Top Five Festivals in Spain -

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Top Five Festivals in Spain

November 22, 2017

Spain is a Country of festivals, with every village, no matter how small, having their own, individual celebrations. Most of these fiestas and festivals have roots in religion, but the people of Spain love to celebrate. Here is a list of the top five festivals in Spain that you won’t want to miss.

Carnival of Tenerife

Known for its beautiful views, incredible nightlife, and luxury resorts, every February Santa Cruz de Tenerife is home to one of the worlds biggest celebrations. With revelry lasting up to three weeks, the Carnival of Tenerife, rivalled only by Rio de Janeiro, is the best place to celebrate Carnival. As evidence of how committed participants in Tenerife’s Carnival are, many businesses cut the hours that they are open, while others close for the entire duration of the festival! With dazzling costumes and continuous dancing, the parades and street entertainment are fun to watch, but even more fun to join. Don’t be nervous about being flamboyant and dressing in drag or as a favourite cartoon character. You will fit right in!

Fallas of Valencia

One of Spain’s best-known festivals, Fallas of Valencia involves several days of parades, fireworks, the burning of enormous wooden structures, and of course plenty of drinking and dancing in the streets. This festival celebrates the feast of Saint Joseph every March and if you need to choose one festival to attend this is the one!

La Tomatina of Buñol

Held on the last Wednesday in August, La Tomatina of Buñol celebrates its 75th anniversary this year and is the worlds biggest annual food fight. Involving over 20,000 people and approximately 150 tons of ripe tomatoes, La Tomatina draws people from around the world to join in on this messy fiesta.

The April Fair of Seville

Spring in Sevilla is beautiful, and there is no better way to celebrate the season than a week-long festival featuring food carts, regional specialties, drinks, music, and dancing. The Feria de Abril de Sevilla began as a trade fair in the 19th century and has grown into a huge event, with over 1 million people from around the world visiting. Enjoy traditional Sevillanas, bullfights, flamenco music & dancers and much more at The April Fair of Seville!

San Fermín (Pamplona Bull Run)

No list of festivals would be complete without The Festival of San Fermín, or the Running of the Bulls as it’s more commonly known outside Spain. This festival begins midday on the 6th of July with the launching of a rocket by the mayor from the balcony of the Casa Consistorial in Pamplona. The festival honours the martyr Saint Fermín, with crowds of brave individuals risking life and limb as they run through the city followed by seven huge, angry bulls while crowds of spectators line the streets to watch. The goal of the runners is to touch as many of the animals as they can without getting trampled. Whether you participate or are just a spectator, the running of the bulls is an experience you will not soon forget!

To learn more about this or anything else, contact us today!

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How to greet properly Spaniards? With Olives, of Course.

November 28, 2017

How to greet a Spaniard? In Spain, olives are life itself. Greet them with olives.

Olives embody the spanish ifestyle, vibrant and vital, yet relaxed. A lifestyle where families share their food and their lives. A lifestyle where there are no separate plates. A place where time is forgotten for a while to bask in the warm glow of enjoyment.

Olives speak of outside air, rich with fresh breezes and the aroma of history itself. 

In Spain, olives speak to the heart.

In many ways. Through a richness of flavor unequaled in distinctiveness. Through a partnership with salad, meat and other foods that brings out the best in each. How many other foods have such good friends? And, like good friends, brings out the best? None other I can recall. 

In Spain, olives speak to the heart. 

In the passionate moments we live through, nutrition is not always the greatest of concerns. Olives turn us to it naturally with their gusto and flavor. Yes, we know that they are a centerpiece of the Mediterranean Diet that is good for the heart. That numerous studies have shown a reduction in heart disease when we follow this healthy diet rich in fruits like the olive, nuts, and vegetables. But, really, that’s not why we eat them.

That’s a message that speaks to our minds. And we listen. But the flavor and goodness we taste, like the laughter that comes from friends and family, the rich air we breathe, they speak to our hearts. For some things, we need no long lists of reasons.

We only need listen to the heart.

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5 easy appetizers with olives for this Christmas

December 4, 2017

The cities are filled with coloured lights. Christmas carols are playing on the TV, and in the shop windows hundreds of adorable gold and red ornaments highlight their products. Christmas is here.

And as sure that you have already thought about the menu for those days, today we bring you 5 simple appetizer recipes with olives, which will make you succeed with your friends and family at this year’s lunches and dinners without having to spend hundreds of hours in the kitchen.

