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miércoles, 29 de octubre de 2014

EATING IN ELCHE: "LA MARMITA", A VEGETARIAN BAR IN "EL RAVAL" BOROUGH.

Fossar street 20
The entrance to the La Marmita
 
"El Raval" is a small and quiet neighbourhood in Elche, next to the city center, full character and history. You can arrive in 4 or 5 minutes walking from the city hall. This district was founded in the 13th century by the muslims, after the christians retook Elche, from the point where a arquebus shot arrived from the city walls. Nowadays their streets mantein the characteristics of the first times, and they are narrow and have irregular layout. To park in El Raval is very difficult, I don't recommend you to try it. It's better to arrive by foot.
 
 
 "La marmita", also called " La marmita de vegetapa", an ecologic and vegetarian bar, is in Fossar street number 20. It's a cosy place with few tables, a perfect place for veggies and for healthy food lovers.
 
 

La Marmita 1


The meals are vegan (100% vegetarian), and the owners work under the "Slow Ford" concept. This is an international movement, alternative to fast food, that strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages local farming and  sustainable foods.

In "La marmita" you can find daily menus (9.50 , except 11.50 weekends)with appetizer, ecologic bread, 2 courses, dessert, coffee or infusion. If you don't feel like one dish, you can choose other option. These menus include for example lentils with vegan chorizo, vegetarian lasagne, scallop of mushrooms, pepper with seitan and vegan cream, broccoli croquettes, tomatoes stuffed of quinoa and pesto, or vegetarian paella. At the weekend are available tapas, and also they offer the option of take away.

 
La Marmita 2

 
Timetables:

Tuesday and Wednesday, 13.00 to 16.00h.
Thursday, 13.00 to 16.00h, and 20.00 to 23.00h.
Friday and Saturday, 11.00 to 16.00, and 20.00 to 23.00h.

Contact:


A weekend menu


daily menu
A daily menú























miércoles, 10 de septiembre de 2014

JUJUBE (Jinjol): AN ASIAN FRUIT IN SOUTH-EAST SPAIN.

 
jujube fruits
 
The jujube tree is cultivated in Asia, but since centuries also in south-east Spain, where is called “jinjol”, “ginjol”, and the cultivation isn’t intensive. It was traditional that next to the farmer´s house there was a jujube tree.
It´s a deciduous tree with thorny branches. The fruit is an edible oval drupe of 1.5-3 cms, when immature it is smooth-green, with the consistency and taste similar to an apple, and when are mature the colour is brown. It has a single hard stone similar to an olive.
In Elche you can find jujube fruits since the end of August to October, and the price at the vegetables&fruit shops are between 2 and 3 Euros (Kg). The taste isn’t spectacular and the pulp is quite dry, but…I like it.
 
jujube tree
 
 
Reading about the jujube fruit, I have seen that it have been used by the Chinese traditional medicine, where they are believed to alleviate many health problems. Even I´ve found articles about its anti-cancer activity:




It sounds very well, but I think it isn´t enough yet. Nevertheless, if you find jujube fruits, is worth to taste it.

jujube fruits

viernes, 11 de julio de 2014

POOLS IN AND AROUND ELCHE (2014 DATA)


As in all the Mediterranean area, summer weather usually make you want to go to a beach or a pool. Here you can see where to find a pool in or around Elche.


Pools in and around Elche




Elche Municipal pools 
In “Parque Deportivo” (downtown), “Ciudad deportiva”, “Polideportivo de Carrús”, “Polideportivo de Toscar”, “Polideportivo de Toscar”, “Polideportivo del Altet”, y “Polideportivo de Torrellano”.
Adult ticket 3 euros, children 1,9 euros
Free for 0-12 years old.
Timetable: from Tuesday to Friday, 11-19 h.
Saturday, 10-20 h. and Sunday 10-19 h.
 
Club de Campo pool: 
Paseo de Ronda, 1, (about 5-10 minutes driving to the city center)
Open from 9.00 to 23h. It´s a quiet place.
Pool prices 2014: 5 euros adult, 3 euros children (tickets in Reception).
 
Club de Tenis pool: 
Website only in Spanish.
Located about 10-15 minutes driving from downtown.
Pool prices 2014: 2,5 euros for adult and children
From 11 to 21 h. It´s also a quiet place.
 
