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Still Discovering Spain...

Here for over 25 years and I still discover new things every day...

A Stunning sight - The Pitchfork
Friday, May 26, 2023






An eerie landscape of jagged rocks that emerge from the sea, Gueirúa Beach is a small pebbled cove that stands out for its truly beautiful landscape. At its eastern end, there is a row of islets formed by sharp rocks emerging from the sea, the remains of an old fractured quartz and slate point. This area is called La Forcada (The Pitchfork), and separates Gueirúa Beach from Calabón Beach.


This is an unspoilt area, barely frequented and lacking in amenities, although it is not particularly difficult to access. It is reached on foot from the town of Santa Marina following a path that ends in steps down to the beach. Don't forget the camera!



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The Best Beaches in Formentera
Friday, May 19, 2023

Formentera, the smallest of Spain's Balearic Islands, is a true Mediterranean paradise known for its crystal-clear waters, soft white sand, and stunning natural landscapes. The island offers a serene getaway from the bustling tourist spots in neighbouring Ibiza. In this blog post, we'll explore the best beaches in Formentera that you must visit on your next trip to this enchanting island.


1. Playa de Ses Illetes

Playa de Ses Illetes is arguably the most famous beach in Formentera, and for a good reason. With its powdery white sand and turquoise waters, it's no wonder why it's often compared to the Caribbean. This narrow stretch of beach is located on the northern tip of the island, offering breathtaking views of Ibiza. The shallow waters make it an ideal spot for swimming and snorkelling. There are several beach bars and restaurants nearby, so you won't have to venture far for refreshments.


2. Cala Saona

Cala Saona is a small, picturesque cove on the western coast of Formentera. Surrounded by stunning red cliffs, this beach offers a unique landscape and a more secluded experience. The calm, clear waters are perfect for swimming and snorkelling, and there's a beach bar where you can enjoy a cold drink or a bite to eat. Cala Saona is easily accessible by bike or car, and there's a parking area nearby.


3. Playa de Migjorn

Stretching along the southern coast of the island, Playa de Migjorn is the longest beach in Formentera. This extensive stretch of sand offers plenty of space to find your perfect spot, whether you prefer a lively atmosphere or a more tranquil setting. The beach is lined with a variety of bars and restaurants, and the crystal-clear waters are ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Be sure to explore the various coves and inlets along the beach for a more secluded experience.


4. Es Caló

Es Caló is a charming fishing village on the eastern coast of the island, boasting a small but beautiful pebble beach. The crystal-clear waters and rocky seabed make it an excellent spot for snorkelling and diving. The village itself is worth exploring, with its traditional whitewashed houses and a handful of restaurants serving delicious local cuisine. Es Caló is a perfect spot for those seeking a more authentic and peaceful experience in Formentera.


5. Playa de Llevant

Located just east of Playa de Ses Illetes, Playa de Llevant offers a more secluded and less crowded alternative. This beautiful beach features soft golden sand and clear blue waters, making it an ideal spot for sunbathing and swimming. The beach is also popular among nudists, so be prepared for a more liberal atmosphere. There are no beach bars or restaurants here, so pack a picnic and enjoy the serene surroundings.


Formentera is a haven for beach lovers, offering a variety of stunning shorelines to suit every preference. Whether you're seeking lively beach bars, secluded coves, or pristine waters for swimming and snorkelling, you're sure to find your perfect spot on this enchanting island


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An Introduction Spanish Wine Regions
Friday, May 12, 2023


Spain is the third-largest wine-producing country in the world, with a rich history of winemaking dating back more than 2,000 years. The country boasts diverse climates and terroirs, resulting in a wide range of wine styles and grape varieties. This introduction will take you through some of the most famous and diverse wine regions in Spain, introducing you to their unique characteristics and flavours.