#1 Olives villaroy style

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Difficulty: Medium

For this preparation it is essential to use unpitted olives to avoid accidents, but with that exception, you can use black olives, green olives, stuffed with anchovy, pepper or any variety you prefer. In a little while, you will have an unforgettable aperitif ready.

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 12 olives, béchamel sauce, egg, bread crumbs and olive oil
  • For the béchamel sauce, 60 gr of butter, 60 gr of flour, 1 litre of whole milk (some will be left over)

How to prepare Olives villaroy style

Prepare a classic béchamel sauce, mixing the same amount of butter as flour and beating it with the rods until you get a roux. We incorporate slowly the milk without stopping to move until obtaining a thick texture, similar to when we prepare croquettes.

Chop the olives in chopsticks to facilitate handling and we put them in the béchamel before it cools, letting it wrap. Once covered by béchamel, let them cool so that the cover hardens a little.

We remove the chopsticks from the olives once they are cold and we pass them through beaten egg and bread crumbs, taking advantage of to finish giving them a spherical shape. We put oil to heat and fry them until they are well browned. We put the chopsticks back and serve them while they are still hot.

#2 Gordal olives stuffed with peppers, almonds and blue cheese

Gordal is a large-sized green olive from Spain, which has a rich flavour and is perfect for stuffing, due to its size. The stuffed olives are very easy to prepare and at the same time they are impressive and can make any day during the week or meeting with family and friends something extra special.

Ingredients

 

  • 24 Olives from Spain Gordal
  • 3 Spanish Piquillo peppers, drained and cut lengthwise into about 8 thin strips
  • 24 roasted salted Marcona almonds
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin Spanish olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 sprig of thyme, left intact
  • 1/2 cup of shredded blue cheese from Spain, like Cabrales, or your favourite blue cheese.

How to prepare stuffed olives

In a bowl, mix the olive oil, sherry vinegar, thyme and honey. Stir and press gently on the sprig of thyme with the back of the spoon to release the oils. Set aside until you are ready to use.

Unpitted the olives using a knife. Make a cut lengthwise and gently remove. The olives must remain intact.

Place the olives on a flat surface like a cutting board with the slit lengthwise upward. Stuffed with 1 almond, followed by a strip of Piquillo pepper, which you must fix flush with the groove that was made in each olive.

Place the stuffed olives on a plate and add 1 spoon of the marinade on each of the olives. Let the olives marinade at room temperature for 30 minutes. Serve, placing the olives on a plate and cover with shredded pieces of Cabrales cheese or your favourite blue cheese.

#3 Olives, pepper and cheese muffins

If you are looking for a true contrast of flavours, these salty muffins are undoubtedly the best option. We recommend using Piquillo peppers and Parmesan cheese, although you can vary them with an equally delicious result.

Preparation time: 45 minutes’ preparation and 25 min cooking: 1h, 10 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients 12 servings

  • 300 grams of flour.
  • 1 table spoon of yeast.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 250 ml. of milk.
  • 1 egg.
  • 80 ml. of olive oil.
  • 60 grams of Piquillo peppers drained and cut.
  • 50 grams of green pitted olives cut into thin slices.
  • 60 grams of grated Parmesan cheese.
  • 30 or 40 grams of grated feta cheese.

How to prepare olives muffins

Preheat the oven to 190º. Prepare a mold for muffins, gives for 12 units. Mix flour, yeast, salt and pepper. Add the milk, the egg and the oil until they are well mixed and integrated. Add the cut peppers, the olives and the grated feta cheese. Sprinkle parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes until the muffins have risen and are golden brown.

#4 Baked olives with cheese

A very quick appetizer to prepare. Perfect as finger foods and dinners with children.

Preparation time: 35 mins

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

– 115 g of grated cheddar cheese

– 30 g of margarine

– 60 g of flour

– A pinch of pepper powder

– 24 green olives stuffed with red pepper

How to prepare baked olives with cheese

Preheat the oven to 200º C. In a bowl, mix the cheese with the margarine. Add the flour and mix well. Take each olive and surround it with a portion of this dough, remaining like a little elongated ball.

Put the olives thus prepared on an oven paper. Put it in for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.

They can be frozen and bake later, adding a little more baking time.

#5 Salad of olives and oranges

This salad is a magnificent combination of Arab influence, typical of Andalusian recipes. This recipe really shows the versatility of the Olives from Spain. You would not think of mixing ripe, tasty, black olives with sweet, juicy oranges from Valencia, but the combination is surprisingly good. The game of salty and sweet goes further with the addition of spicy red onions.

