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.

Dixtinto Gastro - Arroceria

Jaen Restaurant ~ Dixtinto Gastro -Arroceria

Restaurant Dixtinto or to use it’s full name Dixtinto Gastro – Arroceria in the lively, downtown area of Jaen is a fun place to eat.

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Light and bright, eat inside or out with a choice of Mediterranean and Traditional cuisine as well as specialising in rice dishes  means making a choice is not easy to do.

Dixtinto Gastro - Arroceria

Manuel Frutos, chef and 3rd place prize-winner in the 2015 International Competiton for Valencian Paella, is from Jaen. Weaned on local extra virgin olive oils, the base of all Jaen’s gastronomy which this days are getting better and better. Not only the oils but the presentation of them too. Frutos also did his training in Jaen, so what better qualifications could he have. For a showcase of young, avantguard Jaen cuisine by a great upcoming chef this is a great place to experience.

Dixtinto Gastro - Arroceria

Dixtinto is an Oleo Tour Jaen Restaurant, a group promoting ‘Olive Oil Tourism‘ be it restaurants, spas, olive oil mills, producers and olive oill museums. Normally there’s a display and the possibitlity to purchase of extra virgin olive oils on all these premises.

Oleo Tour Jaen

Dixtinto

Just two of the extra virgin olive oils we got to taste, dunk lovely fresh bread into fresh and vibrant olive oils, each one different, is a perfect start to you meal. Then taster after taster of beautifully prepared, artistically designed tapas kept arriving pared with a very good couple of local red wines. When in Jaen……

 

I visited Jaen as part of a blog trip for the promotion for its 20 year anniversary as ‘Jaen Inland Paradise’. As I  live in the province I will be re-visiting Dixtinto, my sons too who first told me about it.

Boutique Hotel-ing Road Trip in Spain

One of the many things I love about living in rural Andalucia is the quietness. Peaceful countryside, vast vistas and empty roads. Open roads, sweeping views, gorgeous scenery. Mountains, valleys, olive groves and swathes of sunflower fields. Each small white town, lies as if planted in nature and can be seen as a dot in the distance growing larger. Narrow streets, plants cascading from balconies and pots…….. Read More.

Empty Road, Road Trip Spain
Empty Road, Road Trip Spain

Jaen’s Best Gourmet Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The Jaen Selection 2016 prize-winning extra virgin olive oils from Elaia Zait come with a fine price and story.
_mg_00025-copiaRealising that extra virgin olive oils (evoo)  weren’t being presented as a gastronomy/gourmet produce Elaia Zait set out with this challenge to produce that very product.

The gift presentation box Premium 2016 features the Jaen Selection, prize-winning oils, and paying tribute to the local painter Quesada Rafael Zabaleta and one of his best works “Formas en tierras de Secano” which can be seen in the painter’s museum in Jaen._mg_00033-copia
Deconstructing the painting into two parts gave rise to the two parts of the presentation pack which is made from olive wood and contains not only eight of the best evoos but a limited edition numbered lithograph of the original painting.

The presentation packaging places the bottles upright  like an olive tree and for this reason the inside also is made of gorgeously-grained olive oil. Only 100 of this series has been produced._mg_00018-copiaProduced totally in Jaen province using various providers it has been a careful and detailed project from the fine oil produced to the laser engraving and special varnishes used.

For more information and/or puchase contact Elaia Zait

Top Ten – Jaen Castle Hotel

Tripadvisor named the 4* Parador Santa Catalina in Jaen one of the top ten castle stays in the world. I have to agree, as my nearest Parador and one of my favourite views and coffee haunts, under a 20 metre high vaulted ceiling, I may be baised. I might even see you there.

Who wouldn’t fancy knights in armour, two-inch thick doors and windows plus dining in medieval style. This hotel really does have one of the best Parador views in Spain. While some say the standards of the Paradors are slipping as the staff have jobs for life, you cannot fault the ambience and decor of this castle in the air, Jaen Parador.