1. Rioja

Rioja is arguably Spain's most famous and prestigious wine region, located in the north of the country along the Ebro River. The region is known for its high-quality red wines made primarily from the Tempranillo grape, often blended with Garnacha, Graciano, and Mazuelo. Rioja wines are aged in oak barrels, giving them a distinctive, smooth, and complex character.

Key Grape Varieties: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo


2. Ribera del Duero

Located in the heart of the Duero River Valley, Ribera del Duero is another prestigious Spanish wine region known for its bold and full-bodied red wines. The region's high altitude and extreme temperature fluctuations result in wines with intense flavours and excellent ageing potential. The primary grape variety is Tinto Fino (a local name for Tempranillo), often blended with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec.

Key Grape Varieties: Tinto Fino (Tempranillo), Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec


3. Priorat

Situated in the Catalonia region, Priorat is a small but highly regarded wine region known for its powerful and concentrated red wines. The unique terroir, characterized by its steep slopes and slate soils, imparts a distinct minerality to the wines. The primary grape varieties are Garnacha and Cariñena, often blended with international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

Key Grape Varieties: Garnacha, Cariñena, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah


4. Rías Baixas

Located in the cool and rainy Galicia region in northwestern Spain, Rías Baixas is known for its crisp and aromatic white wines made from the Albariño grape. These wines are characterized by their high acidity, intense fruitiness, and subtle saline notes, making them a perfect match for seafood dishes.

Key Grape Variety: Albariño


5. Jerez (Sherry)

Jerez, located in the Andalusia region in southern Spain, is the home of Sherry, a unique and diverse category of fortified wines. Sherry can range from dry and crisp to sweet and rich, with styles including Fino, Manzanilla, Amontillado, Oloroso, and Pedro Ximénez. The primary grape varieties used in Sherry production are Palomino, Pedro Ximénez, and Moscatel.

Key Grape Varieties: Palomino, Pedro Ximénez, Moscatel

6. Navarra

Located just north of Rioja, Navarra is a versatile wine region that produces a variety of wine styles, including reds, whites, and rosés. The region is particularly famous for its rosé wines made from Garnacha, which are characterized by their vibrant fruitiness and refreshing acidity. Reds are often made from Tempranillo, Garnacha, and international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Key Grape Varieties: Garnacha, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Viura




7. Penedès

Situated in the Catalonia region, Penedès is known for its diverse wine production, including reds, whites, and sparkling wines. The region is home to Spain's famous sparkling wine, Cava, which is made using the traditional method from local grape varieties such as Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada. Penedès also produces still wines, with reds made from Garnacha, Tempranillo, and international varieties, and whites from Xarel-lo and Chardonnay.

Key Grape Varieties: Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Parellada, Garnacha, Tempranillo, Chardonnay



8. Rueda

Located in the heart of the Duero River Valley, Rueda is a white wine-focused region known for its fresh and vibrant wines made from the Verdejo grape. These wines are characterized by their zesty acidity, citrus fruit flavours, and subtle herbaceous notes. Rueda also produces small quantities of red wines, mainly from the Tempranillo grape.

Key Grape Variety: Verdejo, Viura, Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo

9. Toro

Toro is a Spanish wine region located in the province of Zamora, along the Duero River. The region is known for its bold and powerful red wines made from the Tinta de Toro grape, a local variant of Tempranillo. Toro's wines are characterized by their deep colour, high alcohol content, and concentrated fruit flavours, with the potential for long ageing.

Key Grape Variety: Tinta de Toro (Tempranillo)



10. Bierzo

Situated in the northwest of Spain, Bierzo is a relatively small wine region known for its red wines made from the Mencía grape. These wines are typically medium-bodied and exhibit flavours of red fruit, floral notes, and minerality, often with a hint of smokiness. Bierzo also produces white wines, primarily from the Godello grape, which are fresh and fruity with good acidity.

Key Grape Varieties: Mencía, Godello


11. La Mancha

La Mancha, located in central Spain, is the largest continuous vine-growing area in the world. This vast region is known for its high production of affordable and easy-drinking wines, made from a variety of red and white grape varieties. The hot and dry climate of La Mancha results in wines with ripe fruit flavours and moderate acidity.