Ingredients

For the salad:

– 4 oranges from Valencia

– 1/2 cup sliced ripe black Spain Olives

– 1/2 small red onion, cut into thin slices

– 1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds

– 10-15 mint leaves, whole leaf or sliced

For the dressing:

– 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, freshly squeezed

– 1 tablespoon of orange juice, freshly squeezed

– 3 tablespoons extra virgin Spanish olive oil

– A pinch of hot Spanish pepper or cayenne (optional)

– A pinch of sea salt in a cup

How to prepare olive and orange salad

Cut the top and bottom of the oranges. Cut enough so that the meat inside is barely exposed. On a cutting board, place the orange down, then insert the knife blade into the space between the meat and the skin at an angle that matches the outline of the fruit. Work your knife around with a gentle saw motion, following the outline of the fruit and removing the skin enough to expose the flesh beneath. Use the knife to remove the additional pieces of the white part, as it is bitter.

Cut the sliced ​​oranges crosswise in a quarter of an inch thick, making beautiful slices. Place the overlapping slices lightly on your serving plate. Add ripe black olives, pomegranate seeds, slices of red onion and mint leaves.

Make the dressing by mixing the lemon juice, orange juice, olive oil, spicy paprika or pepper if used, and sea salt in a bowl. Pour dressing liberally over the salad and serve at room temperature.

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What is considered Mediterranean food?

December 14, 2017

Maybe when you think about Mediterranean food salads and hummus come to your mind. But the cuisine of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea is much more than this. It is an extremely diverse diet, considering that from Egypt to Spain, passing through Italy or Turkey, all these countries culturally similar but very different, share the Mediterranean diet.

For example, countries from Europe such as Greece, Italy and Spain, have more similarities; in the other hand North African countries, such as Algeria, Libya and Morocco share more ingredients and cooking styles.

The region of Middle Eastern countries, such as Lebanon, Syria and Turkey is rich in a wide variety of ingredients and spices, that Spain or Italy doesn’t have.

So what is considered a Mediterranean diet?

We consider Mediterranean diet to the type of ingredients with respect to its origin, as well as the general style of cooking. The food of the Mediterranean region is prepared with fresh, healthy ingredients that are actually good for you, like legumes or vegetables, and in smaller quantity or from time to time, foods like meats or sweets.

In fact, it is this perfect marriage of taste and nutrition that has made Mediterranean food so popular throughout the world.

For centuries, the residents of countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea have enjoyed a lower risk of certain cancers, reduced risk of developing heart disease and increased longevity overall.

In addition to the diet itself, daily exercise such as walking or riding a bike, is part of the daily life of the habitants of the Mediterranean.

The secret really lies in the balance between all these factors. As we said, the ingredients or foods chosen as the basis of the diet are proteins such as chicken, vegetables and fresh fruit. Little processed food, such as pastries or precooked food, and a limit on the intake of red meats.

Regarding the style of cooking, in the Mediterranean countries it tends to be cooked with olive oil, one of the healthiest fats in the world. It is not usually to cook with butter or other types of oils, which have no nutrients and are also bad for our health.

In addition, although frying is part of the cooking style, it is not the main one, since many of the best-known dishes of this diet is eaten directly fresh, or use techniques such as stew, griddle or oven, which help reduce the final amount of fat.

Other alternative methods of “cooking” widespread and common in the Mediterranean are seasoning or preserves, as in the case of olives, jams, cheese in oil, sausages or salted. They are ways to preserve food longer in a natural and traditional way.

Vegetables or fruits such as olives are really tasty and provide little fat

Another clear example of how the Mediterranean diet is lived is the time to have a snack. In countries with a Mediterranean diet, people tend to eat things like cold meat, vegetables or fruits such as olives, which are really tasty and provide little fat. Olives are the other great representative of Mediterranean food and something so common in the Mediterranean diet as “appetizer”. As it is said in Spain, the olive is “the queen of tapas”. So as you can see, even when it comes to snacks, the Mediterranean diet tends to seek balance.

It’s an art to eat Healthy, and the Mediterranean Diet knows how to do it.

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5 typical Christmas traditions of Spain

December 19, 2017

Christmas in Spain, as in the rest of the world, is one of the most expected holidays of the year. There are many aspects in common with the traditions of other countries, but there are other very specific that you can only live in Spain. Do you want to know them?

#1 Christmas lottery

Christmas in Spain begins with the much-awaited draw of lottery, “el Gordo” (the fat one) on the morning of 22 December.

Its history goes back to 1812, and it has the peculiarity that those in charge of “singing” the winning numbers are the children of the San Ildefonso school of Madrid with their unique intonation.

