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BonVivant

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    Age is of no importance unless you are a cheese... (!)

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  1. BonVivant

    Dinner 2019

    From before the holidays: Used one of these After Alajar I moved on to Aracena. After a massive and rich lunch you just want something simple for dindin White thing is queso fresco
  2. BonVivant

    Lunch 2019

    From before the holidays. Potato dumplings with Sauerkraut and crispy fried Speck. Big and rich lunch in Aracena. Top notch jamon and good tomatoes. A piece of Iberico loin and 3 ribs. Trotters Good restaurants usually have a bunch of olive oils for you to try. Spaniards eat a lot of things with the oil. Well, they have got a match. Cinco Jotas is the most famous jamon producer in Jabugo. "5J" means top notch jamon. "J" stands for Jabugo. Jose Vincente, the cook and owner, showed me around the kitchen and posed for me. We had a long chat after lunch, his son being our translator. He does all the cooking and is the only one in the kitchen doing everything. He asked if I liked the tomatoes. Of course I did. Said he used good tomatoes, even skinned them. He uses only good stuff. Meat, jamones, oils etc. His restaurant is well-known in Aracena, long before the tourists found out about it. Proud cook and his sons.
  3. BonVivant

    Lunch 2019

    Each pig requires space the size of a football field. The terrain is vast and hilly, this is one of the reasons Iberian pork is so rich and flavourful. The pigs have the space and the hills to forage for acorns (and other edible things) in their 2 good years of life. The farm must have minimum 80% of acorn producing trees (specific types of oak). Rigorous quality control, strict regulations and craftsmanship. The taste is the proof. There are 4 Iberian ham producing areas in Spain with DOP, and Jabugo is the best. When you buy the ham, the good stuff is most probably from Jabugo, and the price really does reflect the quality. The terrain is so vast, if you are lucky they are near the fence. They saw that I had acorns... the whole family came to the fence. Next time you go to a restaurant and order "Iberian ham", ask what colour tag the leg has. For example, black tag is 100% Iberico. The tag should be attached to the ankle. This explains the classification of Iberian products. 100% Iberico de bellota (acorn fed). The tag should not be removed as it's meant for identification. More ham and tomatoes. My last lunch in Alajar village before moving on to Aracena, a sierra town famous for the ham and an incredible cave. Lizard cut And more tomatoes doused with powerful, peppery olive oil.
  4. BonVivant

    Lunch 2019

    Yes, 6 euros is standard price for tomate aliñado in the Sierra, it can be up to 8.50 but the tomatoes and olive oil they use are both of good quality. Here in Sevilla it's rare to see tomate aliñado on the menu, and when you do the tomatoes are so-so. After 10 days in the Sierra eating the best Jamón and the best Ibérico pork Sevilla is a big disappointment. No wonder Sevillanas come to the Sierra in droves at weekends to enjoy Ibérico goodness. If anyone is coming this way please do yourself a big favour and drive right through Sevilla, don't stop until you see any village in the Sierra de la Aracena. You will enjoy the best pork, tomatoes and olive oils! Saying this because I deeply regret not staying in the Sierra the whole time. I should have come to Sevilla the night before flying out.
  5. BonVivant

    Lunch 2019

    Lunch at one of the village's watering holes. Bar Roman has their own pigs and the food is fine for a typical local bar. It's dingy and empty inside but there are no smokers. Ham from own pigs Veg stew. A typical tapas dish in this area. Ibérico pork meatballs I'm in Sevilla now and missing the low price in the Sierra. Price-quality-service-portion size ratio is far better in rural Spain.
  6. BonVivant

    Lunch 2019

    Lunch at the most visited restaurant in the village. Well-deserved popularity! The 3 things I always try to eat more of in Spain are olives/oils, tomatoes and ham. There are more domestic tourists than foreign ones so if you run a good restaurant you'd better use the best (or at least very good) quality of those 3 ingredients as Spaniards are particular about them. Another reason people come to Padrino for is his Jamón Ibérico. In this ham-producing area it's common some bars and restaurants have their own pigs. Chard stuffed with Ibérico pork mince Shoulder steak There's a reason people from Sevilla and other parts of Spain come to Sierra de Aracena area especially for the hams and fresh Ibérico pork. How juicy and succulent it is. Flan of pine nuts. One of the most common trees in the area. They have fresh wild mushrooms now. I missed them on the way in.
  7. BonVivant

    Dinner 2019

    Finally, a proper dinner at one of the village's restaurants. Craft beer is from a nearby village. The best tomato and olive oil dish so far. I returned the next day just to eat it again. Assorted Ibérico charcuterie. Jamón, loin, blood sausage and "choritho". "Pluma", the Wagyu of pork, the most buttery cut, comes with a thin disc of foie. Boletus sauce in the background. The restaurant is inside an old mill. Some tools are still there but it's a non working mill.
  8. BonVivant