Red wines from La Mancha are primarily made from Tempranillo (locally known as Cencibel), Garnacha, and international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. The region's white wines are produced from Airen, Macabeo, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay.

Key Grape Varieties: Tempranillo (Cencibel), Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Airen, Macabeo, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay


Spain's diverse wine regions offer a wealth of unique flavours and styles to explore. From the iconic reds of Rioja and Ribera del Duero to the crisp whites of Rías Baixas and the complex world of Sherry, there is truly something for every palate. As you delve into the world of Spanish wines, remember that this introduction is just the beginning, ¡Salud!

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Fuet - how it's made
Friday, May 5, 2023


Fuet (pronounced "fwet") is a type of cured sausage that originated in Catalonia, a region in northeastern Spain. It is typically made from a blend of pork meat and fat, which is seasoned with salt, black pepper, and other spices. The mixture is then stuffed into a long, thin casing and left to air dry for several weeks.

Fuet has a distinctive flavour that is slightly tangy and savoury, with a hint of garlic and a smoky aroma. It is usually eaten as a snack, sliced thinly and served with bread and cheese.

Fuet is similar to other cured sausages like salami and chorizo, but it has a thinner casing and a milder flavour. It is a popular delicacy in Catalonia and is enjoyed throughout Spain and other parts of Europe.

 Here is a general overview of the traditional process for making Fuet:

  1. Meat selection: The first step is to select the meat that will be used to make the sausage. Typically, a mixture of lean pork and pork fat is used.

  2. Grinding: The meat is then ground into a fine paste. The fat is often ground separately from the lean meat.

  3. Seasoning: The ground meat is then mixed with salt, black pepper, and other seasonings, such as garlic and paprika. The exact recipe for the seasoning can vary depending on the region and the individual producer.

  4. Stuffing: The seasoned meat is stuffed into natural casings, typically made from pig intestines. The casings are then tied off at regular intervals to form individual sausages.

  5. Fermentation: The sausages are then left to ferment for a period of time, typically several days. During this time, beneficial bacteria begin to break down the meat and produce lactic acid, which helps to preserve the sausage.

  6. Drying: Once the fermentation is complete, the sausages are hung in a cool, dry place to dry for several weeks. This allows them to lose moisture and develop their characteristic flavour and texture.

  7. Ageing: After the sausages have dried, they are aged for several weeks or months to further develop their flavour. During this time, the sausages may be coated in a layer of mould, which is a natural part of the ageing process.

The exact process for making Fuet can vary depending on the individual producer, but these are the general steps that are typically followed. The end result is a flavourful, occasionally spicy sausage that is perfect for snacking or adding to a variety of dishes.

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Priceless Ox-hide - A National Treasure
Friday, April 28, 2023

Although Columbus was a mapmaker in his pre-expedition days, he left behind no known maps of his explorations. Luckily for us, Juan de la Cosa, who sailed with Columbus on three journeys, did - leaving us with the oldest known map showing America.

De la Cosa was the captain of the Santa Maria, and later, after she was shipwrecked, the master of the Marigalante, and finally sailed on La Nina. He also explored the lands of Colombia and Panama with Vasco Nunez de Balboa. He returned to Spain with his famous map but died in the New World after being fatally shot by a native with poisoned arrows in Turbaco, Colombia in 1509.

Drawn in or around the year 1500, this early style of map is known as a "Mapa Mundi" or "world map." Maps like this were highly valuable pieces of maritime information, each new map adding to the store of knowledge that kept ships from wrecking on uncharted hazards. They were also closely guarded state secrets, as they held the keys to one nation's superiority over another in maritime trade.

De la Cosa's map incorporates older information as well as the recent voyages of Vasco de Gama to India in 1498. Drawn on ox-hide, it measures 72" x 37 1/2".

