8 incredible Spanish Villages for an Escape

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 8 incredible Spanish Villages for an Escape

March 5, 2018

Spain is well known for its endless beaches, crystal water islands or city breaks. But the country has almost 20,000 villages diverse in architecture, traditions and culture.

Do we know the real Spain? Here below you are going to discover the deep and charming Spain, unexploited.

An insider’s guide into the top places and villages to visit in Spain, across the admiring and lesser-known hamlets. If you want to chill and relax, you are reading the right post.

From north to south,from west to east here we go:

COMBARRO, Galicia

With one of the most beautiful and typical pictures of Galicia, Combarro is located in between the sea and the land, with its fishing port, its unique old town and above all its stilt granaries on the edge of the estuary, an example of popular architecture .

Do not miss, the landscape during the low tide and the comings and goings of the fishing boats.

CUDILLERO, Asturias.

The legend says it was founded by Vikings. The picture of this Asturian coastal town facing the sea on the side of the mountain is hard to forget. The main attraction are the town’s colorful houses, stretching out in a semi-circle around the bay, with a backdrop of deep green hills. Its lighthouse sits on the cliff’s edge from where you can see the town of Cudillero and the impressive Atlantic Green Coast.

Never mind, whatever you do, you always end up in the harbor just by dropping down its steep streets.

Do not miss: Any of the restaurants in the Plaza de la Marina.

 GETARIA, País Vasco.

A beautiful fishing village of Gipuzkoa with medieval features overlooking the sea accompanied by the txacolí, a young and light wine ideal to combine with fish, its vineyards and wineries are one of its main tourist attractions.

Do not miss, its mouse shaped mountain and the Balenciaga Haute Couture Museum.

CADAQUÉS, Catalunya.

Part of the Cap de Creus Natural Park and the mediterranean roacky coast, the town is accessible only through a narrow road, which is probably why its old charm is still intact. Known as the favorite town of Salvador Dalí the famous painter for a reason.

Do not miss: The house-museum of the painter in Portlligat.

ALTEA, Alicante

This Alicante town has become a MUST on the Costa Blanca. An old fishing village with white houses, flowers on its walls and labyrinthine streets.

Do not miss: The fish market where in the evenings the catches of the day are auctioned, great spectacle.

VEJER DE LA FRONTERA, Andalusia

The most spectacular of all Andalusia’s white villages, the Moorish town with cobbled streets housing, flamenco bars and tapas restaurants. Any view is good to enjoy the valley below.

Do not miss, the walls surrounding the whole town and its Castle.

RONDA, Andalusia

Stunningly set above a 120-meter-deep canyon, the town of Ronda, is made up of two parts: the old

Moorish settlement and the 15th-century town. In the 18th century, they were connected by a stone bridge to form Ronda as we know it.

Do not miss: A walk down into the gorge along the Camino and its Goyesca bullfights.

MIJAS, Andalusia

The whitewashed streets of historic quarter, Arab in layout and nestling in the mountain landscape, Mijas an Andalusian town next to Malaga, a long-time favorite of day-trippers village.

Do not miss, its spectacular panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea coast from the Sierra de Mijas, a 400 meters above the sea.

From now on you will not find an excuse to not visit Spain, enjoy yourself.

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 How to pit your Olives for stuffing

March 12, 2018

If you like cooking and like olives at the same time, it’s bound to happen: you have olives, a recipe that calls for olives, and yet the olives still have the pits in them. Luckily, pitting olives at home is pretty easy.

No matter what you marinate or flavor your olives in, pitting and stuffing them is fun and delicious.

 Why to pit your olives?

Whole olives can be amazing as a simple appetizer, but if you want to use them in tapenades, stews, or other dishes, they usually need to be pitted.

 How to pit your olives?

The technique you use to remove the pit usually depends on the type of olive. Some have flesh that sticks to the pit, while other varieties are softer and will yield their pits with less of a struggle.

To properly pit an olive, we suggest using an olive pitter. Just place the olive in the tapered hole, grasp the handle, and squeeze hard so the pit pops out the other end.

If you are more into DIY mode, why not, let’s go for a couple of advises.

First of all is better if you know which kind of olive are you “fighting” against.

The pits of some soft black olives slip right out, just by pinching both ends of the olive between your forefingers and thumbs. When we talk about green olives, are bit more stubborn, meaty and firm,

requiring though a bit more force.

