The Aretxabaleta tomato wins, for the second consecutive year, the prize for the best tomato in Spain at the 4th National Fair of Heirloom Tomatoes in Bezana – El Faradio

Pantano Romanesco from Italy won the international category and in the case of Cantabria the prize went to the tomato from Barcenilla

During the last weekend, Santa Cruz de Bezana once again became the tomato capital of the world, during the celebration of its IV National Old Tomato Fair.

An event that has become the most important event in northern Spain in this area, and which has brought together almost 10,000 people throughout the days of Saturday and Sunday.

The program of the fair included about thirty activities, in which the general public actively participated and filled all the places available in each of them; tastings, book presentations, workshops, conferences, tastings, seed distribution… and its traditional tomato contest, in which more than 220 varieties of tomatoes from Cantabria, the Basque Country, Aragon, Andalusia, Castile and León, Castile La Mancha, Italy, France and Portugal were presented.

The jury was made up of Aitor Buendía, National Gastronomy Prize and gastronomic journalist; Juan Redondo, from the “Huerta es Vida” ecological project; Pablo Gómez, President of the Municipal Seed Bank of Santa Cruz de Bezana; Luis del Piñal, founder of the Fair, and Alberto García Onandía, mayor of Santa Cruz de Bezana.


The Aretxabaleta tomato has again been voted “Best Tomato in Spain” for the second consecutive year, while the Barcenilla tomato has won the title of “Best Tomato in Cantabria”. The international modality was for the Italian variety of Pantano Romanesco.

Alongside the Fair, the Town Hall of Bezaniego organized the IV Tomato Skewers Route, with 11 participating catering establishments and a delicious selection of skewers in which the tomato becomes the real protagonist. This year’s “Best Pincho” award went to the puff pastry with tomato jam, served by the Vejo Habitare cafeteria in Bezana. In this case, the establishment will continue to offer its pincho until next Sunday, September 4, so that anyone who wishes can take advantage of this surprising proposal.


Besides the tomato contest, another of the most significant moments of the weekend was the delivery of the “Dama de Rojo 2022” awards, which this year were awarded to starred chef from Rioja, Lucía Gravalos López, and the farmer, biologist and president of the Cantabria Seed Network, Ana Rodríguez. This is a recognition intended for women who work in the garden world, in different fields (horticulturists, artists, cooks, writers, researchers, etc.). In the 2021 edition, the winners were chef Pepa Muñoz (1 Michelin star), food journalist Paloma Menéndez-Ondina and farmer Teresa Herrería.

Chef Xabier Gutiérrez, creative director in the kitchen of Arzak (3 Michelin stars) for three decades, starred in another of the highlights of this edition, in a fun and brilliant cooking show, in which he prepared four recipes that he gave to try among the public. He also signed his recipe book to prepare with children, “Tiburcio, the chef shark”.

For Luis del Piñal, organizer of the Fair and municipal councilor of Santa Cruz de Bezana, “the results are very positive. The figures for this Show continue to grow and exceed all our expectations. This year, where the weather has accompanied and where there are no more Covid restrictions, the participation has been greater than ever. Nearly 10,000 people passed through the fair at some point during the weekend; we distributed a ton of tomatoes in the different tastings that took place; Half a thousand servings of ‘tomato + beautiful’ were tasted at the popular Sunday lunch, and in less than an hour the 2,000 packets of old tomato seeds we distributed to the public were sold out.”

“There is no doubt that this fair is already a reference on the national scene and has become a very important dynamic activity for the commerce and hospitality of our municipality, for which we will continue to work. It is a firm commitment to consumption and the local economy, to producers and to the Bezana tomato,” the mayor stressed.

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