A stomping good time

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 We have been on our travels again. We were going back to Spain to have the house re-rendered and repainted and just as we were about to leave we received an invitation from Bodegas Lecea in San Asensio in the Rioja region to an end of season grape stomping party. Who are we to refuse an invitastion like that? Also, the date of the party was 2 days before our ferry home so it was a perfect opportunity to catch up with José Camára who we had met in May this year just as he was about to open his own winery.
Outside Bodegas Lecea tents and stalls had been erected selling food and locally made goods, a cross between a hippie fair and a German Christmas market. We picked up our engraved glasses and tickets for 4 glasses of wine each and had a wander around. Food or wine? Dilemna.
A few wines, a bit of shopping and then onto the grape stomping. This was a on a much grander scale than our big red bucket but just as messy and as much fun. The grapes were piled in a huge cement vat and while we ‘trod’ from above some poor guy shovelled the vines below continually stacking and piling them back up on top. As the juice squished between our toes  the stomping was messy and sticky on our legs we were having so much fun, but spare a thought for the poor man beneath us, he was getting covered all over!
Thank you Lecea, you put on a good show. It was a fantastic day.



The following day we met up with José  in his new winery Bodega Del Tesoro in Cuzcurrita del Rio Tiron. As we drove into Cuzcurrita all we saw were what looked like really small, really old, run down houses. We drove past several times before we realised that these were the entrance to the winery. These places really are unique. The house fronts disguised the entrance to caves and cellars. Inside they were huge! When José bought his winery it was derelict and in just a few months he has made a miraculous transformation. It is amazing inside and his wine is absolutely first class.

José had just bought another winery next door which he plans to turn into a wine bar. It looks like we’ll be coming back. Good luck José, you really have created something very special.


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The Grape Harvest

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Thanks to the heavy rains this winter we have had an absolute glut of fruit. We’ve given loads away, frozen heaps, eaten tons, but there’s only so many figs a body can eat, right?  We had got to the stage when friends would run when they saw us coming with a carrier bag so we decided that we would have to try something different or they (the fruit, not the friends) would all have to go on the compost. So, after air and oven drying pears, making fig jam and chutney, and eating them in various forms of yogurt,  I scoured the internet, begged recipes from friends, and set about making our own hooch. I made 2 types of pear vodka (one spicy, one sweet), preserved figs in brandy, and then cast a beady eye towards the grape vine.



For the first time ever our grape vine was struggling under the weight of fat, succulent, pendulous clusters of juicy sweet black grapes. It was crying ‘help me!’ every time we passed by. So, buoyed up with the knowledge gained from our trip to the Rioja region earlier this year we decided to have a go at making our own wine.





We bought a big red bucket and set out early before the sun got too hot chopping off the ones in the camino before setting about the garden. We filled a 25 litre bucket!




Within minutes it was wheelbarrowed into the house to be trod. Yes! a bare footed stomp to extract every ounce of juicy sweetness. My mum would have had so much fun with this. I was chuckling at the memory of her laughing as the grape skins squelched between my toes and I sank lower and lower into the bucket. It was as much fun as you thought it would be mum.

Right now it’s fizzing and popping away in the bucket and smelling absolutely wonderful! I wonder if the family will be brave enough to try it at Christmas.

Watch this space.

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Hello – it’s me :)

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This is my first attempt at blogging. I’m very new to this so please be patient with me for any mistakes, mishaps, or general ditziness.

Let me tell you a little about myself. I am married to Adrian, have 2 daughters (with spouses), and 3 grandchildren who fill my life with love and laughter. Somewhere along the line we made the crazy decision to buy a wreck of a house in Andalucia and so now we flit between our permanent home in the UK and our happy place amongst the olive groves of Southern Spain. I am in love with both places. Spain, the country, her people, the culture, art, food, and wine hold on tight to a huge chunk of my heart. I absolutely adore Spain. Other things I like? Well, I love travel, cats, foxes, Christmas, snug winter evenings by a roaring fire, and family time. Adrian will tell you that above all I like swearing at the computer when I get things wrong (which I frequently do.) That’s me in a nutshell. Oh, and I write.

This has been an exciting week. On Monday we had a few friends over and it turned into an impromptu party. Isn’t it amazing how spur of the moment things turn out to be the most fun? We had a great time, and then on Wednesday I was offered a formal contract to publish my first 2 books. Excitement doesn’t begin to cover it.

We’ve not had time to sit and reflect properly on what it all means as we’ve been busy with builders all week. We now have hot running water in the caseta, a toilet that functions without our feet needing to be in the shower, and a monstrous structure on our roof! It’s all good.

I will be blogging about our life here in Spain, our travels, food, lifestyle, and sharing adventures as they happen. I hope that some of our travels may inspire others to make similar journeys. Life should be fun, don’t take it too seriously.

Thanks for dropping by, please call in again soon.

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