Local Cheese & Wine in Jaen, Andalusia

I don’t know whether it’s ever happened to you but on a recent outing with visiting family we headed to a local winery for some more of their fabulous Syrah grape red wine. The nicest Spanish Red I’ve had, and living in Spain I’ve tried a few of them – and then we find some great cheese to go with it.

Bodegas CampoAmeno

This winery or bodega – CampoAmeno – in the Sierra Sur de Jaen bordering on Granada province produces four reds, three whites and a rose with locally grown grapes. I’d had one of them in a restaurant in Alcala la Real and rather liked it. Then while visiting the fabulous Fortress La Mota there were a couple of different ones in the shop – we had to try them. My stepfather took a bottle of the CampoAmena Syrah back for a wine conoisseur friend who very much enjoyed it. So we then had to visit the winery shop to try all the reds before his next visit.

Bodegas CampoAmeno

Having sampled three of the reds, both hubby and I liked the same one best (always handy that!) So with stepfather visiting again the winery was definitely on our visiting list. We bought several boxes, not all for us, a presentation pack for said wine conoisseur and happy with our purchases headed into  Frailes for a much needed bar and beer. But as things happen and as wine goes with cheese, there was a cheese factory on the way selling it direct and – Quesos Artesanos de Frailes was open. We had to go in.

After sampling two – a cured and a semi-cured goat’s cheese made on the premises from the neighbouring goat herd’s milk we all liked the smooth and creamy texture of the semi-cured one, which has won many a prize, best.

Quesos Artesanos de Frailes

So back to the wine laden car laden with the cheeses we had the best pairing possible of locally produced and bought slow food and slow wine, both exquisite.

Quesos Artesanos de Frailes

Sadly to say neither lasted long and one of the cheeses took a journey to the UK and so adding a few food miles and making it not so slow. Ours didn’t.  It went from factory to car to fridge to stomach and there it was gone.

The up side of that is we live near enough and so have to go again – the down side we’re probably always going to have to do it now we’ve discovered both!

If you like cheese and wine I know a very good spot to shop.

Visit the Cheese shop website (in Spanish) the winery website  (in Spanish) read about Fortress La Mota and here’s where to stay in Alcala la Real – Atelier 88.

Starlight Reserve in La Gomera, Canary Islands

Where better to contemplate the universe than on an island which has the cleanest and clearest skies in Europe? La Gomera one of the seven larger Canary Islands offer fantastic starlight reserves for star gazing. Two of the world’s widest range observatories are on another of the Canary Islands – Tenerife because of the low level of light pollution over the Canaries.

La Gomera is least touristy of the Islands and it has many viewpoints with far-reaching vistas for both day and nighttime.

Playa del ingles, La Gomera, Canary  Islands


Star Gazing Apps

To experience the incredible star parade you should  download a virtual observatory app. Some of the popular ones are Star Walk 2, Sky Map or SkyView all of them provide detailed information and all you have to do is face your smartphone towards the constellations you want to learn about.

Cesar Manrique Viewpoint

A good place to  start in La Gomera is the Cesar Manrique viewpoint on the road to Valle Gran Rey. A perfect spot to spot the easily recognisable groups of stars –  Orion.   February and March are a good time for spotting stars  when see the contrast in colours at the edges of the stars, the reddish Betelgeuse in the shoulder of the giant and the blue Rigel in his foot.

Mirador de Santo Viewpoint

The next viewpoint is the Mirador de Santo in the hamlet of Arure. When it’s moonless night the complete absence of any light gives you a front row seat of the Milky Way galaxy.

Looking northwards in the early evenings of February and March you’ll be able to see Gemini, one of the 48 constellations of the zodiac.

Fortaleza Juan Jose Barrera, La Gomera, Starlight

Mirador de Alojera Viewpoint

The Mirador de Alojera viewpoint is the next stop on your stargazing journey and it is accessed by a narrow dirt track. From here you’ll see  two mythical and easily recognisable constellations, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor  which are also known as the Big Dipper and Little Dipper.

Garajonay Summit

The last stop on the La Gomera viewpoint route is the Garajonay summit which rises to 1,487 metres high and is an incredible spot, nearer the sky to see the panoramas of space.

The treasures of La Gomera go far beyond it’s beautiful beaches and its natural spaces, all you have to do is look upwards to see its stars.