We travelled from Birmingham to Andalusia in search of the fine foods of the Alpujarras. In 2013 we bought a run down cortijo, Casa de Almendras, in the hills just outside the bustling market town of Orgiva. It took us a year to renovate and we generally base ourselves here in the winter. We've been busy in Birmingham this year with the studio taking off. So instead of meandering by car through Spain, we packed up our cameras, jumped on an airplane and headed for Malaga.
We've done quite a bit of work with Food & Drink this year. We photographed the Ludlow Food Festival, shot editorial for Moonshine & Fuggles and Catalogue for 42 Tea. We wanted to see what the festival scene was like in Spain. The fine foods of the Alpujarras were top of our list.
Feria de Artisania, Turismo y Agricultura Ecologica, Pampaneira
The annual festival in the white village of Pampaneira showcases the work of several local makers. The fact is that organic food is big in the Alpujarras.
The festival lasts for four days coinciding with a Bank Holiday weekend. It was very well attended and the stalls were doing a roaring trade. We love Tefusion.com, a company selling specialty teas and accessories.
Chocolates Sierra Nevada, whose Chocolate covered figs infused with Brandy are worth crossing Europe on foot for, was one stall that stood out for us. I love dark chocolate, figs and Brandy, put together they are so much more than the sum of their parts!
We spent time in the bars and cafes surrounding the market when we returned on the second day. Chocolates Sierra Nevada provided the highlight of the evening by serving Hot Chocolate with a generous shot of Brandy.
One thing stood out as being very different to the UK. It is legal to grow Cannabis in Spain for private and medicinal use. It is also legal to sell seeds and various hemp products. We were surprised to be informed by one stallholder that the hemp preparations on offer for medicinal purposes are excellent treatments for poor memory!
The Alpujarras are deservedly famous for ham, cured meats, wine and organic food and we think chocolate is about to make its way into that list. The Chocolate Factory, Abuela ili Chocolate is a highlight of Pampaneira. They make chocolate of every conceivable flavour on the premises. You can watch the process through large glass windows behind the shop counter. Chocoholic heaven. We will be back.