Instructions :

Find a large chef knife. You can also use small frying pan or other heavy flat surface, even the bottom of a mug.

Place the flat surface of the large knife blade on top of the olive and press down, gently but firmly.

You need to use some force. An you will feel the pit inside the olive start to pop out.

The smashing should have essentially released the olive’s hold on its pit. Continue to press down on the olive and gently pull the knife towards you. This will cause the olive to roll and help in squeezing the pit out. The pit should pop right out or, at most, you’ll need to pull it out easily.

Maneuver the pit out of the olive with your fingers if it still hasn’t popped out.

*In any other case, we suggest to “cheat” and take the highway. Buy pitted olives and go straight to Step 2.

 What we do now the olives are already pitted?

Let’s stuff them ! (Step 2)

Have you ever tried olives and blue cheese with slow sips of martini? Believe it, these two ingredients when combined together are unbeatable.

First of all, if you have the choice look for pitted gordal-kind olives, which are large in size, the best option for stuffing.

For stuffing easily, we suggest using an olive stuffer (for softer fillings like cheese). Or just keep the mixture in a pastry bag and fill the olives with it. You can also make a cone of freezer paper and use in

case pastry bag or olives stuffer is not immediately available.

Once you get to the stuffing step you got infinite possibilities. Mango, marcona almond, manchego cheese, serrano ham, goat cheese and honey, roasted garlic and gorgonzola and much more.

Stuffed olives make an easy but elegant appetizer, will make any cocktail or dinner party flavorful and enjoyable.

A funny task to enjoy with family and friends suitable for all audiences, as we did in our last event in the UK with a stuffing station where children and adults learned to pit and stuff olives. Fun and family come together !

Would you like to learn more? Stay tuned, stay olived, a new event will come earlier than you think, practice is better than theory, promise !

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5 typical Spanish dishes in Easter

March 20, 2018

Spain is known for being good at celebrating; this also counts for Easter, or ‘SemanaSanta’. Therefore this article will explain – and maybe inspire you – what people in Spain are eating when celebrating Easter.

Easter is the time for a lot of traditions that can differ from region to region. One thing they agree on is the food! Spanish people definitely have a sweet tooth and Easter is not an exception.

Unlike other cultures where chocolate eggs are dominating the picture, people in Spain eat different sweet pastries.

TORRIJAS.

The first one is ‘las torrijas’ which more or less is a Spanish edition of a French toast.

There are different versions of this sweet treat; you can even get one soaked in wine, which must be in the true spirit of Spain.

Normally, the Torrijas is soaked in milk and eggs and afterwards fried and served with sugar or honey.

LA MONA DE PASCUA.

This is a Spanish Easter cake. The traditional cake was served with hardboiled eggs at the top. The newer version has replaced the real eggs with eggs made of chocolate. Among other thing, the cake consists of marzipan and apricot jam and thereafter decorated with

chocolate glaze, almonds and even some times colourful feathers.

This cake is mostly eaten on Easter Monday and is very popular.

Besides being a tradition related to Easter, this cake is also a sign for that the summer is near and are therefore seen as a warm welcome to the good weather.

HORNAZO.

They are originated in the region of Salamanca, which actually is one of the cities in Spain that has been declared ‘Fiesta of international tourists in Spain.´

Hornazo consists of bread stuffed with eggs, pork loin and chorizo.

There is just at the torrijas different versions of the hornazo, one of the others could be ‘bollo de hornazo’ which is dry bread with a sweet taste that are decorated with hard boiled eggs.

Eggs are an important part in the tradition of Easter since it back in the days was considered as meat and therefore not allowed during the lent (period of fasting). This meant that there were plenty of eggs at leftovers after the lent and therefore it was obvious to eat more eggs at Easter.

BARTOLILLOS.

Bartillos is quite related to the pestiños and churros. They are originated from the area of Madrid and some other calls them ‘Madrid Crème Puffs’. As the name indicates, the triangular pastry is filled with crème.

If you have a very sweet tooth and want the full experience, is recommended to enjoy this pastry with a glass of dessert wine.

PESTIÑOS.

IT is once again a sweet pastry. This treat is also typical during Christmas time.

The pastry has the shape as small cookies. The dough has been deep fried in olive oil and thereafter flavoured with sesame and in the end they are glazed with sugar and honey.

These typical delicious dishes are directly connected with the traditions of Spain and they are all being eaten in the week of Easter.