Camping El Marjal Costa Blanca pools: (between Crevillent and Catral): 
Pool prices: Monday to Friday, 9 euros adult, 6 euros children
Weekend 12 euros adult, 8 euros children.
Is about 15-20 minutes driving from Elche.
 
Camping La Marina pools: 
About 20-30 minutes driving from Elche.
Very nice place, with a lot of people in summer.
Pool prices: 18 euros adult, 12 euros children. 


Ciudad Deportiva Pools
Ciudad Deportiva Pools
  
Camping La Marina Pools
Camping La Marina Pools


jueves, 22 de mayo de 2014

THE “PALMERAL” OF ELCHE, UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE.

A beautiful palm trees sea
A beautiful palm trees sea


Cultivation of date palms in Elche is known at least since the Iberian times (fifth century B.C.). Towards the tenth century A.C., when much of the Iberian Peninsula was Arab, the “Palmeral” of Elche, a landscape of groves of date palms, was formally laid out, with an elaborate irrigation system which is still functioning. It´s an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.

The Palmeral of Elche, represent a remarkable example of the transference of a characteristic landscape from one culture and continent to another, from the North Africa to Europe, and has survived to the present day at Elche.

This is the only palm grove of its type anywhere on the European continent. The date palm trees of Elche (about 200.000), can grow to a height of more than 30 m and live for over 300 years.
 

Image of the Palmeral of Elche, one century ago
Image of the Palmeral of Elche, one century ago.



 
collecting dates, one century ago
Collecting dates, one century ago
 
 
Pruning a palm tree
Pruning a palm tree.

During the last years there is a dangerous threat for the palm trees from Asia and Africa: the red palm weevil, a species of beetle. Their larvae excavate holes in the trunk of palm trees, weakening and even killing them.
 
 
The red palm weevil
The red palm weevil.

The Palmeral isn´t a unique place, you can see it inside the city and in the country around the town. The best places to see the Palmeral of Elche are:

 

Municipality Park (free admission)

Museo del Palmeral (small visitors centr¡er in a traditional house):
http://www.visitelche.com/en/cultural-tourism/visits/elche/museos/museo-del-palmeral/

Palm Grove Walk
http://www.visitelche.com/en/routes/ruta-del-palmeral/

Huerto del cura (with entrance fee)
http://www.visitelche.com/en/ecotourism/parques-periurbanos/jardin-huerto-del-cura/

 
Partial view of the Palmeral of Elche
Municipality Park - Partial view
 



viernes, 25 de abril de 2014

ARTICHOKE: HOW THE DEVIL IS IT EATEN ?

artichoke
 
 

        While artichokes (“alcachofas” in Spanish) may not be the easiest food to consume, eating this extraordinary vegetable well worth it, because indeed it has different healthy substances and very few calories, and it can be delicious. Most people’s favorite part of the artichoke is the heart, but the leaves are actually the source of a vast majority of its health benefits.
The artichoke is the immature flower of a thistle family plant and it is known as one of the oldest cultivated vegetables in the world. Artichokes were originated in the Mediterranean, their main farming area. In this part of Southeast of Spain they are very usual, and the best seasons for the artichoke are autumn, winter and spring.
 

Grilled artichokes ("alcachofas a la plancha")
Grilled artichokes ("alcachofas a la plancha")
 
 
They can't be eaten in its raw form, and if you've never eaten an artichoke before, this strange vegetable may present some challenges when you try to prepare it.

However, it´s very easy to find many recipes on the Internet, but if you are on holidays here, maybe it´s a good tip to taste it in a restaurant. I prefer the grilled one "a la plancha", but you can also eat it in omelets, fried, baked, boiled, or filled with ham or dried fruits.

artichokes with ham
Artichokes with ham
 
 


artichoke chips
Artichoke chips
 
 


Filled artichokes
Filled artichokes

jueves, 6 de marzo de 2014

The Mystery Play of Elche, Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.


The Mystery Play of Elche is a sacred musical drama of the death, the passage into heaven and the crowning of the Virgin Mary. Since the mid-fifteenth century it has been performed in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Elche. It is a living testimony of European religious theatre of the Middle Ages.
This old theatrical performance, which is entirely sung, comprises two acts, on 14 and 15 August. The texts are in Valencian language and Latin. Ancient aerial machinery is used to enhance the spectacle.

