|Fuensanta to Castillo de Locubin Road|
Frailes, you may have heard of it before and wondering why, was the home of Michael Jacobs author of 'Factory of Light' amongst many other works. His widow still retains their home in the tiny whitewashed town. Tiny it may be but the people are big-hearted and generous and it was my pleasure to join a group of Spanish bloggers (all young enough to be my children) and explore the lovely town and meet some of its characters on this XX Jornada Vinícola y Gastronómica de Frailes or XX Wine & Gastronomy Day.
|Michael Jacob's House and Tiny Chapel|
Our first stop was the Plaza del Nacimiento, the spring water source with crystal clear drinking water straight from the surrounding mountains and feeding the once hub and women of the town's meeting place, the old wash-house. An impromptu act of drunken flirting and serenading from Rafa's father (and his mother) created much amusement.
With around 18 fountains around the town, the tinkling of water, tiny cascades and drinking fountains surrounds our wander through pretty, flower-filled narrow streets.
But my favourite part of all was the tiny, white-fronted, flower-dotted cavehouse. Both inside and out was charming, an almost life-size doll's house.
But to the main reason of the day - the gastronomy fiesta local wine and cheese, there is both a winery and cheese factory from where you can buy their products on the entrance to the town. Our first sample was a home-made offering from a charming couple whose local esparto crafts were on display and his own wine, not on display but produced along with plastic beakers for a decent-sized sample!
I would have bought some if it was for sale and not personal consumption! A very good start to the sampling session and fabulous handmade creations too!
At last to the marquees and feeding time of the 3,000!
Locally prepared sausages, chorizos and black puddings of colours I'd not seen before, great cheeses and a great local red.
Followed by a real mountain dish for those cold, hungry workers - white bean stew, a huge plate of cooked over the coals pork and three different pastries all made with extra virgen olive oil for the dessert I couldn't possibly manage. An amazing achievement for a town of around 1,000 people, a great atmosphere and lots of fun. Look out for me at the 21st festival in April next year, I'm sure to be there.
You can of course sample Frailes and its cheese and wine any time of year, it's a lovely place to explore. Where to stay in the Sierra Sur de Jaen? My holiday rental Casa Rural El Reguelo of course!