Actually, it is seen as being impolite if showing up at someone’s house without bringing some of the pastries in that period.

Once again, Spain unites about their passion for food. This is a true joy for everyone experiencing it.

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The Essential Guide to Easter in Spain

March 27, 2018

Let’s start from the beginning, the Spanish word for Easter is Pascua.
If you are looking for some colorful eggs and bunnies, you are in the wrong place! Easter celebrations in Spain are no joke.

With more than 70% of Spain’s population identifying themselves as Catholic, Pascua is Spain’s most celebrated holiday. Almost every spaniard will take part in the festivities in some way.
Some curiosities to introduce you the Pascua:
– The fasting period of forty days that leads up to Easter is called Lent. Lent is called La Cuaresma in Spanish.
– The seven days leading up to Easter Sunday are called Holy Week, or La Semana Santa in Spanish.
– The first day of La Semana Santa is Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos).The word ramos means ‘bouquets’ and ‘branches.’ and in Spain, when you go to church on Palm Sunday you carry a palm
branch or an olive branch. Boys carry a plain branch and girls carry one that has been decorated with ribbons and sweets.
– Semana Santa in Spain dates back to at least the 16th century when the Church wanted to
present the story of the Passion of the Christ in a way that the average person could understand.
During Semana Santa people all over the country come together for religious ceremonies, honoring the Passion of Jesus Christ.

Now the question is, ¿How and where? Because even if its true that the Holy Week is a national bank holiday, this celebration is much more important in the south of Spain, because the religious tradition is more deeply rooted in this part of the country. So if you want to really feel the ceremony you need to know what city to visit.

Semana Santa in Andalucía.
The most magnificent and unforgettable Semana Santa celebrations in Andalucia take place in Sevilla and Málaga where the streets are taken over by extravagant parades and elaborated religious displays
depicting biblical scenes.
In Sevilla, you can not miss La Madrugà, a series of processions that take place during the night/dawn of
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Listen to saetas or outbreaking flamenco from people on balconies, so moved by the spactacle showing their real lament.
Women often wear the mantilla, a black lace veil worn high on the back of the head, and made it clear
red lipsitck and skirts above the knee were definitely not allowed.
Now we only need to arrange a couple of things before leaving, some suggestions to keep in mind before
you arrive and during your stay.

Tips for Traveling to Spain During Easter
Arrange your accommodation well in advance, the most important is to come with calm.

Be respectful, dress for the occasion. If you want to blend in and show respect to their traditions, dress as
if you are going to a Sunday mass. Understand that Pascua is a highly revered holiday and that people take their traditions seriously. Remember, despite the heat women usually dress modestly.

The number of visitors considerably increases during these festivities,in crowded situations it never hurts to take caution of your pertinences. Once again, the most important is enjoying your holidays.

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Five Great Snacks with Olives

April 4, 2018

Olives can be enjoyed with endless possibilities. They are great alone but sometimes even greater in recipes. This is why we have collected 5 recipes we think is worth knowing.

Some of them are typical Spanish and will possibly taste like vacation, no matter your location.

And even better, all these recipes are fast and easy to make and of course without compromising with taste.

Heated olives

Our first suggestion is close to be eating the olives as they are. You will only need the olives, lemon, olive oil and a bit of fennel seeds. Mix everything and heat it in a pan or the micro wave and eat it when it is still warm. This is perfect as a snack and together with a couple of drinks.

When heating the olives, they can take up more taste compared to when they are cold. By knowing that, you can fast and easy create a delicious snack that probably will impress your friends (unless you eat all of them before they get to taste it.)

 

Deep fried stuffed olives

The olives are eaten as snacks and together with garlic mayo.

If you prefer your olives stuffed, we can recommend cheese, chorizo or anchovies. These should be cut into pieces that fit to the olive.

To fry the olives, you will have to roll the olives in flour, then in eggs and at last in breadcrumbs. Be sure that the breadcrumbs stay by rolling them twice.

Put olive oil in the frying pan and when it’s hot enough, put in the olives until they are golden. Dry them in a kitchen towel when they get off the pan. Now they are ready to serve!

 

Orange salad with red onions and olives from Spain

This is a light salad that is easily made and has a lot of taste.

Take some oranges and cut them into thin slices and place them on a plate. Pour a bit of olive oil over them and add sunflower seeds . The final touch, black olives together with red onions and dinner is served.

