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Cadiz: Pestiñada, Erizada, Ostionada and Mejillonada

Erizo de mar

As soon as the Christmas holidays end, you can start to hear the sounds of guitars, flamenco box drums and mandolins on the streets of Cadiz. During the last two weeks of January, the city begins to get ready for its most iconic festival, with several events where flavours and sounds come together. These events are the Pestiñada, Erizada, Ostionada and Mejillonada.

These four gastronomic events are part of the carnival celebrations. Sometimes they are organised consecutively, and sometimes they overlap. A tasty excuse to make time go faster until the carnival starts. 

The Pestiñada comes first. As its name suggests, in this festival the people of Cadiz gather in the evening at Plaza de San Francisco, in the heart of the city, to enjoy free "pestiños", one of the most popular Andalusian sweets, washed down with a glass of anisette.

The Erizada takes place following day. The famous La Viña neighbourhood becomes as a meeting point for anyone who wants to enjoy the intense flavour of sea urchins. These molluscs, freshly collected by local fishermen, turn out to be as exquisite as caviar, which is why so many people usually flock to this event.

Seafood lovers can continue to treat their palates thanks to the Ostionada, in Plaza de San Antonio, and the Mejillonada, in Peña Flamenca La Perla de Cádiz, where oysters and mussels are tasted respectively. Both events take place on the same day.

Entertainment is provided at all these tasting events by the singing of various carnival groups. Choirs, chirigotas and comparsas create a friendly atmosphere singing the first coplillas and pasodobles of the year, or remembering those of previous years. A perfect prelude to the long-awaited performances that will take place at the Gran Falla Theatre.

Cadiz: Pestiñada, Erizada, Ostionada and Mejillonada