The Festa del Vi Payés is a tribute to Bacchus, the god of wine. But not only is good wine drunk on this day; sobrasadas and butifarras from the recent pig slaughter are grilled outdoors over wood fires to accompany these exquisite wines. December, usually on the 2nd saturday.
On the initiative of the small-scale wine producers of this village, the Festa del Vi Payés (Country Wine Festival) emerged as an attraction, since the sale of bottled wine had considerably reduced the demand for the typical local wines. Over the years, this festival has become a social event which brings together more than five thousand people, in a village with a population numbering less than 400.
Of the four brands of wines registered in Ibiza, three are from Sant Mateu, two of them with the Denominació d’Origen Ibiza (Ibiza Guarantee of Origin). This village, which belongs to the municipal district of Sant Antoni de Portmany, nestles among the mountains and has good dry land, composed of a type of very strong clay. Since time immemorial the country folk have cultivated their vines producing wine on a small scale.
Wine and products of the pig slaughter
Today the number of small-scale wine producers has increased to twenty five, and there are also two bodegas or wineries in operation. They all ensure that the wine flows freely during this festival, with each of them donating a demijohn of wine which, altogether, comes to about 800 litres.
The food side is also important. So two weeks earlier, the pig slaughter takes place, one of the most deeply-rooted popular customs in the Illes Balears, and they prepare sobrasadas (spicy Mallorcan sausages) and butifarras (pork sausages) which, grilled over wood fires, will accompany the wine during this festival.
Merienda or supper begins at six o’clock in the evening in the municipal sports centre of the village. Already alight at this hour are ingenious barbecues set up over old bathtubs, a very efficient system for keeping the fire going. All around are stalls where typical Ibizan products can be bought and stands where they make fresh buñuelos (fritter doughnuts) on the spot. Music and fun accompany the fiesta which lasts until midnight, while the wine helps one to forget the incipient cold of winter.
To get to Sant Mateu you should take the regional road which leaves Eivissa and goes to Sant Miquel, and turn off in Santa Gertrudis. Once there, follow the signs. The way is well indicated.
More information: www.illesbalears.es
Category: Spain festivals