The map is notable for several reasons. First, it is one of the earliest maps to show the New World, including the Caribbean and the northern coast of South America. Second, it includes a large number of detailed place names, both in Europe and in the New World. Finally, the map is significant because it is believed to have been based on the personal observations of Juan de la Cosa himself, as he was an experienced navigator and had sailed on several voyages of exploration to the New World.

The map was unknown before 1832 when it was discovered in a Paris shop by the French scientist and map enthusiast Charles Walckenaer. It is thought that the map had been taken from the Secret Archives at the Vatican in 1810 by Napoleon and found its way into a bookshop after his fall. After Walckenaer's death in 1853, the map was bought by the queen of Spain and brought back to Madrid.

The Juan de la Cosa map is now housed in the Naval Museum of Madrid, Spain, and is considered to be a national treasure. It has been extensively studied and reproduced and is a valuable resource for historians, geographers, and cartographers interested in the early European exploration of the New World.



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The Costa Verde is home to Spain's Best Beach
Friday, April 21, 2023

Asturias has areas of incredible beauty, such as this virgin white sand beach, surrounded by rocky cliffs shaped by the sea and the wind, and by green meadows that contrast wonderfully with the blue of its waters. These are some of the reasons why it has been chosen as the best beach in Spain by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler.

The beach of San Antonio de Mar, in the municipality of Llanes, is a privileged location of the Asturian Costa Verde, which invites you to take a break and relax in an impressive and mesmerising setting. During the summer, as you would expect, there is more influx of visitors, but it is still a peaceful place.


It is separated from the well-known Cuevas de Mar beach by Punta San Antonio, here you can see marine geysers when there are high tide and rough seas. The water enters with force through rock galleries and caves and exits under pressure through wells dug out of the rock formation forming pressure jets of seawater.

San Antonio beach is shell-shaped and is 70 m long and 50 m wide. It is protected from the wind but there are strong currents. Access is not easy, it can only be reached from the town of Picones or from Cuevas del Mar beach, always on foot. But the reward for such effort is a refreshing bath in a charming place.


From above, on the cliffs, the views are quite spectacular, and several trails lead to the hermitage of San Antonio where you can see the beautiful coast of Llanes and the Picos de Europa.

Not far away, there are some small towns where you can still eat good traditional dishes and where you can enjoy a few days of rest next to the Cantabrian Sea. And only a few kilometres away you can visit the towns of Llanes and Ribadesella.


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Monasterio de Piedra
Monday, April 10, 2023

Since May 20, 1194 when Alfonso II of Aragon donated an old Moorish castle to a handful of monks in order to found the Monasterio de Piedra, this spot in Spain’s mostly barren reaches has been home to a divine paradise here on Earth.

Though officially secularized in 1835, during the reign of Isabella II, visitors to the monastery today will still find the remaining Gothic and Baroque buildings as heavily fortified as they were in the days of the monastery’s founding. Its cloisters remain intact, surrounded by immaculately landscaped gardens, though the main church was irreparably damaged in the aforementioned secularization and subsequent period of abandonment.

These ruins have an eerie, beautiful air about them, as they remain half-triumphant in their unwillingness to fall after so many years. Heavily fortified since its conception, visitors to the monastery will find the compound’s original cloisters intact, albeit reincarnated as a hotel and guesthouse.


Just slightly farther afield from civilization, ancient and contemporary, is the Piedra River, which is responsible for the conjoining nature park’s legendary, remarkable waterfalls. Created through the dissolution of limestone in a phenomenon geologists refer to as “karstification,” these standout cataracts include the 50-meter-tall Cola del Caballo (named such for its resemblance to a horse’s tail), and a handful of others which seem to bell into a million tiny rivulets running over the shoulder of huge boulders.

Clearly marked trails wend visitors on a five-kilometer path through the park’s most famed sights, including a natural reflecting pool trapped in a canyon called Mirror Lake. The natural park also has several caves, into which shepherds have built shelters for their flocks, as well as a raptor center that’s open to the public.