    Lunch 2019

    Lunch break on a hike to Aracena. Coming from a village of 700 inhabitans to a town of 8000 almost did my head in. Having not seen a face all day it was too much, all the people and noises all round me. Rosa tomatoes "Little Flemish" or "little flamenco dancer"? Looked it up when I got back... Basically, it's a deep-fried roll of pork schnitzel (very thin piece of pork) and ham. In this area the pork bits are all Ibérico, of course. Then I walked through the cork and pata negra farms back to my base village Alájar where I could hear the sound of silence again. Sierra villages are the kind of place in which every person you come across takes the time, even when in conversation, to say hello.
  9. BonVivant

    Lunch 2019

    Lunch in pretty Linares, population around 300. There are 3 places to eat and this was the first one I saw as I was emerging from the hiking trail. Cold potatoes marinated in stock (I think). Pink tomatoes are common in the area. Minced pluma with mushrooms. Pluma is very high in fat, the Wagyu of pork, the most prized cut. What are the typical Iberian pork cuts? see one and two. Lunch break in another village, Fuenteheridos. The people living in this part of Spain are so proud of their pigs and hams. And I came here especially to eat them. The same plate costs 10 euros more in a bigger town 30 minutes from here. Can't get enough of tomatoes and olive oil. Something different for a change. An Andalucian classic: spinach and chickpeas. "Secreto" is a succulent cut of pork. @Franci In Jabugo they live and breathe jamon. The village main square is called "ham".
  10. BonVivant

    Dinner 2019

    I go hiking every day and only have energy to drink beer by the time I get back. There are 4 restaurants in the village and 3 are open from Fri-Sun (Sun for lunch only). Yesterday none was open. My dinner looks like this on most days. Jamón Ibérico and hard sheep's cheese bought in Jabugo
  11. BonVivant

    Lunch 2019

    Did a 27km/16mi hike to Jabugo and back. The moment I reached the border of Jabugo village. Many years ago it was in Portugal where I had my first taste of exquisite Jamón Ibérico de Jabugo. I looked it up and thought "one day". And here I am making my Jamón dream come true. What to eat in one of villages famous for the hams in all of Spain? Ham is in many things. This is chips with soft egg topped with ham. Presa is a shoulder cut. Juicy and succulent.
  12. BonVivant

    Lunch 2019

    I've moved on to rural Spain after taking 4 different buses from Tavira, Portugal. Had a simple lunch of jamón whilst waiting for the 4th bus to reach my destination Alajár. Hand-sliced jamón, olives, bread and beer. This is one of the most basic meals here in the heart of jamón producing Sierra de Aracena. Even the supermarket is called ham. Last snacks in Tavira Portugal has relaxed alcohol laws. Half the menu is alcohol and this is a pasty shop. Did an 8hr hike today... Oh my legs! More photos of Jamón can wait.
  13. BonVivant

    Dinner 2019

    Rural Spain, Alajár, in the Sierra de Aracena. One of the least visited corners of Spain. If you don't like silence and the simple life then you'd be extremely miserable here. Meanwhile I go to extraordinary lengths to avoid people and noise. Like this! The only restaurant in the village that opens for dinner on weekdays doesn't open until 9pm, so I was drinking some beer by the pool until then. From where I was sitting. Hiked to the white arch up there today for marvellous views of the village. Finally dinner. Spanish olives and oils are the best to me. Sabores de la sierra.Only Ibérico pork products here in this area of Spain. If you want normal white pork then there's no point and you've come to the wrong place. Braised pork cheeks, with sauce underneath. Pan-fried pork fillet. Ibérico pork is dark and tender it's fine to drink red wine with it. Last rooftop picnic in Portugal. Black pork charcuterie from Alentejo state (Portugal has the same Ibérico black pigs as in Spain). Fresh goat's cheese and Portuguese craft beers
  14. BonVivant

    Lunch 2019

    Cataplana for 2 and it's enormous. A seafood stew speciality of Algarve region. Big prawns, clams, tuna, octopus, cod and potatoes in a rich tomato broth. It was actually in Santa Luzia. My bike next to the sign. Only natas. Oranges are in season at the moment. All the cafes and snack bars juice them to order.
  15. BonVivant

    Dinner 2019

    Dinner was easy. We started at 5pm eating snacks and leftover ham and cheese with beer. Presunto is Portuguese equivalent of Jamón. Frango assado is roast chicken over charcoals. Then big prawns and bitter leaves after a few beers. I got enough prawns for lunch later today because the town shuts down on Sundays and most restaurants are also closed on Mondays. Piri-piri sauce is OK but not as hot as the fresh stuff I got at the market the other day. One last paper cup of wine then we had to flee from the smokers (they are every.where. aren't they). The sun was already well below the horizon behind me.
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