Friday, December 17, 2010

10 Biggest Food Fights in the World

Sometimes it seems like the world’s one big Animal House, with tens of thousands of Bluto’s just itching to pop. Wasteful? Possibly. Mean-spirited? Not in the least! These 10 famous festival food fights are all about respecting tradition and blowing off steam… so let he who is without stain throw the first rotten tomato!

The Battle of the Oranges, Ivrea, Italy
The Battle of the Oranges (Battaglia delle Arance), which takes place annually in the Italian city of Ivrea, is certainly the largest and quite possibly the oldest organized food fight in Italy. The event’s origins go back to the 12th century and commemorate the victory of Ivrea’s townspeople over an oppressive tyrant.

La Merengada, Vilanova i La Geltrú,Catalonia
Also known as the Batalla de Caramelos (Candy Fight), this sweet celebration begins each year on Fat Thursday… of course. Residents and guests in this small Catalonian town first enjoy a traditional Lenten meal of cod fish with red pepper sauce and salad; then work off the calories by going outside and throwing their meringue dessert at anything that moves. Once they run out of meringue, out comes the candy, which (if you’re under 12) is just dandy. Hey, that’s one VERY happy kid there!

La Tomatina en Reno, Reno, NV, USA

Who loves a tomato fight? Everyone loves a tomato fight! They must – or else we wouldn’t have not one, not two, but THREE massive ‘mato massacres making our Top 10 Food Fights list. We’ll lead off with La Tomatina en Reno, by far the sloppiest event in the “Biggest Little City in the World”. Inspired by the original Tomatina food fight in Buñol, Spain, Reno’s version matches 5,000 participants with 100,000 pounds of tomatoes – and everyone’s a winner!

La Raima Grape Throwing Festival, Pobla del Duc, Spain

Welcome to Spain, we hope you’ve brought a change of clothing! This advisory is especially important if you’re considering a visit to the town of Pobla del Duc, less then an hour from Valencia, around the last Friday in August. Should you find yourself there, note the steady procession of trucks loaded with grapes – they’re not bound for any warehouse or processing plant. Between 40 and 90 tons of locally grown Garnacha Tintorera grapes are off-loaded in the town square and as for what happens next… remember the classic grape-throwing scene from I Love Lucy? Multiply it by about a thousand.

World Custard Pie Championship, Coxheath, UK

Fans of the Marx Brothers and Blazing Saddles can live out their pie in the sky fantasies by attending the World Custard Pie Championship in Coxheath, UK. No, this is not a bake-off, nor is it an athletic competition judged by distance and accuracy. Imagine a huge, open-air paintball game using giant, edible paintballs… and to those who object, say let ‘em eat cake!

La Tomatina, Sutamarchan, Colombia

When in Sutamarchan, do as the Sutamarchanians do… and that’s put on Colombia’s biggest, messiest and tomatoiest food fight EVAR. The event, held on June 14 this year, featured hundreds of locals and tourists who gathered on an old football (soccer) field and proceeded to launch 15 tons of tomatoes into the sky. Of course, what goes up must come down. Like La Tomatina en Reno, La Tomatina in Sutamarchan was inspired by the famous Tomatina of Buñol, Spain. The Colombian version adds a few variations, however, such as adding a tomato-eating contest and a competition for the largest tomato – one assumes the former follows the latter.

Els Enfarinats, Ibi, Spain

Food fight aficionados should be sure not to miss the annual Els Enfarinats festival in Ibi,Alicante, Spain, and they should be especially sure to arrive BEFORE the main event and not after… if you thought rotten tomatoes smelled bad, just imagine the aftermath of a huge flour & egg battle. The place must reek for weeks, and that’s no yolk.

Great Fruitcake Toss, Manitou Springs, CO, USA

“At last, the answer to that age-old question: How do I get rid of this *$&*@#! fruitcake? ”While re-gifting fruitcake is an age-old tradition, sooner or later you’re gonna get that petrified pastry back. At that point, there’s nothing left to do but dump it in the trunk and head on out to Manitou Springs. Once there, fruitcake flingers can opt for disposal via catapult, giant slingshot, or spud gun. Hiking in the area is not recommended – between the flying fruitcakes and some seriously annoyed bears, taking a trek through the woods would be nuttier than a… you know.

Batalla del Vino (Wine Throwing Fight), Haro, La Rioja, Spain

What began as a 13th century land dispute has evolved into the annual Batalla del Vino (Wine Throwing Fight), because who in their right mind would dispute some land for 700-odd years unless they were properly plastered on the local plonk? Leave it the fun-loving residents of Haro in La Rioja, Spain, to come up with this “full-bodied” festival that, by its end, sees everyone involved being involuntarily inducted into the Purple Gang.

La Tomatina, Buñol, Spain

When it comes to food fights, all must bow down to the grand-daddy of them all, La Tomatina in Buñol, Spain. Each year on xx, the town is swamped with a tsunami of tomatoes as the air rapidly turns rosy red in hue and redolent with the heady scent of sauce. As the poster child for massive outdoor food fights, La Tomatina is widely reported on by world media and has become as well-known as the Running Of The Bulls in Pamplona – also Spanish, but much less tasty.