A visit to the Feria of Jerez
The local and traditional flavour is palpable, and there are three fundamental elements which shine out among all the others wherever we look; horses, Sherry and flamenco. The congenial company of cold glasses of Sherry is the best compliment to this event.
La Feria del Caballo - the horse fair
Just behind the fairgoers themselves, horses are the main protagonists of the Feria del Caballo and as soon as we arrive at the fair ground, we see the classic spectacle of people on horseback.
The horse fair is one of the most distinctive features of the event and runs concurrently with the Feria, and what’s more, on Friday we can enjoy the Riders’ Parade which is a very special event. Another event eagerly awaited by fairgoers is the exhibition of carriages on Saturday.
The most traditional drink at the Feria del Caballo is undoubtedly Sherry. The climate is so hot that we need to feel the tingle of a well-chilled glass in our hand. There is such a wide variety of Sherry wines that every possible palate is well catered for.
Be it Manzanilla, Fino, Amontillado or Palo Cortado, the glass in your hand will always be filled with just the right wine. Enjoying it in one of the fair’s casetas (tented stands) surrounded by friends is a real “Sherrylover” moment.
Its fruity or sweet nuances, sometimes with a gentle hint of acidity always remind you of the Feria of Jerez. Even before setting foot in a caseta, your hands will remind you that they need that tingle of a chilled glass of Sherry.
If there is one iconic image however, which we always seek out time after time, it is flamenco. The flounces of the women’s flamenco dresses, either as they walk to the Feria or drive there in a horse-drawn carriage, are a spectacle to behold.
These dresses, which are so traditional here, manage to adapt to changing fashions without losing any of their essences, be they yellow, red, blue, black or green. The grace with which the women of Jerez wear their dresses creates in their every layer another wonderful memory of the Feria of Jerez.
The lighting of the Feria is probably one of the features which most attracts the attention of visitors. The streets are adorned with thousands of coloured bulbs which tint the light to any colour or whim.
Entering through the grand entrance, which changes every year, is necessary for anyone wishing to gain access to the casetas. The experience of seeing it illuminated for the first time is unforgettable.
A feeling of belonging
The contagious feeling of goosebumps which comes over us as we enter the fairground is even stronger in the casetas. They are a place of pilgrimage during the Feria of Jerez, as it is here we get together with our friends every season, to laugh, eat, dance and enjoy a good Sherry, with everyone gathered together around a barrel.
And it is not just the company
The food which accompanies the Feria is also part of its allure, tasting all the different flavours of the meals which are served in the casetas is an extremely convivial experience. The normal gastronomy which goes with the event is necessarily simpler, however, with the basics which never fail: ham and cheese.
Croquettes, fried fish, tortillas or rolls filled with pork tenderloin are the dishes most often encountered in the streets of the fairground, all day long. Naturally, they are always accompanied by a good glass of Sherry.
Various stews are also often available, especially when, as the days go by, one’s pocket begins to resent such enjoyment.
A magical experience
Year after year this is the greatest moment for the city of Jerez and it brings together people from all over the world for a celebration. Sherry, flamenco, casetas, delicious food and the horses are just some of the elements which make this week the favourite of all the people of Jerez.