As of February 16, 1983, Monasterio de Piedra — natural park and all — was declared a national monument, which should ensure the protection of this little slice of the divine for another 800 years to come. 



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'Pan con Tomate' needs a special tomato
Friday, March 24, 2023

Across Spain, but particularly in Catalonia, meals often include a simple dish of just four ingredients—bread, oil, salt, tomatoes. To prepare pan con tomate or, in Catalan, pa amb tomàquet, you grate garlic along the rough surface of a piece of slightly toasted bread, drizzle on some extra virgin olive oil, and then rub half a tomato over the bread. The fruit’s flesh soaks into the bread, creating a simple but delicious treat.

In this recipe, the tomato is the crucial ingredient. Pa amb tomàquet should be made with particular tomatoes called tomaquets de penjar, or hanging tomatoes, a variety that, when strung properly into bunches, can keep fresh for up to six months after being harvested. Which means that tomato season (and pan con tomate season) lasts long beyond summer: Harvest these tomatoes in September, and you can still eat fresh tomatoes in March.



Hanging tomatoes have special qualities that make them ideal for both preservation and spreading on toast. They’re extra juicy, so much so that they make poor slicing tomatoes. They also have thick skin, which helps protect the interior over those long months. If you slice one open and squeeze, the liquid easily spreads over bread. The hanging tomatoes grown in Alcalà de Xivert are particularly well known, and the area’s growers’ association protects and markets this particular tomato variety.

To survive for months, hanging tomatoes have to be stored in a special way. After the harvest, farmers sew them into clusters of 15 to 30 tomatoes. Ideally, no tomato should touch any other; if they’re packed too tightly, they can rot. This method isn’t perfect, but it’s successful enough to ensure access to fresh, juicy tomatoes and perfect pan con tomate almost year round.

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Spanish Cuisine Third Best in the World
Thursday, March 16, 2023

Spanish gastronomy is one of the most appreciated in Europe and in the world. Its traditional cuisine is made up of many other cuisines and each one of them was influenced by the climate, history and customs of each community.

In 2022, Spanish cuisine obtained third place in the ranking of the Taste Atlas gastronomic guide. This online culinary encyclopedia prepares its own ranking every year thanks to the votes of its users, which evaluates foods, ingredients and drinks.

The Spanish gastronomic offer was only surpassed by Italian and Greek food. And it is followed by food from Japan, India and Mexico.

The ranking of world cuisines prepared by Taste Atlas, with the votes of the audience for ingredients, dishes and drinks, produced a list of the best foods in Spain.

The best-rated is the 100% acorn-fed Iberian ham, followed by the cured Manchego. Other dishes that received top mentions are:



Widely acclaimed as the most popular Spanish dish, paella is a one-pot speciality. Paella has humble origins, probably originating around the Albufera lagoon, an area known for its rice fields and wildlife, where it was made with locally sourced ingredients. Another crucial element is the socarrat, the crunchy bottom layer, and the obligatory final touch of each paella. Because paella is prepared in a wide, shallow pan, the rice cooks evenly in a thin layer, allowing the grains to caramelize and crisp up underneath. The socarrat is such an essential element that it is even one of the categories of the Valencian paella contest. Always served in the pan, this Spanish classic can be found throughout the country, in endless combinations.



Sangria is a fruity Spanish cocktail made with red wine and chopped fruits such as pears, peaches, berries, apples, nectarines, or pineapple. The drink is often combined with sugar, orange juice, sparkling water, and even brandy. The ancestor of bloodletting is believed to be hippocras, a drink made with wine, sugar, and spices.

'Hippocras' was prepared by the early Greeks and Romans, who used alcohol to make the drink drinkable, as the water was usually full of bacteria and unsafe to drink. The name Sangría means bleeding in Spanish, referring to the red wine used in the preparation process.

