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St. James Day + Easy Tarta De Santiago Recipe

Discussion in 'What to see and do in Santiago de Compostela' started by Laurie Ferris, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. Laurie Ferris

    Laurie Ferris Laurie Ferris

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    Today is July 25th, St. James Day, and that means it’s time for the largest festival in Santiago de Compostela. Below is an overview from CaminoWays of how the festival is celebrated in Santiago. I’ve also included an easy recipe for Galicia’s favorite dessert, Tarta de Santiago, a delicious cake made with almond flour.

    St. James Festival in Santiago de Compostela

    The last two weeks in July, the city of Santiago de Compostela celebrates its biggest festival of the year: St James Festival or the Apostle Festival (Festas do Apóstolo). St James is the patron saint of Santiago de Compostela but also Galicia; which means St James Day is also Galicia Day and a holiday in the region.

    Many pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago aim to reach Santiago de Compostela for 25th July, St James Day. When St James Day falls on a Sunday, it will be considered a ‘holy’ or ‘xacobeo’ year. If you are planning your Camino de Santiago in July and arriving in the city after 15th July, you should definitely stay in Santiago for a few days to enjoy this unique festival. As the capital of Galicia, Santiago de Compostela attracts not only pilgrims but also many Galicians on those dates.

    St James Festival celebrations in Santiago combine both religious and traditional elements with contemporary music, theatre, entertainment and a wide range of cultural events filling the city’s old town and its main squares. From free concerts by important artists to traditional music and dances, visiting Santiago de Compostela in July will reveal a very unique and special side of the city; as well as a close insight into Galician culture.

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    One of the most iconic events is the firework display on St James Day eve. On 24th July at midnight, locals and visitors gather at the Praza do Obradoiro to enjoy the traditional fireworks and display projected on the facade of Santiago Cathedral.

    On July 25th, St James Day, Santiago Cathedral hosts its High Mass, usually attended by the king or a member of the Spanish Royal family and one of the special dates when you can see the ‘botafumeiro’ in use. On St James Day each year, many Galicians also travel to Santiago to celebrate Galician language and culture.

    The St James festival in Santiago de Compostela is officially closed on 31st July with fireworks.

    Source: CaminoWays.com St James festival in Santiago de Compostela

    All over America, Camino pilgrims celebrate St. James Day in different ways. In the Bay Area, there’s an annual celebration with a potluck lunch. This year it was held on Saturday, July 23rd in Belmont, California.

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    St. James Day Festival with NorCal APOC Chapter members. Photo courtesy of Dick Duker.

    I wasn’t at this event, but I attended last year and was amazed at the attendees culinary talents and passion for Spanish food. Pilgrims know how to potluck! Just take a look of the potluck spread at a NorCal APOC chapter event earlier this year. (Video is halfway down page.)


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    The star of the dessert table is always the Tarta de Santiago (Galician) or Torta de Santiago (Spain). Because it’s made with almond flour it’s gluten free! Here’s a brief history of the desert and somewhat complicated recipe from La Tienda. If you don’t have time to grind marcona almonds and separate egg yolks, here’s an easier version.

    Easy Tarta de Santiago Recipe:
    Finely ground almonds or almond meal is available at most supermarkets; look for Bob’s Red Mill or other brands.

    Butter (for the pan)
    6 eggs
    1¼ cups granulated sugar
    Grated rind of 1 lemon
    Grated rind of 1 orange
    ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
    ½ pound (about 2¼ cups) blanched almond meal (also called almond flour)
    Confectioners’ sugar (for sprinkling)

    1.
    Set the oven at 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper, and butter the paper.

    2. In an electric mixer, beat the eggs and granulated sugar on high speed for 5 minutes or until thickened and pale yellow. Beat in the lemon and orange rind and almond extract. With the mixer set on its lowest speed, beat in the almond meal and mix to blend. Pour the batter into the pan.

    3. Bake the cake for 35 minutes or until it is golden, a little darker around the edge, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool in the pan; unlatch the sides and lift off the ring. Use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cake to a platter.

    4. Sprinkle the top with confectioners’ sugar. Adapted from “The Food of Spain”

    Recipe source: http://archive.boston.com/lifestyle.../23/recipe_for_tarta_de_santiago_almond_cake/

    Pilgrims, How do you celebrate St. James Day?
    Leave a comment here, or at the bottom of the post.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
    UnkleHammy, Wily and raymond john like this.
  2. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Laurie - First, thanks for the information on St. James Day. It's a festival that I wasn't aware of. But, what a great time to be in Santiago! Second, what a delicious looking recipe for the Tarta de Santiago. Can't wait to make it.

    To celebrate, unknowingly, St. James Day, I headed out of the country on my next trip/pilgrimage. This time, along with my 10 year old grandson, we head this morning to Mexico City. With Camino backpack, we hit the backroads of Central Mexico to explore those "roads less traveled." As in Spain, I look forward to quaint villages, warm and welcoming people, and excellent food. This will also be my grandson's first trip out of the country. I hope to sew the seeds of travel and wanderlust that captured me many years ago.
     
    raymond john likes this.
  3. raymond john

    raymond john Well-Known Member

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    Wily
    I can't think of a better way to celebrate St James feast day by taking your grandson on Pilgrimage. Don't be surprised that It will be an experience in more ways than you ever expected, and a forerunner to returning and walking the camino with your grandson?. Remember out of the mouths of children comes the most unexpected words of wisdom.

    Carpe Diem & Buen Camino

    Raymond John
     
  4. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    May you and your grandson have a great trip !
     
  5. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Family was coming over for dinner tonight, so I made the Tarta de Santiago for dessert. What a deliciously simple cake to make and a real crowd pleaser. Just follow the recipe given above by Laurie. Even after a large meal, this tarta is so light that you'll definitely have room for a piece (or two). Do use a springform pan since a standard 9" cake pan is not deep enough!
     
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