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Posts Tagged ‘fairs’

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Last weekend we decided to visit a Christmas Fair in Tivissa, so around midday we left home and headed down our little mountain valley along river road and out on to the main road.  We parked the car where we normally park for petanca and walked into the town. The first things we saw were a roundabout and bouncy castle, but where we wondered was the fair?  Now I should explain that when we say ‘fair’ in England we mean rides and stalls. However here it covers everything, so you never know what you will find at one.

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We wandered round until we found a street closed off. So being us we walked up it and found ourselves in a small square with several stalls. There were the usual cheese and craft ones including some wood carvings which were rather good. Then turning another corner and following the street we came upon the donkey rides. Then once more turning a corner we found the spot where Santa would be sitting on his chair ready to hear what the children wanted for Christmas. He hadn’t arrived at that time as he was still loading his sleigh for Christmas night.

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We carried on passing a very cold looking lady who was minding the blacksmiths stand who informed us the next demonstration would be around 5pm. From here we found a cheese stall and whilst my wife stopped to buy some I carried on to the next corner and lo and behold I had found the wine square…..

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Here were three stalls displaying their wines and one particularly caught my eye, it was from Darmos a little village not far from home, so my wife made an appointment to visit the following week. Now when we have been playing petanca at Tivissa my wife has often talked to the Alcalde (Mayor) about the local wines and this is one of the Cellers he mentioned, so I am looking forward to our visit.

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As you will be aware I have been waffling on about the fact that it has finally rained, well ok, not waffling more like ecstatic boasting.  Well this weekend was the Agricultural Fira in Mora la’Nova.  We like this fira (yep that’s how its spelt here) it has lots to offer and plenty of rides and side shows for kids both young and old.  So whats this got to do with the weather? I’ll tell you.

On Wednesday it rained, not just any old rain but heavy English on and off showers through the night. I know that because I had some buckets outside and I measured the depth, 4inches a lot of water.  All through Thursday it was grey, dismal and wet, the cloud cover making it dark and feeling like evening.  It continued like this through the day and this was supposed to be the first day of the fira.  It was so damp and cold that we lit our first fire of the year.  If this is an indication of things to come we will be wooding for the next two weeks.  Anyway, Friday was, according to the weather people, supposed to be the last cloudy day till the middle of next week.  WRONG……

I had said to my wife that we would go and have a mooch round late afternoon on Friday, then go again Saturday night as we normally do.  We both looked at the sky and thought if we don’t go now we may not get there at all. So around 5pm we set off for the fira, arriving in time to get a parking spot.   Now this fira is spread around the upper streets of Mora la’Nova with everything a farmer needs to look at on display. Tractors, farm implements, plus cars, the latest in fires, plus the newest thing for burning in them. Not forgetting the cheeses, breads, and of course the wine section.  However, the first place we make for is the shed that containes the horses at one end and ducks, chickens, quail and ornimental birds at the other.  This year there in one of the pens was a foal with its mother, which looked as if it had not long arrived.  The horses looked well and would stick their heads out for a scratch or just to be stroked, I like horses.  Next we had a look at the birds but I am not a lover of chickens and such, mind you there were some really weird looking ones there and expensive.

When we came out of the shed we were opposite the  first rides which were for the youngsters. One was a line of bulls which you sat on then they were moved side to side in the hope you could not stay on, lots of squeals and laughter from those on board. Next to this was a very gentle ride called Formula 1 which took a gentle course up, down and around a small scenic track. We spent a few minutes just watching these two rides no we did not go on any too much pernill and cheese.

We strolled round the streets towards the top of the town where the bars and eating places are. Mind you there were plenty of places to sit and snack or have a coffee.  I say coffee as the place was crawling with Mossoss (state police) NO drinking and driving here.   At the top end there were plenty of smaller versions of the large rides for the children, most of the youngsters seemed to be after the bungy jumping ride. Here they were strapped into a harness then the elastic pulled taut, told jump! and they were away, well they liked it and some were quite acrobatic.

