The Escargot Day. Riogordo. May. Unique Festival
This festival has been declared to be of Tourist Interest by the Provincial Council of Málaga.
Please check with the local Town Hall or Municipal Tourism Office for the festival date before planning any sightseeing activities.
Riogordo is among the seven Axarquía municipalities constituting the Route of the Oil and Mountains, and it is located in the depression of the Cueva River, sheltered by the Tajos Gomer and Doña Ana peaks to the north and by the Montes de Málaga to the south. A pleasant stroll through the town will allow visitors to explore steep streets and discover the distinctive Moorish urban physiognomy, including the two districts into which this municipality is divided: the upper district or “cerrillo”, and the lower district or “la plaza”.
For the last 40 years, in late spring (around mid-May), Riogordo has been welcoming everyone interested in tasting one of its specialities: escargots in caldillo (“broth” in Spanish), a traditional dish from this Axarquía village. As the flavour of this dish is in the broth itself, not in the bland escargot, the secret lies in the ingredients—anise herbs, dried orange peel, chilli, black pepper and anise in grain, peppermint, bay leaf, thyme branch, chilli pepper and salt. A few days before, up to 350 kilos of this land mollusc are collected for the hundreds of people who will gather in the village. However, the collection can only be carried out in a cloudy, rainy day.
A great festival revolves around the cuisine tasting including an uninterrupted parade of rondallas—music bands, choirs, and dance groups—as well as a cattle fair held on the same day as the Día del Caracol.
The high quality of Riogordo's cuisine can also be appreciated in other summer dishes such as the porra campesina or hawthorn mushrooms, although the most peculiar for this time of the year is the gazpacho with green beans, with fennel, pepper and spring onions among its ingredients. Another traditional flavour offered to the visitor is its Verdial variety olive oil, prime liquid gold that can be purchased in an oil mill placed in the town centre. Also, there is a wide range of pork products, as well as deep-rooted pastries, including oil cakes or madeleines. The Ethnographical Museum is also an important place to visit, where popular customs and habits are brought together through the Mediterranean production “trilogy”: bread, wine and oil.