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Archive for the ‘traditions’ Category

Nearly 50% of olive oils in the world are produced in Spain, with 25% of the entire olive oil growing areas and over 260 endemic varieties. Almost 50% of the production is exported, which means that 1 of each 2 bottles in the world contain Spanish olive oil. Harvesting season will start in autumn, which gives us the perfect excuse to invite you to come to Spain and discover the leading production regions, visit olive oil mills and experience a gastronomical tasting.

Source: Turismo Provincia de Jaén

Designation of Origin & the importance of varieties

Denominaciones de Origin (DO)

Denominación de Origen (Designation of Origin) is a seal a seal that recognizes extra-virgin olive oils produced in a specific area with particular olive varieties and under very strict production and quality standards.  There are 29 DO in Spain, with Andalusia and Catalonia leading the ranking. In Andalusia, Jaén region gathers 20% of DOs.

Varieties

More than 200 varieties of olives are grown in Spain, each one with its own unique flavours and aromas: Picual is the most extended variety in the world and its name refers to the fruit’s pointed tip shape; Picudo, one of the great Andalusian varieties, with significant presence in the provinces of Córdoba, Granada, Málaga and Jaén; Arbequina, characteristic of Catalonia (Tarragona and Lleida) and Alto Aragon, although its growth has spread to practically the entire country, and we could continue with the 26 sorts that complete the DO list.

Source: Olive Oils of Spain

Olive oil, the liquid gold, a treasure dating back to Ancient Greece

Olive oils had a leading role in the economy of Ancient Greece, who began to produce and sell throughout the Mediterranean.

“The liquid gold”, as the Ancient Greeks referred to it, was introduced in Spain by the Phoenicians for 3000 years ago but it was the Romans who spread the oil groves across their colonies. As a result of its expansion into the Iberian peninsula, olive oils produced in Spain became most appreciated throughout the Roman Empire and Spanish olive groves fed the commerce throughout the same.

Spanish olive oil production regions

Large extensions of olive trees can be found in 34 regions across Spain. Among them, one area outstands above the others, Jaén, known as the “world’s capital of olive oil”.

andalucia – Jaén

The Andalucian region occupies the southern third of the peninsula, and it produces approximately 75% of the total olive oil produced in Spain.
With a typical Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers, winters with mild temperatures, and irregular precipitation, throughout the year many areas of Andalucia enjoy over three thousand hours of sunlight.
The production of olive oil is concentrated primarily in the provinces of Jaén and Córdoba. It is interesting to note that the province of Jaén produces more olive oil than all of Greece, another large producer of olive oil in the world.
The types of olives cultivated in Andalucia for the production of oil are: Picual, Hojiblanca, Lechín, Verdial and Picudo.

This beautiful area of Spain is the perfect place to combine gastronomy & cultural heritage. Only 1 hour from Granada, you can enjoy olive oil routes, visits to “almazaras” (mills where olives are crushed), tasting & gastronomy experiences, while you let yourself be charmed by two cities full of history, Úbeda and Baeza, World Heritage Sites awarded by the UNESCO. These 2 small towns retain a 500-year old charm, with churches, palaces and museums, in an urban setting surrounded by a landscape of olive groves.

Andalucia – Córdoba

The province of Córdoba, is home to four different DO: “Bae­na”, “Priego de Córdoba”, “Montoro Adamuz” and “Aceites de Lucena”. In numerous villages it is possible to organize virgin olive oil tasting sessions and gui­ded visits. A must is Hornachuelos Nature Reserve, home to more than 100,000 ha. of oil groves.

Combine oleotourism and cultural heritage. Visit oil mills and small villages with ancient production history and take the chance to discover the fantastic heritage Córdoba city offers, with the impressive Mosque to its historic charming old town plenty of beautiful palaces and famous “patios”.

Castilla La Mancha

The Castilla – La Mancha region is located in the center of the peninsula, to the south of Madrid. This region produces about 14% of the total olive oil produced in Spain. With 4 designations of origin, the production of olive oil extends to the southeast of the region, concentrating in the provinces of Toledo and Ciudad Real.