We continued to wander up and down the streets, saying hello to our Spanish friends when we met them, it was a nice evening a little breezy but not cold, and the rain stayed away.  We then bumped into an old Catalan school friend Thomas. Very nice to see him and catch up on things, he looked well and insisted that we sampled  wine, ham and cheese.  I was driving and tried to explain to Thomas that I could not drink – just as some policemen walked past – but he was insistant so I had a small glass whilst Tom and my wife finished the bottle – I was definately driving……

After leaving Tom we wandered over to look at the stalls by the large hall, we did not go in as it was full of building stalls and I have done all that.  But what I did notice was a stand with fires on burning away, but they were burning alternative fuel.   It seems the Co-operativas have found a good use for the husks, shells and olive residue – they have recycled it as fuel for the fires.  Good thinking you might say but they mixed the bits with diesel then press it into small pellets so I am not so sure.  What they were actually selling was a machine to make the fuel. So trying to go green and disposing of unwanted bits and pieces like this is the way to go but using diesel?ummm.  My wife picked up a sample of what was on offer it contained bits if almond and cob nut shells and grape stalks, mind you the fires threw out a lot of heat.  We are going to try something similar out on our existing fire and will keep you informed how we got on.  Isn´t science a wonderful thig.

We then made our way towards the wine area. Just before we got there we passed a bread oven where different types of bread were being baked so we bought a cheese and herb loaf, very tasty. Then we were in the little square were the local Cellers showing their wines. It was nice to see old friends, Masroig was there, as were Pascona, and one or two of the others.  I was able to catch up on things and arrange a couple of visits, the Pascona Celler under Vinter Toni Ripoll is one of my next visits they make purely Tinto vino, I really have to visit that..

On our way back to the car we stopped to watch two very large rides that took you high up then dropped you back down, all lit up with happy screaming young ladies on board, however I doubt if they will be working today.  This morning – Saturday –  dawned grey and dark. Where was the sunshine that was promised? I was beginning to think I would have to put the generator on to help charge the batteries but around midday the sun came out.  However, it is the wind that is so fierce.  It has been roaring down the barank, gusting round the house and generally sounding unpleasant. We did notice when we went out last night that a tree had fallen from the railway embankment so in the back of our car is a saw plus some chain and rope just incase we meet a tree across the track.

I really hope that the wind is not strong enough to spoil peoples fun this evening, this is quite a good fira.  I enjoy looking at the tractors and farm implements whilst my wife likes the artisans stalls plus seeing friends.  As I am writing the wind is whipping past the front door and rattling the shed roof, it’s good here!

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Every year in January the town of Mora L’Nova holds an olive festival which includes an ‘esmorzar’ – breakfast to you and me – and something we would not miss.  In the past we have stood outside with friends eating and drinking red wine on grey days, cold days, sunny days, but always winter days. This year it was chilly but sunny here’s my view of it.

This is the breakfast. Half  a small cob loaf which has the inside scooped out, BBQ’d onion, garlic, tomatoes and a large sardine plus a bib.  This is how it’s made.  Into the hollowed out loaf you place the onion tomatoes and garlic then add the sardine cover with olive oil, replace the inside of the loaf, open mouth and eat….  Believe me,  it is one of the best breakfasts I know.   It is eaten standing at tables on which are plates of black olives, olive oil and red wine.  We were there with friends and met others also enjoying the morning.

You could eat as many olives and drink as much wine as you wanted. Refills of both were readily available, but no one drank to much. We went to the cafe just across the road for coffee, and sat in the sun before wandering to the hall to browsing the olive oil stands and see who had won what.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I came to the winning stand. This is the co-operative in one of the surrounding villages  where we take our olives to be pressed. I know the oil is of good quality and was very pleased to see they had won first prize. You can contact them on accitese@teleline.es or visit www.accitesescode.com   well done Francisco.

Inside the hall there was a ‘Moli de Oli’ competition to see who could make the best olive oil and garlic paste.  There were two rows of tables set out and both men and women took part.  A lady won but two men took second and third places,  one up for the lads.

The Moli de Oli

The Judges

The above photographs are in the following order: moli de oli, judges, winner, second place and third place.

