Wine Tasting in Ronda area
visit a vineyard during your stay with us
There are 18 vineyards in the Ronda area producing small quantities of excellent wines with the D.O. Sierras de Malaga, category Serranía de Ronda. Tours cost on average 20 euros per person for tour, tastings, and tapita. Contact vineyard direct for reservation or ask us to do it for you.
This is no Napa Valley scene - no queuing, no hordes, no rush. This is Andalucia and life moves at a civilised pace!
Until recently there were just two vineyards offering tasting tours but most of the others have realised the value of enotourism and have opened to the public. But appointments usually have to be made and we can help guests of Los Castaños with arrangements. Tasting is relaxed and always includes a tapita.
One of the first to open its gates to the public was Chinchilla. John and I attended a half-day mini-course which was such fun (especially when John fell backwards off his chair – before the tasting!) and so informative. It includes a classroom component, then a tour of the bodega, ending with a wine and tapas free-for-all. They offer just vineyard tours as well.
Another excellent vineyard is Joaquin Fernandez. It is 100% ecological and a good visit. Another of our personal favourites.
The Museo de Vino in central Ronda is accessible and tells an interesting story. They have wines on tap, a costume exhibition and much more.
When you reserve your hotel room, please ask about vineyard tours so we can make reservations for you at the vineyards in Ronda. Please note that Los Castaños is not a vineyard and we do not do wine tastings here.
History of wine-making in Ronda
One Roman centre of viticulture was Acinipo, just north of modern Ronda. Coins dating to 1st century AD have been found as illustrated below – one side shows a bunch of grapes (looks more like an aubergine to me!) and a star, the other has two ears of grain on either side of the name Acinipo.
The late nineteenth century brought phylloxera and the demise of the vine throughout most of Europe. Cuttings had to be brought in from the Americas to reestablish the crop.
But the vine now flourishes in Spain and, in the last ten years, here in the Ronda area. The majority of the vineyards are in the countryside around the old Roman town of Acinipo, exactly where they were 2000 years ago.
Sherry Tasting in Cartajima and Jerez
Sherry, an Andalucian speciality
Jerez is bursting with sherry bodegas. You will be spoiled for choice. Best to reserve for a tour which vary in price but not expensive. Some offer lunch. Some have little mice that flourish on the wine! The Turismo Jerez site has the most complete information and if you have specific questions that we can research for you before your bodega visit in Jerez, just ask.
♥ Neither the word "sherry" nor the category exists in Spanish although more and more Spanish people have acquired the word to refer to the "vinos de Jerez," the wines from the area around Jerez.
♥ These wines have no vintage as they are made by the solera method which ages wine by fractional blending so that the end product is a mixture of the ages. The average age will increase as the years go by.
♥ Most sherries are based on the Palomino Fino white grape.
♥ At Los Castaños we offer a complete range of sherries from the dryest fino served cold from the fridge to the sweetest made from the Pedro Ximenez grape which makes a great dessert wine. Guests frequently start at the dry end and finish up at the sweet end!!
♥ In Andalucia, a fino or amontillado is considered the perfect pairing with appetisers such as cheese, boquerones, even Gazpacho.
♥ The town of origin, Jerez, is a lovely day trip away from Cartajima and there are many bodegas to visit, some with names that you will know such as Tio Pepe and Sandeman. Check for more on this good link
♥ While in Jerez, either before or after sampling several sherries, try to visit the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre.and its dancing horses. Even if you aren´t into horses, it is impressive.
Olive Oil Tasting Andalucia
Oleoturismo - visit an olive oil mill
At 856 metres, Cartajima is a little high for the olive to grow well. There are a few but not in commercial quantities. However, in nearby El Burgo you can experience the olive in all its variations and stages of production and, most importantly, tasting!
Aceites Gil Luna is a long established factory that produces Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO as it is called in cookbooks) both ecological as well as regular although why anybody would want regular when they can get ecological I can´t imagine. Perhaps a price thing.
Anyway, their charming manager, Mariló, offers guided tours and tastings which my guests have raved about. Here is a link to their website. You can either make your own arrangements or I can help you. Just ask!
And, while we are on the subject of olive oil, I came across this site which will answer any questions you might have about the production, consumption, selection...
Dining chez nous
Named Malaga's Best Inland Hotel by the Academia Gastronomica de Malaga
3 course dinner with amuse-bouche, coffee and chocolates is 30 euros per person. Please order in advance as it is pretty slow food. Generally served at 730pm for 8pm. Please advise dietary restrictions and food allergies, all of which can be catered for.
I have long been interested in food. In general. Wherever I travelled I had to ask people what they ate. In a different life I would have been an anthropologist of food and helped to make poverty history. But in this life, I love to feed people especially people who love eating ♥, I drive my small team crazy by experimenting when we have a house full of guests!! So far it´s always been OK but you never know ...!
At the moment, because of where we are, I am focused on a mixture (don´t like the word fusion) of Spanish and North Africa flavours and combinations. It´s what I call Western Mediterranean. It is simple, healthy, interesting featuring local produce - always lots of vegetables as that is my passion. Many guests appreciate this aspect after travelling in Spain as veggies are not high on the agenda normally. Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, not a problem as long as we know in advance.
Our food has received many compliments and last year we were awarded the Best Inland Hotel by the Gastronomic Academy of Malaga. I tried to tell them that my food was nothing special but they didn´t believe me as it is one of the most frequent comments in online reviews. Delicious, Delightful, Divine!!
My food is slow and from scratch so we always need advance notice either at breakfast time if you are already here or when you reserve for your first evening. As you can see there are other choices in the village so you won´t go hungry.
