THE WINE MUSEUM OF FONTE DE LA FIGUERA
That Sunday morning we drove through acres of bush vines to the wine museum in the little town of Font de la Figuera. “You will like the museum ” Robert said. “It is full of old winemaking gear and clay tinajas.” A smiling young woman opened the door and led us in to the cavernous but neat and tidy museum explaining the old winemaking process in excited Catalan. Robert translated. We were shown delicate reed sandals the winemakers wore when treading the grapes, wooden wine presses and rows of buried tinajas, clay jugs in which wine was made – similar to the qvevris of Georgia. We were the only visitors that morning but the museum is a rewarding place to visit.
HERETAT DE TAVERNERS
Our next stop was the Heretat de Tavernas winery. It stood on a small hill surrounded by neatly kept vineyards. A Spanish group was already there, waiting for our arrival to start the winery tour. A young man led the tour, giving a rather basic explanation of viticulture and vilification in Catalan. Again Robert translated. There was nothing new to see, it was like any winery anywhere else in the world. We walked in the vineyards, looked at the winery and sat down to taste. The Spanish group looked, sniffed and tasted the rather unremarkable wines. We kept a polite silence.
LUNCH IN FONTANARS DEL ALFORINS
We drove the short distance to Fontanars del Alforins to have lunch at the Julio Restaurant. Robert was keen for us to try a regional speciality – a kind of thick soup with rice and stuffed pig’s trotters. It was market day and stalls with local produce lined the wide main street. Robert bought a large chunk of goat’s cheese and a block of sheep’s cheese with a pink rind for our breakfast next day. walked up and down the street, peering in to shops and sat in the sun outside Julio’s and drank beer and ate roasted almonds before going inside for lunch. We drank Chardonnay and a Les Alcusses, a fine red from Celler del Roure and ate red peppers with anchovies, croquettes, pan con tomat and meat balls before the main dish and little chocolate cakes with coffee that followed it.
The siesta that afternoon in in Casa Montana in Bacairent was blissful. Nobody really wanted any dinner but we drove to Saro’s ancient butcher’s shop to taste her artisan sausages and fresh cheeses. The place had a party atmosphere. Saro, a slim and attractive woman in black, had closed the shop early and had cleared all the fresh meat from the counters. There were sliced hams, sausages, chorizo, bread, wine and cheeses on a table in the middle of the small shop. Adella and an English expat couple were already there and various friends and relatives including Robert’s grandfather dropped in to drink red wine and eat sausages with us. The chorizo was the best I have had for a long time and it was easy to forgot our earlier decision to skip dinner that night.
The wine museum is well worth visiting and Julio’s Restaurant is great. Saro makes great Chorizo. I would give Heretat de Taverners a miss. Robert of CoolFood Valencia arranged all my travel.