So every 22 December, illusion bursts into Spanish homes, who dream of being the lucky ones that win el Gordo, whose maximum prize has a value of 4 million euros.

Those who do not have luck with “el Gordo” of the Christmas Lottery have a second chance on 6 January with “El Niño” Lottery, which coincides with the Three Wise Men night.

#2 The Bethlehem

Maybe the decorative element that most characterizes Christmas in Spain is nativity scene portal, representation of the birth of Jesus Christ, custom coming from the catholic religion.

In every nativity scene the child Jesus can not be missing as a main part, together with the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph in a manger. Traditionally, this scene is accompanied by the mule and the ox.

If you want to expand, you can include representations of the Three Wise Men coming to Bethlehem or pastors gathered to worship the newborn. 

#3 Nochebuena

The Christmas Eve dinner in Spain takes place every 24 December. This dinner, prior to Christmas day, is a family affair and is usually celebrated in the homes of the Spaniards with the whole family.

Although the dishes vary according to each family and each area of Spain, there is something that is always true: it is a very abundant dinner, in which there are appetizers such as salads, olives, cheeses, cold meet, etcetera; main dish which can be some roast meat or fish and, finally the dessert, with a variety of sweets, including turrón and marzipan.

5 typical Christmas traditions of Spain

#4 Día de los Santos Inocentes

28 December is the Día de los Santos Inocentes (Holy Innocents Day), a day when practical jokes and spoof stories are everywhere in a way very similar to April Fools’ Day in the UK. The tradition has links, some think, to the biblical story of King Herod’s massacre of the babies (innocents) in a futile attempt to kill the infant Jesus. Others think it’s all a medieval fake, with the joke on Christians, but whatever the origins, practical joke victims in Spain are known as “innocents”, and as in the UK in April, television and the media join in. In these days of “fake news”, it might be increasingly difficult to tell, but for those who enjoy finding the fake story, 28 December is the day in Spain! Happy Día de los Santos Inocentes!

#5 Three Wise Men night

Finally, the celebrations are finished on 6 January, with the Three Wise Men night. This day is mainly dedicated to younger children, because on that day they receive the long-awaited gifts.

One day before the day of celebration you can see in the streets the popular Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos (The Procession of the Three Wise Men), when children take the opportunity to greet them and give them their letter with the list of gifts they wish to receive.

Afterwards, the children go to sleep and the next day find under the Christmas tree the gifts that the three wise men (Melchior, Gaspar and Baltasar) have brought them.

The typical candy of this day is Roscón de Reyes, cake that carries dried fruits in the form of precious stones that adorned the mantles of the wise men.

So… Feliz Navidad!

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Take a Mediterranean break

December 26, 2017

Our society has been infected with the “hurry virus”. Not only in the office or at work, also when we read stories to our children or have dinner with our friends.

We live in a permanent race in our daily life. Be excellent at work, take time to update ourselves in our professions, attend to our family and friends and be able to dedicate a few moments to ourselves. We want to reach everything and sometimes it is impossible.

We are addicted to speed and overcoming this addiction takes time. You can not slow down quickly, but we have 5 keys to get you started in the slow movement and turn it into your #MediterraneanBreak.

Breathe

Something so basic, that we forget to do because of the speed. Take a few minutes each day to take long, deep breaths. Close your eyes if you feel like it, or contemplate the beautiful view in front of you. Breathing well relaxes and makes you live in the present. You can do it even when you are doing activities, you will enjoy them better.

Sleep

Although each person has a biological clock, it is true that we need to sleep at least 6 and a half hours a night to be emotionally well and our attention and performance works efficiently. Take advantage of these dates to sleep more and better, your body will appreciate it. Your mood too.

Exercise

Stay active. If you do not go to the gym, you can walk, ride a bike or run outdoors, whatever you prefer. Doing exercises is very healthy, it will benefit your physical shape, it will help you to relax and to drain negative emotions. Look at what surrounds you as you do it, breathe deeply and be delighted.

Enjoy your people

You know there’s nothing more comforting than a good conversation with someone close to you. But with today’s busy lifestyles we forget to do it frequently. Dedicate time to affections and personal relationships, sharing moments and laughter with others makes you release endorphins, a tranquilizer that your body produces. It is a completely natural and free medicine.

Feed yourself

We talk about eating well. To take advantage of this time to cook slowly and to enjoy the process, that even the preparation might be a meeting between friends, savour the best products of the Mediterranean diet while you talk with a good beer and some olives.