Photo of The Wide World Magazine (1900)
Photo of The Wide World Magazine (1900)
 

Photo of The Wide World Magazine (1900)
Photo of The Wide World Magazine (1900)
Access to the Basilica, both on the 14th and 15th, is free, with its doors remaining wide open. However, due to the popularity of the play, it is essential to arrive at the church several hours in advance.
On the 11th, 12th and 13th August, open rehearsals take place, when the whole performance is concentrated into a single day, and which may be enjoyed by purchasing a ticket. In addition, in even-numbered years, there are extra ticketed performances on the 29th, 30th October and free access on the 1st November.

More than 300 volunteers take part in the performance each year as actors, singers, stage directors, stagehands, tailors and stewards. This tradition was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (UNESCO).

Ternari song video

UNESCO video


 
Practical tips:
The Mystery Play of Elche isn´t short, so the whole representation might not be the best option with small children (and for the people that don´t like this kind of  music). But the Mistery Play of Elche is really something extraordinary, and at least, you could take advantage of the open doors on the 14th and 15th August to take a look.

When the representation begins the temperature is still hot, so it´s a good idea to carry a hand fan and a bottlel of water.
And finally it´s highly recommended to get the guide of the representation, to better understand the scenes and songs.

Link to get the guide of the representation.
 
Photo of The Wide World Magazine (1900)
Photo of The Wide World Magazine (1900)



miércoles, 29 de enero de 2014

CURED HAM, A GOURMET TREASURE: BASICS FOR BEGINNERS.



When you ask spanish people that live abroad about the things they miss, the first place is mostly for the cured ham. With the Spanish food there is nothing so iconic as the ham, a gourmet food which is generally served in thin slices. If you are on holidays here, you definitely should taste it. But it's better if you read something about it before.


In the Serrano Ham the fat is mainly separated of the muscle fiber, is not dispersed.
In the Serrano Ham the fat is mainly separated of the muscle fiber.
 
Ham has been elaborated for centuries in Spain, the largest producer in the world. Ranging in price from economical to very expensive, there are various types of cured ham,  the normal or Mountain Ham ("jamón serrano"), and the special or Iberian Ham ("jamón ibérico"). Both of them have differents qualities, that are sold in grocery stores, sausage shops and supermarkets, and sometimes with an Appellation of Origin.
 

Serrano Ham with toasted bread.

 The mountain or Serrano ham is made from several different breeds of pigs, that are fed mainly with cereals feeds. These hams are cured from 7 to 16 months.

The Iberian ham is made only from the Iberian breed pig (pure or mixed, both are allowed), and the curing process takes about 36 months. There are three types of Iberian Ham, depending of the pig's diet: Free range pigs that roam the holm oak forests, or the pigs are pastured and fed a mixed diet of acorns and grain, or the pigs are fed on grain in farm pigs. The first one is "Jamón Ibérico de Bellota", the finest and the most expensive of all hams.


Tipical image in the Iberian Ham, with fat very mixed with the muscle fiber.

Tipical image in the Iberian Ham, with fat very mixed with the muscle fiber.
 
 
So, the pig's diet determine the Iberian Ham quality... and the price, that are between 50 and 150 euros/kg.

And what´s the difference between Serrano and Iberian Ham? Mainly the lipid composition. The Iberian Ham is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, specially with high level of oleic acid (the same that in olive oil), due the feeding with acorn (“bellota”).

 
Tipical image in the Iberian Ham, with fat very mixed with the muscle fiber.
 
If you aren´t a little bit expert, it isn´t easy to know in a restaurant if the price of the Iberian Ham is correct with their quality. In this case it's better to choose Serrano Ham. The Iberian is best, but Serrano is also delicious. Maybe the price of the best Iberian Ham seems high, but it's really something special, it´s one of the greatest foods on the Earth. The only way to determine if it's worth is to taste it, buying some slices in a shop.

 And how to eat it? Always not cold, at room temperatura. The Iberian Ham alone, without mixing with other food. The Serrano Ham is best with toasted bread, with a little olive oil or a little natural scratched tomato  (or both), and also in sandwich. Of course with their best companion, a good red wine.