A warm light pours over the ochre fields of Andalucia. It’s a perfect environment for olive trees, grapevines, scrubby oaks and acorn forests. A glass of sherry fino in hand, we leave the fireside and walk to the dinner table. Isabelle has just prepared a fabulous chestnut soup to go along with quail and Oloroso. We tell stories, and sometimes poetry is read, spontaneous and inspired from the adventure of the day. Each meal draws from the richness of the local terrain: Jamon Iberico from the Sierra of Huelva, the great sherry wines, brandy and vinegar from the region of Jerez, spicy olive oils, fresh seafood… ingredients we’ve been swooning over for generations.
Seville’s particular style lies not just in the grandeur of its buildings and squares, but in the demeanor—the constant quest for alegría of its residents. There are tapas bars and tavernas, oval platters full of gambas and boquerones, easy on the eyes and welcoming. We will taste all of it. Our host has endless joie de vivre. We luxuriate in fine accommodations in Seville and a Hacienda in the countryside. They are homes for us to settle into. Breakfast is served practically in bed.
The nearby Algarve offers a sweet taste of time gone by with succulent seafood, stunning fields of wildflowers and a bucolic Portuguese retreat waiting for us over the Spanish border. Drop beneath the surface with us for a handful of surprises.
Inspiration: The warm light and southern hospitality of Andalucia. Seville’s scintillating history and culture. Isabel’s fine cooking. The whitewashed Hacienda. Sherry, baby. Miles of olive trees. A trip into the Algarve, soft and discreet.
From my journal…
Andalucia, Seville especially, held a curious question in my mind. I imagined it sexy hot, flamenco infused, intense and steeped in bull-fighting bravado. Upon arriving, I found a civilized expression of southern style that I didn’t expect. Surprises at every turn. Vast landscapes of olive trees and sunflowers. Palamino variety of vines for the vinifiction of sherry. A Riad and a Hacienda that made me feel like a step back in time. Attention that was more than hospitality. I felt an uplifted genuine respect that I still consider beyond the norm. It keeps me coming back.