Monday, June 22, 2009

Celebrating Gibraltar's dishes... Summer beauties and various delectations

As Gibraltar moves inexorably into its Summer season, I note with sad regret that I missed the Calentita Evening at Casemates last week... which I gather went down a treat... as it would do!

The Calentita is generally regarded as Gibraltar's national dish.

The Gibraltar Heritage page about the Calentita talks of the diverse origins of the population of Gibraltar and quite rightly states that this is "illustrated in the local traditional dishes".

When many of our visitors first arrive in Gibraltar they assume that the traditional Gibraltarian meals are much the same as anything that can be found along the south coast of Spain – after all we are only a short distance away. However, a closer look at our traditional recipes soon illustrates that this is just not so.

Often said to be Gibraltar’s National Dish, the Calentita's popularity is not only the exclusive domain in homes across Gibraltar, it is often also on offer at many official Government receptions for visitors.

This dish originates in Genoa and Liguria in Italy, areas from where many Gibraltar family origins can be traced. It is a kind of thick pancake, easily made from chickpea flour, mixed with oil and water and baked in a hot oven. In Italy (and other parts of the world including South America) it is called Faina or Farinata and there is a French equivalent in Nice.

The name Calentita derives from the Spanish word for warm, as it is normally served straight out of the oven. In the past it was sold in the streets - the last Calentita vendor, Paloma, is still remembered locally (including yours truly) - although it was most commonly prepared at home by those who owned their own ovens.

Since I missed the one in Gibraltar last week, I'm planning our own Calentita evening for family and friends! You might like to try it out for yourself... here's the Calentita recipe... it really is delicious! smile

Botanic Gardens prepares for Miss Gibraltar Pageant

In an email press release I received from the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens, more commonly known as the Alameda Gardens, they're looking ahead to the next item on the Gibraltar Special Events Calendar... and the organising of the Miss Gibraltar Pageant which takes place at the Botanic Gardens' Alameda Open Air Theatre next Saturday.

At a time when Gibraltarian beauty is celebrated, they are reminding us of the natural beauty of the venue in the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens, which they report has been "transformed into an enchanted forest" by the set designed by Urban Dance's Illumina, written and choreographed for the Theatre, so "the natural beauty of summer flowers must be highlighted".

The Theatre pond itself boasts the best display of water lilies for many years.

Also flowering at the moment in the Alameda is the stunning Australian Flame Tree, which is in bloom for only the second time in its life, as it only burst into flaming colour every five years.

In flower too are white and pink Oleander, turquoise-blue Jacaranda, sparkling pink bottle brushes and Albizzia and pale blue Cape Chestnut.

Most of these flowering trees adorn the Upper Walk of the Gardens and the little secluded area known as The Dell. They stand out beautifully against the greens of the evergreen trees, contrasting with the dryness of the summer on the ground.

While Gibraltar enjoys the Miss Gibraltar Pageant next week, the Botanic Gardens ask us not to forget the natural colours and beauty than can be found, all year round, in Gibraltar's beautiful Botanic Gardens.

More photographs of most of these trees and other flowers can be found on the Gibraltar Botanic Garden website.

Update - Sunday 28th June 2009

You can see the result of the Miss Gibraltar pageant, including more images and links here


Danangib said...

Sorry you missed Calentita. I took lots of pictures there on Friday and I will post them soon on my blog as a "present" for you (I published 2 posts about Calentita already, but on my Romanian blog, to give to my Romanians a lesson about how to have fun at a street party,lol.)

Cybernest said...

heh heh That's very sweet of you Danan... I look forward to seeing your pics... thanks! :)

Your Romanian compatriots should hopefully enjoy trying out our Calentita.. it is yummmy eh?

I also hope you liked the pics of the lovely trees and shrubs in bloom in the Botanic Gardens too... I know you love the Alameda! :)

Anyhow... thanks for your comment and for passing by here today! :)

Danangib said...

Calentita is yummy and I like to put on my Romanian blog all kind of food pictures to make them curious. They keep telling me they get hungry after my food posts, hi,hi,hi....I'm sure they run in the kitchen to eat a stew or some just fried and very spicy meat balls (now, I'm hungry,lol). I liked your post about the Botanic Gardens, nice to share it, I really love that Garden. I'll try to publish tomorrow the post about Calentita (now, I've just come back from Tubalitas beach).