Pampaneira - the village even God left France for | Cortijo El Sarmiento

Pampaneira – the village even God left France for


Yes I’m sure he did, because I have been to Pampaneira and met him there. Well, in the form of guess what … Food and Wine. Gosh, why do I feel like my whole life is just about eating and drinking. Let’s face the truth….

Pampaneira – the village of carpets and gourmet products

Got up pretty early because it’s a long drive to Pampaneira … we should schedule about 2,5hours of drive; that’s what Diego from Padules, our whistle-blower in matters of gastronomical wellbeing, told us. They also offer beautiful carpets were his last words before we went off. But who the hell cares about carpets 😉

The first part of the drive from Mojácar to Pampaneira is sort of very boring, because it is just the same highway we take to Almería very often, so by now we know every curve by heart. Unfortunately you need to pass the area around El Ejido, which is as ugly as sin but all the tomatoes for northern Europe have to be conjured up somewhere. Scenically a total Desaster.

But as soon as we had left the highway…what a countryside. The Alpujarras grenadines where we will be strolling around today are different, higher and rougher than the ones of Almería but just as beautiful. But as it as a different province I have never said or written that, understood?!

Gosh, what a drive up there

We followed the twisting road higher and higher and than even higher. I had this strange feeling we will never make it to Pampaneira and made my jokes about it. And then, out of nowhere, it comes up – one of the 20 most beautiful white villages of Spain, just like Mojácar. This time we ain’t even wearing trekking clothes anymore – finally this is a sightseeing tour rather than a hiking tour. 🙂

We finally made it an got to the most famous Alpujarras-village

By now it’s only 13.00h and consequently, according to Andalusian tradition, no time for lunch yet. Therefore we just start with some sightseeing. The first thing I see out of the corner of my eyes is a Chocolaterie. I try to suppress my instincts and go off to see some … carpets. Yeah they look nice and they are very colorful but honestly speaking they don’t match our furniture and style. On the other side of the shop I spot a nice Buddha picture for our Sauna (which we hadn’t found until now). Maybe if we would buy it, we could ask that nice lady at the counter, which restaurant she, being a local, would recommend.

No more carpets 🙂 but unfortunately the lady wasn’t local neither. Anyway, we reserved the picture and on we went with our sightseeing tour. Passing the Chocolaterie once again, eyes closed, we entered a lovely, narrow alley going straight upwards and at the end we could already see a carpet manufactory. From down below we could already spot the loom. Sad enough that going there we had to pass another shop. And I couldn’t hold back any longer. Hams as far as I could see, honey, jams, fig bread, sausages and a shop owner who seemed to suck us into his shop. Let’s put it that way – we enjoyed our aperitif being local sweet wine from the Moscatel grape, sausages, ham, cheese and a delicious bread spread made from Jamon Iberico.

Preparing for lunchtime

It was sort of a very special aperitif and by all means free of charge if you don’t calculate the purchase price that followed a bit later. But I tend to forget about things like that. And besides, we do all of this in order to please our guests, so actually it’s all just operating costs. At least that’s how I think about it, but probably our tax accountant wouldn’t agree 🙂

Lunchtime in the Alpujarras – a delicous break to remember

And now, finally, it was 14.00h. After the lady who wasn’t local confirmed that the Restaurant I chose on Tripadvisor, as I couldn’t catch Diego by phone, would be the best in town we enjoyed another superb lunch with non-local wine(local wines of the Alpujarras are only good when sweet, but that wouldn’t match the food) accompanied by the noise of a motor saw that obviously not needed a Siesta. But with all the “Ohs” and “Ahs” at our table we couldn’t hear the saw any longer. Whoever thinks we would have had a fancy lunch is totally mistaken. It was local, plain cooking and whoever knows me a bit better knows that I wouldn’t have touched most of this stuff when I was still living in Germany. But the taste here is so damn good.

We had Cocido Alpujarreño made from beans, meat, streaky bacon and potatoes. Patatas a lo pobre a sort of fried potatoes missing the brown color with peppers and occasionally scrambled together with eggs. Chicken in quite a hot sauce made of almonds. Migas, Carstens favorite dish made out of breadcrumbs or flour with Chorizo ( a spicy sausage), Morcilla (black pudding), peppers and onions.

After a small piece of homemade cake and a café con leche we continued our discovery and the village is really charming and mouth-watering. We really visited everything and if you are into carpets there are loads of them. But I have never seen so many little shops that only wanted to care for my sensory organs before in my life. Yes the Alpujarras are famous for their local gourmet produce but I hadn’t expected that much. We tasted and tried us through all the shops all afternoon. Constantly bags and boxes had to be brought to the car.

How the chocolate came to Pampaneira

The main produce besides fruit and veggies are pastry, candies and chocolate. As it was very hot we first took care of every thing non-meltable. Only at the very end of the day we did it – we stepped into the Chocolateria, which we had been passing so often during that day. Already the entrance leading to the cool cellar is a visual feast. Huge, bright and decoration related to the production of chocolate all around.

The owner, originally from Argentina, and whatever made destiny drive her into the arms of a Pampaneira man, decided it would be a very logical idea to manufacture chocolate from Argentinian cacao in this godforsaken village in the middle of nowhere. I wouldn’t call it logical, but who am I… Through a huge window you can watch the production. Besides of the wonderful chocolate, which you can all taste, they offer a wide range of homemade ice-cream made from the very chocolate – unfortunately that can’t be tried – you need to buy it 🙂

The chocolate was the last thing we bought before heading back home to Mojácar. If we would have gone on an airplane I swear we would have been forced to pay excess weight.