Wine and Food Festivals of the Alto Genal
enjoy pure traditional Andalucian fiestas
The Alto Genal is the place to be in November! Four of the seven small villages scattered around the Alto Genal valley have a special festival celebrating an important aspect of local produce. But this is Andalucia so there is plenty of joyful partying – eating and dancing and joining in the celebration.
CARTAJIMA – MOSTO
When? Last Saturday in November.
Mosto is a young white wine made in all the villages but Cartajima celebrates the harvest every year with a fabulous party! After the formal tasting by professional wine-tasters, the numbered-for-secrecy wines are distributed for the non-professionals to enjoy. Lunch and live music, stands selling local produce, verdiales (a local flamenco form), and of course a bar. Dance till the early hours fuelled by local food and wine. Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) here
PUJERRA – CHESTNUTS
When? First weekend in November
Over the weekend 1st and 2nd November, Pujerra will celebrate the chestnut harvest with all-day and all-night dancing and merry-making. Roasted chestnuts will be available all day – traditionally paired with a shot of anis – delicious. Tasting of over fifty products made with chestnuts. There will also be an interesting exhibition of traditional artefacts used by chestnut farmers. Don’t miss this lively event – stay with us in Cartajima, just 20 minutes drive away. Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) here
PARAUTA – RABBIT
When? second weekend in November
On the 10th November the residents of Parauta will be putting on their aprons to prepare their favourite rabbit and rice dish to share with neighbours and visitors alike. Of course, the inevitable Andalucian all-night dancing and partying and merry-making! Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) here
JUZCAR: MUSHROOMS AND OTHER EDIBLE FUNGI
When? second weekend in November
A 3-day fun conference exploring many aspects of fungi. Be aware, however, that Juzcar is now the world’s first (did someone say, and the last!) Smurf town and is a centre of mass tourism. To escape the blues, stay in traditional Cartajima while enjoying the fascinating fungi story. This is last year’s poster so don’t be confused by the dates! Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) here
The Bars of Cartajima
Experience village life and eat like a local
In Cartajima at the moment there are three bars, one with a restaurant - all very different. There is also the possibility of a fourth opening at the entrance to the village. If you go for a bar crawl you will meet most of the locals!
First meet Alicia and Bianca with their wicked fried mushrooms!
The Mirador del Genal is also known locally as the chiringuito which actually means beach bar and refers to the many bars set up along the Mediterranean shore on the beaches of the Costa del Sol. The rational is that our chiringuito is beside the swimming pool and until fairly recently just sold cans of soda and chocolate bars. Now it is a fully fledged restaurant with a complete, if fairly standard, menu. Run by Alicia and Blanca, the hours vary so be sure to ask us to check for you.
And now I would like to introduce you to the delightful Maribel and Antonio:
El Horno Frasquita is a charming bar, pretty sophisticated for this little village and very popular with the locals. It is the brainchild of Maribel and Antonio who are perfect hosts, extremely welcoming even if you are an outsider ♥. They have a range of tasty tapas which can also be larger portions - John and I frequently make a meal of their ensalada tropical and rusa, boquerones and salsichas in onion sauce. Blog report
And now, please say hello to Salvador. He´s actually quite smiley when you get to know him!
Bar Municipal, which is under the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall), is more challenging! It is where the men meet to play their incomprehensible card game with gusto and drama. The village comes to watch football particularly when Spain is playing and the roars of GOOOOOOLLLLL echo around the houses. Salvador has a short menu of tapas and will also make hamburgers and chips. Recent Australian guests loved it as they felt they had made real contact with the locals aided coincidentally by an encounter with a person wearing a T-shirt with kangaroos emblazoned on it!
Five Gastrotapa Bars in Ronda
Tapas with a Twist
Everybody loves a tapa or two but we tend to make a meal of them which is not what you are supposed to do. They are meant to tide you over the long gap between lunch and dinner which doesn't begin until at least ten in the evening. (Except at Los Castaños where we serve dinner at about 8 pm)
But I love nothing better than a meal of tasty morsels similar to a Greek meze - many parts, different tastes, crazy combinations. As Sancho Panza famously said: "Muchos pocos hacen un mucho!"
And where better to find that than at my first tapa choice in Ronda:
which means crazy tapas and they are. Guillermo and his wife Begoñia dream up incredible taste contrasts that will astound your tastebuds. He is a born raconteur and will entertain with his stories when he's not dashing from table to table. It is a small place and a reservation is essential. We can help with that or you can do so directly on his website. Tell him Di sent you! Open for dinner every day and for lunch every day except Monday and closed all day Sunday.
2. Gastrobar Camelot
is completely different. Not as personal. Much bigger. No need to reserve. A buzzy kind of place with outdoor indoor seating. No website but there is a Facebook page and lots of Tripadvisor reviews to check out. They have a wide menu which includes lots of conventional tapas. Open every day 11 am to 11 pm.
3. Toro Tapas
Not just a tapa joint but also a space with unusual, interesting exhibitions and events. Check out what Tripadvisor users say about here Open from midday to 2300 every day.
The most sophisticated place in Ronda with innovative, chefy tapas. If you can afford it, a must during your stay. Closed Monday otherwise open for lunch and in the evening.
The plates in this small place on the main road into Ronda old town are really too large to qualify as tapas but we love it so am including it anyway. Click on the link for all the information including phone number to make a reservation which is essential.
Bonus for those who read this far!
A small bar with a big reputation. A local bar in Ronda that we find thrilling but really don't want it spoiled and it's always full already with locals. But, we will take you there when you visit us. 🙂