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Category Archives: Culture

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

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

Why Spaniards Will Soon Be the Longest-Living People in the World

The future is bright for those who call Spain their home. By 2040, they are expected to surge past the Japanese as the longest-living people in the world. According to a recent study, the average lifespan of a person living in Spain will be 85.8 years – passing by Japan, Switzerland, Sweden and France, countries that have long been at the top of the list.

Why are Spaniards on track to become the longest-living people across the globe? The aforementioned study credits the eating habits of the Spanish people, as well as the culture – which includes plenty of time spent with family and friends.

The Impact of Community on Longevity

In Spain, it’s not uncommon to come across people gathering in plazas well after dusk, or in cafes and bars where comrades rendezvous. Rather than overworking, the Spanish prefer to spend their time outside of work with … Read More

Murcian Sweet Surprises . . . No Diets Allowed!

Who doesn’t like something sweet after a meal, or any time for that matter? And when you buy a villa in Spain you will have many opportunities to ruin your diet with these Murcian Sweet Surprises.

Paparajote
For foreigners this is a sweet surprise. It is a lemon tree leaf battered in dough of flour, egg, milk and shavings of lemon, which is fried and then dusted in cinnamon and sugar. Accompanied by a small glass of sweet wine it is a typical Murcian pleasure. However, don’t be deceived, the leaf CANNOT be eaten.

Asiático
Dessert or coffee? Now there’s no need to choose as you can have both, thanks to this two-in-one Cartagena original. Delicious coffee with condensed milk and brandy, accompanied by a few drops of Liquor 43, cinnamon, lemon zest and coffee beans.

Pan de Calatrava
This delicious dessert was born out of the Muslim influence in … Read More

Murcia Markets Make Buying Property in Spain Oh-So-Appealing

Just as grabbing a café in the morning or a tapa after work is typical of the Murcian lifestyle, the indoor and outdoor markets are also important aspects of the Spanish culture. For those who have lived here long enough, going to the markets may be second nature. But for those who are new to the area and are considering buying property in Spain, one trip to the Murcia markets may be the key to understanding what it’s like to live in this special corner of the world.

Visiting a Murcian Market

We love the way one writer explains the markets in Murcia, “awash with color and noise.” It’s a lively scene to be certain; shopkeepers and customers catching up on the latest news while negotiating prices in what always seems to be a fiery conversation. Shoppers rummaging through incredibly vibrant produce while fishmongers display their freshest catches of … Read More

Here’s Why You Should Find Property for Sale in Murcia Spain During Semana Santa (Holy Week)

Now that we’re in the middle of “busy season” for Spanish real estate, any time before the month of June is prime time shopping in terms of property for sale in Murcia Spain. But if you’re planning to travel here soon, we thought we’d at least encourage you to do so during Semana Santa, or Holy Week. This is one of the most exciting, meaningful celebrations you’ll experience in Murcia, and one of the highlights of living in the region.

What is Semana Santa?

Semana Santa is Holy Week. This year, it lasts from Sunday, March 25 (Palm Sunday) through Sunday, April 1 (Easter Sunday). In Murcia, you’ll find something happening every one of those days, whether it’s one of the processions winding through the streets or a play at one of the local churches. Each region in Murcia celebrates in their own fashion; some are more polished and … Read More