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Romantic Holiday Hideaway in Gaucín, Andalucía, Southern Spain

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I have to start this winter newsletter in true British style, by talking about the weather! Surprised residents of Gaucin woke up to these stunning views on 19th January 2017, the most snow in over 35 years.

snow in Gaucín

Ronda was cut off after 25cms fell overnight and in Gaucin the school was closed for the day. Sadly I missed the fun, being in London at the time, so these wonderful photos were taken by friends in the village.

snow in Gaucín
snow in Gaucín

Looking back over the 17 years I’ve spent in Gaucin I can only find 2 other photos with snow. A light powdery coating in January 2006 and an even lighter smattering in January 2009.

However, whilst looking through my albums, I found these lovely, and much more warming, photos taken on the 5th January 2011 on my way to walk in the National Park and the “Duna de Bolonia” (a gigantic sand dune), Costa de la Luz, Cadiz Province. We stopped to wonder at the fabulous views of Jebel Musa across the exceptionally calm Straights of Gibraltar. The weather was wonderful at Christmas in Gaucin this year, and it just demonstrates how varied and beautiful it can be in the winter.
View from Costa de la Luz across the Straights of Gibraltar
Duna de Bolonia
Costa de la Luz

While on the subject of walking, it makes me think of the delicious meals one can justify eating after exercise and I seem to have fallen into the habit of photographing food with my lovely new iphone! I hope this does not make you feel too hungry!
Jamon and Payoyo
Strawberry flan
Vegetable tagine Classic Spanish jamon and delicious “Payoyo”…special goat’s & sheep’s cheese from Grazalema National Park, …..a glass, or two, of wine, of course, Moroccan flat bread and olives.

Home made Strawberry flan for pudding.

My Casa Mosaica signature dish...Vegetable tagine with peas on top of layers of carrots, courgettes, potatoes, beans, peppers, tomatoes with spices, parsley and fresh coriander...Whilst the “Roman” guinea fowl behind looks on!

Whilst on the subject of eating and drinking in Gaucin: I was reminded of a Guardian newspaper article, some time ago, with the title...“Spanish views to thrill in heady Gaucín” ...Artists from near and far have been drawn to the hill village of Gaucín, but a flourishing gastronomy and some stylish places to stay make it a seductive destination for all...

July 2014 even brought Gordon Ramsay up to the village to record his reality show about the restaurant La Granada Divino (unfortunately now closed). Some Casa Mosaica guests may even feature, as we were there on one of the nights!

We are lucky to have some fantastic restaurants in Gaucin, including La Fructuosa, Lateral, and El Atico and in 2017, there will be another two new establishments opening. New restauranteurs in El Puente, which I don’t yet know much about but I’m sure some of you will remember Elisa who first opened Bonissim, the delicatessen in 2009 and followed it with an excellent restaurant in the Caballo Andaluz in 2012 with her son, the chef, Javier Barangé Mirangles. Elisa and Javier went on to start the hugely popular Casa Lola in Marbella between 2012 -2016 and are coming back to Gaucin this spring with “Azulete” in the old El Fuente restaurant with the nice terrace overlooking the village square…..I will report further next time.

Bodega Descales Viejos
Another wonderful place to visit during your holiday is the spectacular Bodega Descalzos Viejos, in the Ronda gorge. The modern winery is housed in a Trinitarian Monastery founded in 1505 and recently beautifully restored by architect and owner Flavio Salesi, including some wonderful frescoes. Most of the monks abandoned the damp building in 1664 to move into the city, leaving only a few to take care of the fertile land and orchards, where the vineyards are now planted. Follow www.descalzosviejos.com/historia.html to find out more about their history, wine and arranged visits.

In early November I gathered together a group of amigos and with the help of friend, writer and walking guide Guy Hunter-Watts, we enjoyed a spectacular 3 hour walk from Montejaque to the Bodega for a delicious lunch and a wine tasting. I had been wanting to go to the Bodega for years, having enjoyed the wine and looked down from Ronda into the picturesque valley many times. Guy is a wonderful guide who knows the area like the back of his hand as well as the local history, so his walks are always fascinating. His latest book “Walking in Andalucia” is published by Cicerone, or you can arrange a guided walk directly through him.
Bodega with friends
Bodega with friends

It’s time to start thinking about a bit of gardening and tree grooming at Casa Mosaica….I hope the more sensitive plants and new palm have survived the snow, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Kevin & Geoffrey were a bit surprised by the “strange cold white stuff”, but soon warmed up on my bed!
Kevin and Geoffrey
Kevin and Geoffrey

We are looking forward to the start of a new year at Casa Mosaica and very much hope to welcome back some familiar faces as well as meeting new guests in 2017. The Casita will be available for weekly rentals as usual after “Art Gaucin Open Studios” at the end of May this year. Please check availability here.

Very best wishes and Happy New Year

Emma, the Casa Mosaica Team and K&G.