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July 3, 2022, 9:42 am
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Yearly Archives: 2022

Tinto de Verano: The Refreshing Taste of Spain

Enjoy a refreshing Tinto de Verano on a hot Spanish day
Enjoy the Taste of Summer with a Refreshing Tinto de Verano

Looking for a refreshing drink on a hot summer day? Try Tinto de Verano. This traditional Spanish beverage is full of flavor and lower in alcohol than most drinks, making it a great choice for those who want to stay cool and refreshed. Plus, it’s quick and easy to make, so you can enjoy it right away.

Tinto de Verano translates literally to “red wine of summer” and is a Spanish favorite. It is as refreshing as Sangría, but without the fruit and with a bit more fizz. The sweetness of the lemon soda balances out the red wine perfectly and the ice helps to keep it cool. Tinto de Verano is a simple recipe that can be easily adapted to taste. As long as it’s sweet, fizzy, and lemony, it will be delicious.

How To Make It

It … Read More

“Ventas” – The Spanish Roadside Restaurant!

The Spanish roadside restaurant (venta) offers traditional cuisine at affordable prices

Living in the region of Murcia, you may have driven past a number of roadside restaurants (ventas) next to petrol stations without giving them a second glance. I did the same, but that is until recently when I discovered my first one – the Venta el Puerto 2.

Although I didn’t discover it so much, I arranged to meet someone by the petrol station next to it (off the A-30 exit 155 to Corvera). Arriving early, I ventured in, initially somewhat reluctantly as its exterior appearance is …. well for want of a better word let’s say it is not exactly quaint looking. 

But inside was a revelation! First, it was nicely busy with a lively vibe and a wonderful mix of clientele. There was a smallish area hosting a delicatessen shop with local products, an impressive selection of Jamóns (ham), and a great range of wines. There was … Read More

Easter Celebrations in Spain – Semana Santa!

There are so many things to do in Murcia during the Easter celebrations with all the cultural traditions of Holy Week (Semana Santa) that is special to Spain. This includes some amazing processions of people carrying an assortment of floats, wearing beautiful costumes, and conical hats! They often wind their way down narrow ancient streets, full of lots of character.

Semana(s) Santa

Holy week festivities usually begin on Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) and finish on Easter Monday (Lunes de Pascua), and you are likely to find lots of different processions on each of the intervening days. On Holy Thursday (Jueves Santo), for example, all of the church bells are tied up so that they will not be rung again until Easter Sunday.  

Palm Sunday

Celebrations begin on the morning of Domingo de Ramos when people go to church carrying either a palm or an olive branch to be blessed … Read More

Cieza in Bloom

Springtime in Cieza

Spring in Murcia comes much earlier than in more northern parts of Europe. Here, winter is over almost as soon as it begins. While we can find ourselves enjoying a log fire at night, February is normally full of beautiful warm days with stunning blue skies. A perfect time to go exploring and the Cieza Spring blossoms should definitely be added to the list!

In spring our attention turns inland and it is the turn of the Floración de Cieza (fruit tree blossom season), up around the lovely town of Cieza in northern Murcia. This area becomes one of the most picturesque imaginable with thousands of acres of the most vibrant blossom displays. Many of these hundreds of colorful orchards are framed by a stunning background of mountains and river valleys.

A Season to Celebrate

The blossom season usually starts in February and ends in early April … Read More

A Day Trip to Jumilla

Visiting a winery is a must when planning a day trip to Jumilla

Tucked between Andalucía, Castillo la Mancha and the region of Valencia, Murcia is a gateway to Spain. But the region has its own distinct culture and subregions, including Jumilla in the Murcia’s northeast. Widely recognized for its wines, a day trip to Jumilla is not complete without a visit to a winery or two but Jumilla offers distinct pleasures – a restored 15th century castle, Roman and Arab ruins, a notable Holy Week, and restaurants that serve a taste of northeast Murcia. And it’s only an hour’s drive north of Los Alcazares and Costa Calida, Dream Casas’ home. Retiring in Murcia can be relaxing but with towns like Jumilla so close by, adventure is calling.

Wines of Jumilla

In Murcia and especially in Jumilla, a Denominación de Origen or quality-controlled region, the prime grape is Monastrell accounting … Read More

Winter Walks in Murcia

Winter walks in Murcia allow you to explore the breathtaking landscape of the region.

One of the most popular reasons for buying that dream villa in Costa Calida is for the outdoor living which makes such an improvement to your quality of life. While the Camino de Santiago in the North of Spain is the most famous of Spain’s longer routes, the winter is probably not the best time of year to hike it. Fortunately, for those of you who enjoy walking, there are also plenty of opportunities more local to Murcia. This time of year is ideal as it is usually dry and sunny and not too hot.

Great Variety

Murcia offers some breathtaking landscapes whether you want to hike along a mountain trail or find a wilder clifftop path. There are some great regional and national parks to explore. Yet Murcia’s landscape is diverse enough that you can … Read More

Spanish Vermouth Hour

drinking vermouth
Spain has a long tradition of making and drinking vermouth.

Like its neighbors to the north (France) and east (Italy), Spain has a long tradition of making and drinking vermouth. Vermouth, or white wine fortified with herbs and spices, is widely known for its aromatics, characteristics sought after in American cocktails. In Spain, vermút (no “h” here) has its own hour of the day and its own bars, known as vermuterias where the aperitif is enjoyed straight from the bottle, right alongside beer and wine – a drink to be enjoyed before dinner.   

Vermouth Styles

Though the entire category has exploded in recent years to include a diverse range of flavors and styles, vermouths typically fall into one of three categories: sweet (red), bianco (white) and extra-dry. Sweet red vermouth, the style most popular in Spain, is what is typically added to the classic Manhattan cocktail. Bianco vermouth … Read More