June 6, 2012

Join us in Spain this October!

October 20-28, 2012
October 19-27, 2013

In this distinct region of southern Spain, we will find almond groves and lush valleys bearing figs, pomegranates, kakis and apricots. As we drive from the city of Malaga, higher in the Alpujarras, we will look down on to green gorges, gushing streams, and the white dots of villages.
Near to our home away from home, the small village of Ferreirola, we will find the fuenta, the ancient fountains that let us know we are truly off the beaten path.

Here we will breathe the freshest air and taste the countryside. 
The Alpujarras region is known to be a different kind of Spain. Muslim-influenced, it was occupied by the Moors for 700 years. Even after the Moors were expelled from Granada in 1492, they fled to these then-inaccessible hills, and remained hidden in their last stronghold for a further 70 years.

It was the Moors who introduced many of the ingredients that are central to Mediterranean cooking: almonds, oranges, rice, aubergines, quinces, pomegranates, artichokes and spinach. The local cuisine is uncomplicated and delicious. 

In October, we will take full advantage of the harvest. 


Program includes:

- Cozy accommodations in the mountain village of Ferreirola, and in the city of Granada.
- Group transportation between Malaga, the Alpujarras, and Granada.
- All cooking classes and most meals & beverages.
- Visits to local artisans, producers, bodegas and restaurants.
- Exploration of the famed Al Hambra Palace in Granada.
- Recipes, poems, conversation, and inspiration. 

Email us or call our booking coordinator, Merete, directly at 303-910-0897 for more information or to reserve your room.

Spain: Morning in the Alpujarras Mountains.

Peggy and Kim Schiffer explore the mountains around Ferreirola.
The first thing I do when I wake up in the Alpujarras mountains at the foot of the Sierra Nevada is put on my shoes.

The earlier the better, even with a brisk chill in the air. I head happily through the village and down the trail to the fuentes (natural spring). I know that the more I drink of this water, the better I will feel upon leaving. Lightly frizzante, the taste from these ancient fountains is cleaner than wine and even more delicious than...water.

The tiles on the fuenta have been in place for hundreds of years. It's a place of pilgrimage, and I often feel like a pilgrim when in the Alpujarras, staying at Casa Ana. The worn pathway that cuts through the village to the spring passes olive trees, wild figs, old stone walls full of wild edibles that peep out to be picked. The sound of sheep and their bells flowing down the hills is nothing less than bucolic. Gathering water for drinking and cooking becomes a job I look forward to. It's my way to commune with the chestnut tree, the "era," the old threshing grounds, to offer prayers to the low-lying clouds.

Whether day or night, this walk is magic. I am never afraid. And when I return, there is always something welcoming in the kitchen. I can smell the casuela cooking; the smoke rises from the chimney. My partner in Spain, Kim Schiffer, has the home fires burning with a smile on her face. Something sumptuous is always simmering in her clay pot.

Five days in these hills cooking, tasting, hiking and learning is restorative. Landing in Malaga, drinking cafe con leche and shopping at the covered market for our weeks supplies is colorful to say the least.

After our five days in the hills, Granada gives us grandeur, a step back into Spain's elegant past, while we taste delicious sherry, local olives, cheese and chocolate.

Getting a feel for remote southern Spain is an off-the-beaten-path adventure to be savored. As culinary pilgrims, we can wander into the kitchen for a brief stay, knowing that we will find friendship, hospitality, some ancient transmission, at least something good to eat. It's good for the soul.

With love,