The variety of olive that is cultivated in this community for the production of oil is Cornicabra, although in the southern region bordering Andalucia there are small areas that cultivate the variety known as Picual.

The historic city of Toledo may be the best known area of this region but, not only this UNESCO site is attractive. When we speak olive oil, the DO Montes de Toledo is a must. Its history with production goes back to Phoenician and Greek colonisations, that brought Cornicabra variety, which results in a production of an olive oil with remarkable health properties within cell aging and heart diseases.

Visit Mora and enjoy the “Fiesta del Olivo” in Mora, declared of National Tourist Interest, or the Virgin-Extra Olive Oil Fair. In this town, you will also be able to visit the Museo del Aceite, which keeps a collection of pieces to transmit the culture they witnessed, through the history and different periods, the olive tree, the olive and the olive oil; its uses, the farming olive elements and the machines to obtain it; the contrast of a 19th century oil mill with the 20th century ones. It Is structured divided in three rooms: container room (strainers, jugs, oil bottles), weights and measure room (weighting scales, steelyards and measure traditional system) and rural culture room (it shows the farmhouse with traditional jobs of the rural environment). We will end the visit with the tasting we all are waiting for: taste different varieties, visita an almazara and enjoy a walk through the olive tree fields.

Source: Turismo de Castilla-La Mancha

Catalonia

The Catalonian Community occupies the northeast corner of the peninsula and produces approximately 4% of the total olive oil produced in Spain. It is the second region in number of DO, with 5 designations, and production extends throughout the western region, bordering Aragón. The types of olives cultivated in Catalonia for the production of oil are Fraga, Empeltre and Arbequina.

Places not to be missed are: the olive oil eco-museum in Pobla de Cèrvoles; Castelldans olive oil museum; Uldecona’s greatest collection of thousand-year-old olive trees in the world and the olive oil theme parl in les Borges Blanques. A must not to be missed when speaking about gastronomy in this region is its famous pà amb tomàquet (sliced bread rubbed with tomato and topped with virgin olive oil as its best).

Olive oil products benefits go far beyond gastronomy. Did you know that olive oil is a great product for moisturising and exfoliating the skin? For years it has been applied as part of beauty treatments in various Catalan spas. What are you waiting for to live the olive oil experience?

Source: Agència Catalana de Turisme

Olive oil and gastronomy

Many are the travellers who when asked about “the best of Spain” respond sharply: “the food”. The importance of production of extra virgin olive oil and the boast of production of an excellent product has pushed Spanish gastronomy to a leading place in the world.

A tour to regions we introduced in this post will give you the needed knowledge about the common categories of Spanish olive oil and  you will be be ablre to pick out the one that best suits your needs.

With a strong flavour, extra virgin olive oil is the best choice to dress a salad or other cold dishes and it is the oil you will most find topping a cold tapa. It’s the best Spanish olive oil for preparing traditional Mediterranean dishes that are sauteed or pan-seared, too. But you do not want to use extra virgin olive oil to prepare fried dishes. It has a heavier taste and a lower smoke point. Instead, let’s use refined olive oil, the most basic, with a lighter taste and a higher smoke point that better withstands heat. Also, make sure to use the oil and not keep the bottle open for too long. Once opened, the olive oil should be used within a few months.

Source: Spain.info

 

Source: Mundo Agrario

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Spain is popular for several things and activities, like for example football, gastronomy, landscape and of course also because of its extraordinary festivals. The ones you already heard about may include La Tomatina, San Fermín, Las Fallas and Carneval. But there are much more you might not heard about yet. One of the maybe craziest ones is the festival Jarramplas in Piornal.

jarramplas cover

Source: Okdiario

Introduction

Every year on the 19th and 20th of January the inhabitants of Piornal, in the region of Cáceres in Extremadura, celebrate the festival Jarramplas for those two days. Jarramplas is the name of a devil-like character, a guy who dresses up in colourful clothes and wearing a conical mask with two horns and a big nose. He goes around the city and people try to hit him with turnips.

