Emigrants born in Moraña who returned from America have left an important legacy to their birthplace: especially the food festival known as Festa do Carneiro ao Espeto. In the 1920s, a retired local emigrant, who had lived in Argentina, organized several outdoor meals by the Umia River, where they roasted La Pampa style lamb, a traditional Argentinian dish. Decades later the food event, held on the last weekend of July, was born. Today, thousands of visitors come to this festival, considered of Tourist Interest in Galicia
The event, which takes place in the Carballeira de Santa Lucía (an oak wood in the town centre), was first celebrated in 1969 and it is now one of the oldest food festivals in As Rías Baixas. There, a group of professional cooks prepare more than one hundred lambs on a low heat to be served to the visitors under the shade of the oaks.
The carneiro ao espeto, the traditional recipe where the whole lamb is roasted over an open fire, started to be prepared in the town of Moraña a century ago, and this way of cooking this meat became a tradition over the years. In the late 1960s, the local government, during the boom of the food festivals, proposed combining the Festival of the Youth with the tasting of the roasted lamb. Gradually, the carneiro ao espeto became the most important dish of the local food, and this food event attracts every year visitors coming from all over Galicia.
Sixteen lambs were served the first year, and this number rose steadily along with the popularity of the event. The lambs are slit open, staked to metal structures and placed around fire rings. The embers, from oak wood, enhance the flavour of the meat, cooked at a low temperature for seven hours and without marinade.
The lamb is prepared on a low heat for seven hours and then it is served pre-cut with empanada, wine, coffee and augardente
Each lamb is served in a single piece. The meal, with a price of 300 euros, includes a lamb from 12 to 14 kilos, empanadas (a kind of savoury pastry) made of wheat flour, and filled with zorza (shredded marinated pork meat) or cod with raisins, bread, twelve bottles of local wine, twelve bottles of mineral water, a special sauce known as ajimójilis —made of species and herbs to enhance the flavour of the meat—, coffee, augardente (a typical Galician strong alcoholic beverage) and a complete dinner service.
The food festival, held this year on Sunday 29th July, also includes a large number of activities. Local bars and restaurants participate in the tapas contest "Espétalle un pincho" during the weeks prior to the event. In addition, different activities are organised, such as traditional games, archery and a zip-line in the Santa Xusta Park.
Traditional music is also important and the local group of traditional music and dance Seixebra organizes a folk festival. This year they will share the stage with other groups of traditional music as the Pandereteiras Riscadela from the town of Teo, the cultural ethnographic association La Arracada from the province of Zamora and the orchestra Nova Lira from Moraña. Moreover, visitors can also attend and enjoy the charity event Moraña Glamour —a night of fashion, beauty, shows and solidarity—, a running race, theatre performances, water games in the local pool, swimming contests, football and basketball matches, concerts at night and the Bike Festival.
The Great Show Carneiro ao Espeto is held in the oak wood on Saturday night, the day before the feast. The night event includes this year the concerts of the artists Kiko & Shara, Natalia, Amistades Peligrosas and La Década Prodigiosa.