Here below we leave you with this delicious and simple recipe of orange salad with red onion and olives from Spain, but although it is so versatile that you can try to change the sunflower seeds for toasted pine nuts or to give a refreshing touch with mint leaves or peppermint. Fresh !

 

Banderilla

As the name indicates, this recipe origins from Spain and it is often an opportunity on the tapas menu. You can more or less pick whatever you want to be in your banderillas by yourself.

The procedure is simple: just take your ingredients and put them on a toothpick. The original stuffing is pickle, olive, onion and tuna. Mix exactly as you want and in no time you will have an easy-made and well-tasting snack.

From the same family in a different way we have the “gilda” an unforgettable classic of the easy tasty snacks. An olive, a chilli pepper from Ibarra and an anchovy all together joined with a toothpick.

*Curious fact: The name was given in reference to the main character of the film “Gilda”, played by Rita Hayworth in 1946, because as the actress, the tapa is “salty, green and a bit spicy.”

 

Tapenade

Tapenade is a snack that is suitable for many occasions.

The main ingredient is olives and the other ingredients can be chosen after what you prefer. Typically, the ingredients are capers, anchovies, garlic, olive oil, and lemon. Blend everything together and serve.

The advantage of making your own tapenade is that you can control what is in it and you can try different versions to find your own special favourite.

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Experiencing Spain from the eyes of a foreigner

April 10, 2018

It is always exciting to experience a culture that is different from the culture you are used to.

Language barrier could always be an issue at the very first moment, same as getting used to the new lifestyle schedules.

Furthermore, from the moment of arrival to Spain it will never be in doubt the remarkable improvement of the weather conditions. About the first impressions of the Spanish people, are a warm and welcoming people that do everything they can to help.

The food is a central thing in social activities and it is scheduled several times a day; 5-6 to be exact.

The hour of the day, tendencies and local specialties can differ from region to region, but the passion and proudness is a common thing.

Desayuno (breakfast) from 7-9

The typical Spanish breakfast is usually very light. It can consist of a cup of coffee and a small snack, normally, a toast with olive oil, crushed tomatoes or a toast with oil and ham.

Almuerzo (mid-morning snack) 10.30 – 11

Now it is time for the mid-morning snack, second breakfast or “almuerzo”. It is time for more coffee and a more consistent snack; this could be sweet pastries or Spanish tortilla (an Spanish omelet)

La comida (lunch) 14-15.30

At this time of the day people got an appetite for a two – three dishes menu. A lot of restaurants are offering “menu del

día” (the menu of the day). The starter is usually a choice between salads and afterwards a fish or a meat dish. If there is room for more food, there are plenty of local desserts, such as flan, fresh fruit or rice puddings.

This is a time the Spanish people really socialise, which is a very important aspect in their culture.

Merienda (afternoon snack) 17.30-19.30

Just as the lunch, the social aspect is an important factor in the afternoon snack; actually, it is possibly the most important aspect in this part of the day.

This is the time to get a cup of coffee or a snack. Sandwiches are the most popular snack for children after school, and even the adults take it as a moment to relax and disconnect from work for a little while. In summer time, an ice cream or some fresh fruit are preferred.

La hora del aperitivo (snacks/tapas) 20.30-22

This is the second big meal of the day. It is around that time the tapas bars are opening. Tapas are a great opportunity for tasting as many things as possible, because that is exactly what you will need when being in Spain. The selection of tapas can vary from place to place, but you can be sure that it would be possible to order olives as one of the dishes.

Red wine and cold beers are usually enjoyed together with the tapas.

La cena (dinner) 21.30 +

If you still are hungry after the aperitivo, you can always order a dish for yourself or keep going with the shared tapas with the rest of the crew. If not, mediterranean people is not used to eat large portions of food in this time of the day.

Salads, or a bit of cold meat are welcomed.

Drinks from 23

If you aren’t ready to go home, this is the time to replace the wine with cocktails. It is common to enjoy snacks like nuts or olives while socialising at the bars.

It takes a bit of time to get used to the late time for eating, but it is worth waiting for.

Food is a good place to start when you want to discover the culture of Spain and you will soon realise that the Spaniards are appreciating good, local food and even more important, they love to be social among friends.

The most remarkable thing about the Spanish people is their openness and their eager to show and tell about their favourite places. This is a great place to be. Don’t miss it !