Sweets, bandits, and traditions: a weekend of fairs
The Agramunt Nougat Fair and the Alcovers Fira de Bandolers both saw excellent results for attendance and sales
Catalonia is a place where the old and the new meet, where fostering innovation doesn’t exclude preserving past traditions. And the month of October presents various opportunities to appreciate Catalan heritage, with two very unique ones in the very middle: the Agramunt Nougat Fair and the Alcovers Fira de Bandolers.
Novelties in nougats
The Agramunt Nougat Fair ended this its three-day event this week with one of its most successful editions in recent years, thanks to a particularly high amount of sales and attendance. According to town mayor Bernat Solé, the town saw a “massive” influx to the parking areas designated for the fair, while nougat producers said the event “was full,” so much so that many of their products ran out.
Held in Agramunt, a town in western Catalonia near Lleida, this was the 30th edition of the event which both focuses on the traditional sweet, and also brings to the table all that’s new in the field. This year saw the presentation of a lemon mousse nougat by Torrons Roig, a matcha tea and seaweed nougat by Torrons Vicens and renowned chef Albert Adrià.
Nougat, a confection made from sugar or honey, nuts, whipped egg whites, gets its name from the Occitan word – a language not too dissimilar to Catalan – ‘pan nogat,’ roughly translated as ‘nut bread.’ The Agramunt Nougat Fair closed its doors with the minister for Agriculture Teresa Jordà who awarded the 18th Torronaire d’Honor award.
Bandits and bandolers
The Alcovers Fira de Bandolers fair also saw large attendance this weekend during its four days. The mayor of Alcovers, Robert Figueres, estimated that around 25,000 and 30,000 people passed through the event. This, despite the rain, which did not stop an event with more than 50 acts and a market with over 130 stands from around Catalonia.
Figueres also spoke positively about the new addition to this year’s event, the Great Brigand Tavern, saying it was “very full of people enjoying the gastronomy, the theater, the music and the value added by exhibitors added right from the start.”
Found in the southern Catalan town of Alcovers, near Sitges, the 16th edition of the event also presented the ‘Brigand’ theater performance for the little ones. The town also revisits the brigand feud between the Morells and Voltors, affecting villagers until the 17th century.
Bandoler in Catalan translates as brigand in English, similar to bandit – a robber or outlaw who lives in isolation and belongs to a gang. And, just like in many other cultures, the figure of a bandoler has been romanticized in Catalonia as a figure of adventure and storytelling.