Piornal

Piornal is a Spanish municipality in the province of Cáceres, Extremadura. Extremadura is a region in the west of Spain, with borders to Portugal. The town is located in the community of Valle del Jerte and has a population of around 1550 people.

History

This festival is an old tradition of which its history is still doubtful. There are three different explanations for its origin, told and believed among the residents of the village. The first one says, that the Jarramplas was a Christian warrior despised by people for passing during the Muslim domination. Myth number two states that the guy was a martyr, which got killed by Jewish for not denying Christianity. The third, and the most commonly believed legend tells the story of a devil-like character, who stole and killed cattle of the inhabitants and got punished for that.

The tradition

The funnily dressed Jarramplas gets ready for his challenge from the 19th to the 20th of January every year. In the morning he puts on his costume, a colourful armor on his body and a mask, which represents the helmet. Underneath this costume the person puts on protection wear, because the aim of this festival is for the visitors and inhabitants to hit the guy with turnips.

jarramplas prodection

Source: IB Times

The chosen one is every year someone else and always a person living in the neighbourhood. His mission is to make a tour through the streets of Piornal while playing his tambourine. During his tour, the neighbours, inhabitants and tourists punish him by throwing vegetables on him. The Jarramplas tries to resist those hits and his goal is to be able to stand the punishment as long as possible.

jarramplas fighting

Source: IB Times

For the actors of this figure, it has a high importance to keep walking as long as possible, since this festival is very meaningful to the residents of the town. You can recognise the passion for this celebration among all inhabitants. It is such an honour for guys to be Jarramplas, and therefore, parents already sign up their babies for being the figure any day in the future. The waiting list is around 20 years to be able to act as the character.

The importance nowadays

Within the last few years, the festival became a huge hype and gained more interest among national and international people. Hence, the usage of turnips increased extremely during this time and it is estimated, that around 22 tons of turnips are thrown on the celebration each year.

jarramplas turnips

Source: IB Times

Due to the importance of this celebration, the organisers put a lot of effort in the preparation, which includes the design, preparation and conservation of the costume and mask; the engraving of blackjacks and tambourines and the protection of the facades of the town to withstand the rain of turnips.

jarramplas protection for walls

Source: Bloomberg

Jarramplas has become one of the most recognizable festive icons of Extremadura and the most internationally famous character of Valle del Jerte. Tradition, excitement and joy flood Piornal every January inviting the visitor to delve into the rites, stories and legends of this ancient and curious festival now turned into a Festival of National Tourist Interest.

To get the ultimate and most authentic experience of this Spanish tradition get there and attend together with indigenous people the amazing flair of the festival. If you have interest, contact us for more information and check out our tailored package for Jarramplas.

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Christmas is coming closer and cities in Spain are getting ready for this festive time already. This worldwide known and celebrated event is the most important time for the majority of Spaniards. Due to their focus on religion people are very passionate about Christmas and have many traditions and important dates during this time.

Christmas cover

Source: Madrid Easy

Typical rituals and tradition

Spanish people have lots of different traditions, rituals and celebrations during Christmas time.

Christmas markets: Christmas markets are very popular in Spain, therefore every larger city has at least one during advent time. With lots of decorations and lights they are worth a visit. People go there to buy piles of fruits, flowers, marzipan and other sweets, candles, decorations and hand-made gifts. Two of the most famous are the market in Plaza Mayor, in Madrid and Fira de Santa Llucía in Barcelona.

christmas 1

Source: Time Out

Christmas village: Like the Christmas tree, the display of Bethlehem and the crib has a high importance for Spanish people. Every Spaniard, celebrating Christmas has one in them home and in Madrid, at the squares Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor, they put up huge cribs which are displayed to the public.

Winter wonderland: In Barcelona, the theme park Portaventure turns into a Winter wonderland in Christmas time and you will even be able to watch ice shows, go to Christmas festivals and Christmas Parades.

christmas 2

Source: Portaventura

Christmas lights: What would be Christmas without beautiful decoration and colourful lights? The cities in Spain put on a lot of wonderful lights on the main roads and squares to make them shine. You can get the perfect Christmas lights experience when you go with the Christmas Tour Bus in Madrid. It drives in the evening and passes by all the main places which are decorated and lightened up.

