A little green thistle emerges onto the markets of Valencia this time of year, painful to eat if not prepared correctly, but like all good things if you’re willing to navigate around potential distress there’s a due reward that can only come from fresh produce. The artichoke has not always been without its own strange nuances, Marilyn Monroe was crowned the first artichoke queen of California in 1949 and the patriarchal dominance of the 16th Century dictated that women should not consume artichokes due to its supposed aphrodisiac powers.

500 years later, December in Spain signals the beginning of artichoke season and like the pagans of old a celebration takes forth in Benicarló this weekend. Located within the Valencian Community, just North of Valencia itself, the Fiesta de la Alcachofa begins with restaurants & bars conjuring up various ways for the artichoke to surprise you as never before, using its own locally grown artichokes to provide a unique tasting experience. One thing not to miss will be the ritualistic barbecuing of around 2000kg of Artichokes in the ‘Torrá’ barbecue which gives you the simplest and often the best way to enjoy the charming green vegetable. Accompanying the artichokes will be a variety of musical performances from the Corda Quartet Classical Orchestra of Benicarló, Essència Trio, DJ’s and many more.

The artichoke festival will take place in the centre of Benicarlo with a programme of events to be found here –

With map and parking and parking information here –


Report by Sebastian Garraway

Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’

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