Today, European law states that authentic sangria must be made in Spain or Portugal, and must contain less than 12% alcohol by volume. Although sangria is commonly served in bars and restaurants, where it is served in tall glasses and garnished with a slice of orange, especially in summer, the best versions are said to be made at home.



Chorizo is a Spanish sausage consisting of fatty, minced pork that is seasoned with paprika and sometimes garlic. The combination of these ingredients is stuffed into a natural skin casing. Chorizo is characterized by its red colour, due to the use of special paprika, which is the key ingredient that differentiates Spanish chorizo from other similar sausages.

It has a unique, abundant and sometimes spicy flavour. There are also different versions of chorizo in countries like Mexico, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Panama, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and Uruguay. Some claim that chorizo has its origins in Catalan xoriço, while others say that it has roots in black pudding.



Long, crisp, crunchy, and intensely fragrant, churros consist of a yeast dough deep-fried and encrusted with sugar.

Originally invented by Spanish shepherds who could easily cook them in a skillet over an open fire, today these unusually shaped sugar-dusted twists are most commonly eaten in Spain and Latin America as a hot breakfast, accompanied by a strong cup of coffee or a cup of thick hot chocolate.

Its characteristic shape is achieved by pressing the dough through plastic tubes so that it comes out the other side in fine, fluted strings. Although churros are a Madrid speciality, those found in Seville are often praised for their lighter, more delicate texture. One of the best options to enjoy delicious churros in Spain is the Chocolatería San Ginés, located at Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5, it is a classic of Madrid culture. It has been operating since 1894 and is possibly one of the most international Spanish churrerías due to its locations in Shanghai, China and Colombia. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.



Cocido is a traditional Spanish stew with a wide range of regional varieties. It is also prepared and enjoyed in Portugal (cozido) and Brazil. The stew is made with a combination of various meats (or sometimes seafood) such as chicken, beef and pork along with cured and dried sausages, and vegetables such as carrots, chickpeas, potatoes, turnips, and cabbage. Many other ingredients such as eggs can also be added to the stew to enrich its flavours and textures.



The famous Bocadillos or bocatas also hit the top scores! Spanish 'sandwiches' made with Spanish-style baguettes known as 'barra de pan', as opposed to regular sandwiches which are made with modern white bread, known as pan de molde in Spain. The most common fillings for sandwiches include meat, cheese, tuna, tortillas, ham, or chorizo.

These sandwiches can be found everywhere from bars and taverns to roadside eateries, but chances are you won't find one on a restaurant menu.



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Black Garlic - Spain's little known superfood
Thursday, March 9, 2023


Black garlic is essentially fermented garlic which is achieved completely naturally without the use of any preservatives or other chemical additives.

The garlic is ripened for a long time in strictly controlled temperature and humidity conditions, as a result of which the cloves become darker and darker until they turn completely black.

Black garlic is not only a form of garlic but it has its own very special taste, sweet with nuances of balm and liquorice, similar to the flavour "umami", which in Japanese means "pleasant savoury taste", and is one of the five basic tastes together with sweet, sour, bitter and salty.

The word was originally coined by Professor Kikuna Ikeda and derives from a combination of the terms umai "delicious" and mi "taste".



As a culinary ingredient black garlic can be used in a wide range of ways, just like normal garlic, but its soft and easy-to-use texture also makes it a delicious, healthy snack on its own. Most importantly, however, it has outstanding nutritional benefits.

Black garlic has five times more antioxidant potential than normal raw garlic and contains between five and seven times the quantity of polyphenols. This is because during the lengthy ripening process, the pungent garlic compounds are naturally converted into health-giving phenolic compounds, among which are bioactive organic sulphur compounds such as S-allylcystein and S-allylmercaptocystein, which have anti-oxidative effects. In addition, black garlic contains tetra-hydro-beta-carboline derivates, which exert anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic activity, a property also found in other fermented products such as wine and beer. So there you have it, the next superfood and the most famous variety in Spain are made with purple garlic from Las Pedroñeras.

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