From cauldrons to culinary delight: Legacy of Tabarca’s ‘El Caldero’

From cauldrons to culinary delight: Legacy of Tabarca's 'El Caldero'.

From cauldrons to culinary delight: Legacy of Tabarca's 'El Caldero'. Image: Turismo Region de Murcia.

Upon arriving on the island of Tabarca, visitors can delight in the excellent eateries offering the island’s traditional dish, “el Caldero.”

This exquisite dish, known today as “el Caldero,” began its journey in the 1970s at a small beach bar on the island called “El Mar Azul.”

“El Caldero” is a complete meal served in two courses: one featuring fish and the other rice, providing a unique gastronomic experience distinct from typical rice dishes and paellas.

Cauldron Cooking

The name “Caldero” translates to “cauldron.”

The dish is named after the vessel in which it is prepared, a deep cast iron cauldron with a handle, ideal for hanging from a tripod over a fire.

In this cauldron, both the fumet (fish broth) and the rice are cooked, a method historically used by fishermen.

There are numerous recipes for “el Caldero” as it evolved in the 18th century with the spread of rice cultivation throughout the Spanish Levant, incorporating seafood from various coastal areas.

Alicante Tourist Board

Alicante Tourist Board features a recipe for “el Caldero” on its website, emphasising the importance of fish as the key ingredient.

The recipe suggests making four cuts on each side of the fish and salting it. However, it includes potatoes, traditional “el Caldero” from the island typically does not.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, UK, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 20 years.