I've wanted to go to this seafood festival for many years now, since about 2012 when I first read about it and was planning some food holidays. Unfortunately it never happened, mainly because I like travelling in September and so going in early October can be difficult. But finally, the stars aligned and I managed to get there in 2019.
After flying into Santiago de Compostela and driving down to the lovely seafood town of O Grove, I realised that tourists really don't go there. There was us 2 tourists, and we met one Dutch journalist who was passing through for work. Every single other person was Spanish.
The seafood market in O Grove is small, but has lots of high quality ingredients at reasonable prices. I only had a short lunch to cook some razor clams, percebes and scallops. I would have liked to stay longer and take advantage, but maybe that's for another time.
The town is obsessed by seafood with homages to the crustacean located around the place.
How was the fiesta then? Average unfortunately. Despite all the great local ingredients, only a select few are presented at the fiesta and only cooked in specific ways. There's some impromptu groups of people singing and dancing, and at night there was some reggaeton singers for the underage smokers and drinks (and the older ones at the back) for more entertainment.
Don't get me wrong, the seafood isn't bad, on the contrary it is decent quality, but there was nothing special there that I haven't seen before. The local mussels are large and delicious and the arroz (rice) and fideos (noodles) were full of flavour. Also the bread was excellent, but it's not great if that's a highlight in a seafood place. Razor clams were ok, clams and mussels small but flavoursome (oysters better). The scallops were tiny little things grilled and shrivelled. Considering the quality and breadth of the market, couldn't they have expanded the dishes a bit more? There was also a lobster tank and another crustacean I've never seen before (can't remember the name) but they weren't being served. The tease.
There's also commerative earthern ware and cups to take home for the memories.
I'm glad I've tried it, but I won't be back for the fiesta. Maybe just Galicia again for the seafood markets to enjoy.