Food: Even if you are not the biggest Christmas fan, you will enjoy Spain during this time. The food they serve for Christmas and the sweets they eat during this time are even richer and sweeter than usually. The biggest family meals take place on Christmas Eve and on the 6th of December (Three Kings Day). Typical dishes on these days include roasted lamb, roasted pig, various seafood soups, salad, and any kind of tapas. Traditional sweets are Turrón (almond nougat), marzipan, glacé fruits, mantecados (traditional powdery sweets), Roscón de Reyes (a large ring-shaped bun eaten on January 6th).

christmas 3

Source: Pura Aventura

Calendar of Christmas time:

December the 8th – Immaculada (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) is the official beginning of Christmas time and is a public holiday in Spain.

December the 21st – It is the shortest day of the year and gets celebrated with Hogueras, which are bonfires.

December the 22nd – The 22nd of December is the due date of the draw of the big Christmas lottery. The first prize is called El Gordo, the fat one. On that day everybody is sitting in front of the TV with crossed fingers.

December the 24th – Noche Buena, Christmas Eve is celebrated with friends and the family. People come together to get drinks and dinner. Some kids already get a first present from Santa Clause.

December the 25th – On Christmas Day traditionally families come together and have lunch.

December the 28th – Santos Inocentes, Holy Innocents day is like April Fools’ Day. People try to trick each other with stories and jokes.

December the 31st –Nochevieja, the New Year’s Eve is celebrated big in Spain. The best places to be are definitely Madrid at the square Puerta del Sol and in Barcelona at the square in front of the fountain Fuente de Montjuïc. At midnight there is a special ritual: 12 strokes before midnight everybody starts eating grapes, one per stroke, if you fulfil that successfully, it means you have good luck in the New Year. At 12 o’clock a big firework starts and everybody drinks champagne and kisses at midnight.

christmas 4

Source: Tilllate

January the 1st – Nearly the whole country sleeps on that day and needs rest after the big celebration. It is public holiday in the whole country.

January the 5th – Processions are held all over Spain in the evening and sweets are thrown from the floats to all the people who come out to watch.

January the 6th – Día de los Reyes Magos, the Feast of the Epiphany, Three Kings Day, the day when the 3 Kings arrived in Bethlehem to bring presents to baby Jesus. On this day the long waiting has an end, finally the kids get their gifts in the morning. The whole family and friends get together to have a big lunch and sit together for drinks.

christmas 5

Source: El Estímulo

Not only Spain, but also Portugal has a lot to offer during Christmas time. Lisbon is the perfect example, it is as beautiful as Madrid and Barcelona during this time and all 3 cities are definitely worth visiting.

Are you ready for Christmas? Do not hesitate to contact us for further details about our Christmas packages for Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon.

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The capital of Spain does not only offer great architectural monuments and a lively day- and nightlife, but also a huge variety of typical gastronomic options. If you are coming because of the delicious cuisine or not, you should definitely not miss to spend some time in one of the historic taverns of Madrid. You will find most of them in the centre of the city, in public places like Plaza Mayor or Plaza Santa Ana.

1_cover

Source: Andaremos

 

Sobrino de Botín

The Guinness Book of World Records mentioned Sobrino de Botín once as oldest restaurant in the world. It went through several generations and carries a lot of history in the exterior as well as in the interior. The philosophy also reflects its past and the cuisine is kept traditional with regional products. The legendary restaurant is since back then located close to Plaza Mayor in Calle Chuchilleros.

2_Sobrino de Botin

Source: Wikipedia

 

La Cruzada

Also called the “mother of all Madrid taverns”, La Cruzada was founded in 1827 and you will find it in Plaza Oriente. Back then it was a meeting point for intellectuals and also the Spanish king Alfonso XII used to go there. The whole tavern is coloured in red, which in the 19th century used to mark taverns offering quality wine. Nowadays it still serves great wines as well as Spanish food like croquettes or stews.

