Wednesday, 4 February 2009

A Gathering of Like Minds

Each year in the hotel we have a gathering of like minded friends where we eat, talk, try to put the world right and then normally go for a short walk. We celebrated this gathering last Sunday and as always it was a very enjoyable event.

Drinking cider and waiting for all the people to arrive

The first such gathering we organised 5 years ago with the idea of strengthening the relationship between some of the people who we work with and know, but don’t always have the time to relax and talk with in a way we would like.

Most of the people who come are involved with organic farming and some of them with tourism. They all have an interest in maintaining a strong rural base to Asturias and are keen for other people to learn about the culture and customs of this area.

Manolo and Javier are two brothers who both graduated in geography and organise a guided tour; “The Cider and Cheese Route.” They take groups of people on a 2 hour walk through the mountain village of Asiego and explain about the traditions of the area, talking about farming, cheese making, cider making etc. They then finish the tour with a meal, where the people can try a lot of the local produce. They also grow cider apples, produce cider and have xalda sheep.

Antonio and Paula also grow apples and small fruits, they produce jam, apple juice and cider as well as run a small guest house in Pe├▒amellera Baja.

Aquilino and Loude have an organic small holding in Sariego, producing vegetables and small fruits to sell in the local market. They also grow apples and produce cider and honey.

Luis and Conche have a bio constructed guest house just outside Infiesto, they also have Asturcon Ponies.

Severino and Daniela were pioneers in rural tourism opening a small guest house 16 years ago in Arguero near Villaviciosa. They breed xalda sheep, Asturcon Ponies, run a small eco museum on indigenous breeds and produce traditional ceramic pottery.

Aquilino "pouring" traditional cider

Manolo sampling "table" cider

Antonio with a slightly "sparkling" cider

We talk about many different topics; this year discussing the new types of cider which are now available particularly “table cider” the pros and cons of veering away from the traditional ciders and entering into new markets. We also talked about the rural development of abandoned villages in Asturias, whether these villages should just be left to die and become overgrown with brambles or what can be done to prevent this happening.

As you can imagine a lot of interesting discussion, particularly after all that food, wine and cider!

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Hotel Posada del Valle is a small hotel in Asturias Northern Spain surrounded by its own organic farm and where we are passionate about organic farming, food, and sustainable livelihoods. In this Blog those of us who live and work at Hotel Posada del Valle open a door to share with all of you who are interested in what we are doing.