Also at the breakfast were Dena and Keith.  Dena runs holiday apartments on the river front at Mora D’Ebro, and is a mine of information on activities, fiestas and such.  You can find out more by contacting her on  enquiries@riverebroapartments.com.

I have listed below more pictures of the fira I hope you enjoy.

So there you have it  from the bonfire, through the BBQ’s to the finished meal and the wine stand in between.  Bon Apertite.

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On The Way To Exhibition Halls

Yesterday was Sunday, warm, sunny and inviting, so what to do on such a day?  join your friends at a Honey and Olive Oil fair, so we did just that. This is a fair that happens every year to celebrate and promote the local honey and olive oil. Here you can buy oil and oil products such as olive pate and a very nice relish. With the honey you can buy everything from honey already in jars ready to sell or jars filled from large tubs according to your taste.  There was makeup, a rather nice honey based lip balm (so the ladies informed me) creams, lotions candles as well as honey beer.  It is possible to taste your way round the main hall and believe me it is well worth it.  There are different flavours of honey and oil just as there are flavours in wine.  Also on display were two stands which are part of the El Perello structure.

The Freesia Group

The Freesia Group a charity set up to raise money in the against fight cancer.  They are based in El Perello where the lady in this picture has lived for the last 19 years.  Very important people.

El Traginer Magazine

This is the El Traginer stand, staffed by two happy, cheerful people.  El Traginer is a local free Catalan  magazine, containing information besides advertising services and items and property for sale. It also advises you, in detail, of what is on and when with a  programme of activities plus their times.   This then is the  Mel i Oli Fira 2011.

Olive Oil

A Selection of Olive Oil

El Perello  is known for its Olive Oil and there were several producers displaying their oils.  These ranged from a pale green colour to an almost golden green.  One producer Joan Pinol produces their oil using the traditional stone crushed method. The olives are crushed by cone shaped stones then pressed through straw mats.  

 MEL (Honey)  

A Honey Shop - Cosmetics, Candles & Mel

I am under the impression that Honey or Mel as we call it here, is as important if not more so than the Olive Oil, possibly because El Perello is the main village producer in Catalunia. I also think that as it is a continuing, active, occupation which, unlike olive oil, where after the crop is harvested during November/December and the pruning time in March, the trees are basically left to themselves; bees on the other hand, cannot be left as keepers will tell you. It is an all year round occupation and the Bee Keeping Society is very active here.

A Display of Bees

One of the things they do is to get the children interested. In this way they not only see the bees at work, but how they live in the hives, the workers doing their bit, how the pollen is passed to them after collection and of course, the end results. Bees need attention to ensure they are healthy, and content, (angry bees are a bad scenario). An unhealthy bee can spell doom to the hive, so constant health checks are required, keepers are on constant lookout for mites that attack the  bees thus the children are made aware of the pit falls of not looking after the hives properly. This is also when the keeper can discover a new queen and, if caught in time, take her and start a new hive.  The queen is usually marked with either Tipex or nail varnish (I have it on good authority that neither harm her) so she is easily identified when checking the health of the hive and  production of honey. Afterall no queen = no honey. As nothing in this country goes to waste everything is used, from pollen through to honey, the people are very health conscious and know what is good and what is bad. They have been eco-friendly before the rest of the world even thought of the phrase.

 

Wine

 

One of the Wine Stands

 

As with all things country there is alway wine, lots of it and very very good.  Each region has its own distinctive taste to the wines produced, so it was nice to see a stand for wine distributor, disbegrup@terra.es  here you can purchase wines from around the region including the Cava’s and Mont Ferrant Brut Rose Cava. The other stand was Celler Batea from the Terra Alta region they had a fine selection of wines on display. No I could not taste any, for the one reason only, I could not get near enough!!!  When I finally caught the vinters eye, I managed to get information so a visit is in hand.

Herbs and Deli

Honey Candles

El Perello is a very interesting village, with Roman history, cave paintings as well as local history, with a Don Quotx windmill, so these deserve a really good investigation. Therefore I will at sometime be poking my nose in for a good look round.

   

 

   

 

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