The Biscayan town of Balmaseda celebrates its most popular festival, the day of Saint Severino, the Patron Saint of the city, in October. This is a very lively festival, with a wide selection of programmed activities, but the most traditional and interesting event of the festival is the Putxeras World Championship, which has been held here every year since 1970.
The competition recalls the traditional cuisine of the area. Its roots lie in the 19th Century, when the engine drivers of the Bilbao-La Robla (León) railway line cooked a delicious stew over the coal fires of their engines, using beans, fatty salt pork, chorizo and black pudding. They used a “putxera”, a kind of pressure cooker that had coal underneath, which slowly cooked the food, giving it a succulent taste. Today, more than a hundred participants prepare their “putxera” in the Plaza de San Severino, which of course has to be made in the old railway pressure cooker.
Also, for those in search of a fiesta, there is a very varied and popular festive programme with street processions, fanfares, children’s games, cultural activities, rural sports, folklore dancing, concerts, open air music, pelota games, etc.
Image: Deia. ELIXANE CASTRESANA