Casa Alberto

Going to the street Calle de las Huertas, located close to Plaza Santa Ana you will see the next tavern, which ran through a number of generations and was opened in the same year as La Cruzada, in 1827. Casa Alberto belongs to the most ancient bars of the city. The local government even granted them a plaque in the streets. The cuisine differentiate from the others, it serves avant-garde dishes with a typical regional touch.

Los Galayos

Founded in 1894 under the name “Cevecería Rojo” the tavern starting with only a small bar, offering tapas and aperitifs. Los  Galayos adapted to the needs of habitants and tourists and offers now two terraces and five dining rooms. Perfectly located at Plaza Mayor, you can enjoy the typical Spanish cuisine on the terrace, while having an impressive view of the historical square and the colourful building Casa de la Panadería.

3_los galayos

Source: Redmago

 

Casa Labra

Casa Labra, famous for its croquettes, was opened in 1860 and is located close to Plaza de Sol in Calle Tetuán. The historic building has an ancient façade and an old-style interior, which is divided in a bar and a restaurant. The kitchen focuses of traditional dishes offering a wide variety of tapas.

4_casa labra

Source: Fotomadrid

 

Lhardy

The originally French bakery, Lhardy was established in 1839 by the French man Emilio Huguenin Lhardy, in the street Carrera de San Jerónimo, next to Plaza de Sol. Today it is divided in a shop on the ground floor, selling pastries, cold cuts and food to go, and a fine restaurant with a lot of different salons on the second floor. The cuisine nowadays is a creative and tasty mix out of the Spanish and the French kitchen.

5_lhardy

Source: Wikipedia

 

Having lunch, dinner or just a snack in one of the typical, legendary taverns in Madrid is always worth it. It will give you an additional insight into the past and a feeling of being part of it. The flair, the food and the location is perfect to enjoy some time of your stay there.

carta

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You are craving for a Hollywood-like food fight and your heart beats faster when thinking about the fruity smell of tomatoes being all over you? Well than you better keep reading, because we have the non-plus-ultra festival for you!

La Tomatina, one of the most famous festivals of Spain, is hosted every year on the last Wednesday of August in Buñol. Thousands of people from all over the world come together to throw millions of over-ripe tomatoes at each other, enjoy a great party and, most importantly, have the time of their lives!

la-tomatina-1

source: Love Valencia

While nobody knows exactly when and where the idea of having a food fight in the centre of a town developed, the most common rumor is about a food fight between friends which escalated in 1945. As some youngsters remembered the event and repeated the messy festival the year after, La Tomatina was forbidden by the city council and local police in the early 50s. After countless protests and imprisonments, the festival became an official festivity of Buñol in 1957 and is loved by everybody ever since then: while in the first years visitors were mainly from Spain, people from all over the world join the festival nowadays.

Prepare yourself for the 30th of August because nobody is going to stay clean! La Tomatina starts at 11 AM and for an hour, you are fighting for yourself against everybody else. Officially, the battle doesn’t start before somebody has climbed a high pole to get the coveted ham at the top. However, the fired water cannons are signal enough to start the fight! While the cleaning progress of the streets is great organized by the city council, only a few public showers are offered and most people find themselves cleaning their clothes in the river.

We won’t lie to you – La Tomatina is a mess, a funny mess, tho. To enjoy the festival to the fullest wear old clothes and closed shoes you are not sad throwing away afterwards. Moreover, leave valuable stuff at home and be respectful with others! One last tip from the professionals: Tuck your shirt into your shorts to always have a clean part to wipe your eyes with!

la-tomatina-7

source: Flores y plantas

You can read as much as you want about La Tomatina – you will never know how it actually feels like being involved in the biggest food fight of the world when you don’t participate. Book now to join us for THE event of the year because tickets are limited and hotels and hostels in Buñol and surrounding often fully booked out weeks before the event happens! Believe us: you will have the time of your life!

la-tomatina-mapa

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