How to Live a Good Life en estilo de Costa del Sol

So there I was, comfortably situated on a large terrace with a glass of Barbadillo as tiny twinkles began to appear in the distance.  It was nearly 9PM but the skies were still light enough for me to see and appreciate everything around me, including Morocco across the water.  I’d forgotten all about my long journey that included two flights and a bus ride.  I wasn’t tired at all.  I was thrilled in fact, to be sitting there in the mountains above Marbella looking over to Morocco and Gibraltar.  I know.  I couldn’t quite believe it myself.  How did I end up here?

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There are some friends in my life I have no idea when or how exactly we met and became close.  Señor Jorge is not one of them.  I can trace our meeting back to the cold winter of 2005 in New York City, to a particularly engaging Spanish conversation class with a passionate and proud Andalucían teacher named Marta.  It was also in that class that I met C who, along with her husband JP, has become a great friend to me as well.  The good señor and his lovely wife S. are world travelers and adventurers, who spend half of the year in Manhattan and the other half in Marbella.  I usually have the pleasure of seeing them in New York (or in India- see that post here) but I didn’t want to let another summer go by without taking them up on their generous offer to visit them in Costa del Sol.  I suppose it’s appropriate that it was a Spanish class that marked the the beginning of our nearly decade-long friendship and now, I was in Spain at the start of my summer with them.

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It was a summer of many “first”s for me, that included new places as well as new culinary delights to taste and experience.  One of those things was what I was drinking (and kept drinking for the remainder of my stay in Spain), Barbadillo.  I didn’t get to see señor Jorge’s wine cellar, but I can and do attest to the fact that endless bottles of Barbadillo, jerez (which I finally developed a liking do after this trip), and vino tinto appeared endlessly everyday.  Barbadillo, I learned, comes from the Cádiz region of Andalucía.  It’s made from Palomino, the same grape that is used for jerez (sherry).  Pale-yellow in color, it drank very clean and fresh.

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I also learned that there is a very large group of Brits that live here full time or at least a good part of the year.  But tonight for dinner we were a mixed bunch, my hosts being from Northern Ireland originally, J & C (British-American pair, visiting from the Upper East side of NY), M & A (another British-American couple who live in Marbella full time), and me.  J & C were due to leave in a day’s time but M & A were going to be accompanying us on our road trip.  What fun!

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As the sun began to make its descent, señor Jorge built a fire and in a blink of an eye produced perfectly grilled pork tenderloins.

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We watched the sky turn orange and started on our appetizers – homemade boquerones.  My favorite!  Oh, how I missed boquerones

IMG_8514I watched señor J make it again the next night but I honestly doubt that I can duplicate what he did back in the States.  Another glass of wine.. and then over to the outdoor dinner table, where I was too busy eating and having fun to take more photos of our lovely meal.

But, I had to take a photo of THIS.  Torta del casar!  Another first for me, a really gooey stinky sheep’s milk cheese from the Extremadura region of Spain.  Our lovely hostess S. skillfully sliced the top off and we helped ourselves by scooping out the creamy center.

IMG_8520That’s a pretty terrible photo of it but believe me, it was liquid-y cheesy pungent goodness.  It was a delightfully way to end our dinner and an introduction to the good life in Costa del Sol.

Next up, a typical Sunday in Marbella- stroll on the beach, supper for 10 with seafood paella and lots more wine…

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