfing etc.
It is a thin pastry pie, rectangular in shape and salty in taste, perfectly mimicking the Mediterranean shores; The secret to its taste and success resides in the ‘Atun de Zorra’, mixed with pine nuts, onions and toro (tuna belly). The pastry consists of wheat flour, white wine, eggs, aniseed, olive oil and salt, usually being spiced with sweet paprika, black pepper and oregano, accompanied by figs.
Regarding tourism, this celebration has a substantial impact on the city and its inhabitants, raising around 30 million euros and creating 10 thousand jobs, as recorded in 2015. Around half a million people will travel to the province just to enjoy some of the events of the celebration such as the parades, ‘mascletà’, the ‘plantà’ as well as many others.
What Are the Origins of The ‘Coca Amb Tonyina’?
The historical roots of this delicacy are often confused with the festival that it is related to; The official date of the first celebration was in 1928, however records show that it could be dated back to the nineteenth and eighteenth centuries to indigenous farmers. Fire has always played an important part in the festival, where furniture and other wooden objects would be burned to light up the skies on the shortest night of the season. Since 1947, the celebration has become more sophisticated with monuments being created especially for bonfires, alongside many other elements which today are essential to the festival.
Over the centuries, traditions have been consolidated, and one of the most important is undoubtedly the ‘Coca Amb Tonyina’; During ‘Plantà’, the ‘barraquers’ and ‘foguerers’, the monument artists and caretakers of the bonfires respectively, will eat this sweat snack to recover energy whilst resting providing them with vitamins, nutrients, protein etc. making for a very healthy snack.
2016 will see thousands of people from all corners of Spain travel to see this unforgettable festival, and taste the irresistible ‘Coca Amb Tonyina’ – A delightful treat that must be tasted at least once. Yet another reason to travel to the Comunitat Valenciana.