Cádiz bluefin tuna: the Black Paw of the sea
We are heading to Barbate as bluefin tuna, and not precisely to spawn in the Mediterranean, but with the aim of savoring the thousand and one ways of eating this fish in the El Campero restaurant, while we delight in the new album of the gaditano musician Nono García, Trip to La Breña.
The background album plays while we arrive in Barbate. The songs evoke the familiar and refreshing landscape that is right next to Meca pipes. It is the natural park of La Breña where there is a prehistoric and giant dune that transforms into a mountain of pine trees and ends at the sea. The pinewood of La Breña slows the mobile dunes, contains them, and the aroma of pine floods the area and sneaks into the car, mixing with the aroma of rosemary and lavender. This aromatic wrap extends to the edge of the cliff.
At this point of the year, tunas are already entering the Strait. They are huge bugs that gain weight for months in the deep depths to reach 800 kilos. “They are silver submarines, authentic sea monsters,” explains Nono, who has looked at them from the front since childhood. "The Japanese have been coming to Barbate all their lives for tunas and they are called naguro." It is the delicious bluefin tuna. Its meat is very expensive: tuna from almadraba or 'emperor sushi' is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
It is a delicate delicacy that has joined two seemingly disparate lands and yet, as Nono tells us, tokyo-barbateñas couples are a classic. "Here astronomical fees have been paid for one of these loins," says the Barbarian musician, a personal friend of the last two families with permits to continue fishing in Almadraba (owners in turn of the last two great traps of the Cadiz coast) Both are in Barbate: the mecca of bluefin tuna.
Tuna fishing in the almadraba © Provincial Tourism Board Diputación de Cádiz
The silver bulls reach the Cadiz coast during May and June and they come from the cold waters of Norway to spawn the warm Mediterranean. When they arrive they are very fat, very tight in their meats and, as they pass through the Strait, the fishermen wait for them to catch them in the labyrinth of the almadraba. The show is hard but it is a sustainable fishing that still tends to disappear.
If you dare to come these days, we recommend you stay at the Hotel V de Vejer, A true oasis of peace in one of the most authentic and beautiful white villages in the area. Do not leave without trying any of their Ayurvedic massages.
To eat, and although Vejer has numerous options, have lunch at the El Campero restaurant. His chef, the renowned José Melero, has been portraying tuna in dozens of forms for decades - if you are a virgin in this bluefin tuna try tuna monograph To start and learn about the different ways to prepare it: pickled, mormo, contramormo, tarantelo, the egg in oil, the mojama in oil, the smoked tuna, the morrillo, the belly, tuna of daughters... You can also try it in a more informal way, in the Taberna de El Campero in Zahara de los Atunes.
Take the opportunity to explore the natural park of La Breña and the Marismas de Barbate on horseback or on foot on one of its trails. The one we like the most is the one that takes you to the Tagus Tower and culminates in a beautiful panorama. This is one of the watchtowers that in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries warned about pirate ships and witnessed the Battle of Trafalgar.
In the walkman it is mandatory to carry the disc of Nono García. Each song on this album manages to bring us a bit of all this essence, the musician confesses. "The songs are capsules that contain all these elements and that work as" Andalusian mantras "perfect to evoke this magical place when we are in the middle of the urban jungle, for example. And, when the waves of everyday life drown you, come to spawn this holy land.
Cádiz is the land of bluefin tuna © Provincial Tourism Board Diputación de Cádiz