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   Cooking Holiday in Spain  
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SPANISH COOKING SCHOOL

. . . Spanish and Mediterranean cooking

 Finca Alta CocinaNewly opened in one of the sunniest parts of Spain . . . a wonderful country house with its own cookery school, swimming pool and six acres of grounds offering relaxing holidays and superb food, with or without cooking classes.

Finca Alta Cocina is in delightful countryside, with stunning views all round, close to Algodonales in Andalucia, Southern Spain. It is also near Ronda, the most awesome pueblo blanco (white hill town) in Spain.

We are in an excellent position as a central base for visits to the beautiful cities of Sevilla, Granada, Cadiz and Jerez.

In the finca’s six-acre grounds, there is a delightful villa – Villa Madreselva (which means Honeysuckle) – which has four double bedrooms. Two have double 4-poster beds, and two have twin beds. Three have a balcony and the fourth has a terrace. All have good views and all are en suite. There is a large comfortable lounge and an American-style kitchen. This is where cookery-break guests stay.

But in the summer there are no cookery classes – it’s far too hot – and Villa Madreselva is rented out for self-catering groups of up to eight people. It has a fully-equipped American-style kitchen with all mod cons, including gas hob, fridge, microwave oven, food processor, toaster etc. An adjacent utility room has an electric oven, fridge-freezer, dishwasher and washing machine. The lounge is well-furnished with subtle lighting and has English HD television.

Another plus is that we have an outstanding chef who will provide 3-course quality meals from a short menu for 30 euros a head, and provide a cookery lesson if more than one guest would like it.

For more details about self-catering breaks, go to: www.villa-madreselva.com

Set in six acres . . . Finca Alta Cocina where the cooking lessons are given
The guest villa with beautiful views of the mountains and swimming pool
Stunning setting of Finca Alta Cocina (arrowed)
in the mountains . . . yet close to town
  ACCOMMODATION  

From the time of your arrival to the time of your departure you will enjoy the comfort and peacefulness of your villa accommodation in the grounds of Finca Alta Cocina in the heart of the stunning countryside of Andalucia in Southern Spain. There are four double en suite rooms, three with balconies, a guest lounge with full English HD TV programmes, a terrace, a 12 x 6-metre pool and two pergolas. It is a wonderful opportunity to drop out and escape from the stresses of modern living . . . a chance to slow up and, if you choose, learn the secrets of Mediterranean cooking (with the emphasis on Spanish dishes) or just discovering the art of really taking it nice and easy . . .

Villa Madreselva... set in six-acre grounds Terrace... with fast-growing honeysuckle
12 x 6-metre pool... screened by plants Villa terrace & garden table through trellis entrance
View across the pool, shower and lawns View from villa terrace... olive-tree mountains
Lawns with olive trees around the pool Swimming pool from the top of our olive-tree hill
Villa Madreselva from the driveway... ...and from the poolside
Relax in comfort out of the sun in poolside pergola Villa and a second pergola from the front lawn
View from front of villa to the entrance gates Grasses and rugged country background
American-style kitchen and eight-seater table Arch leads from the kitchen to the utility room
First of three views of the villa's lounge... ...showing its style and spaciousness...
...and the comfortable armchairs and sofas Twin-bedded room with private balcony
Four-poster room also with private balcony One of the en suite bathrooms in the villa
Typical tapas on offer for villa guests View of the owners' house in the grounds
  COOKING HOLIDAYS IN SPAIN  

MID SEASON (April-June/Sept-Oct – no classes in July-Aug): €508

LOW SEASON (rest of the year except Easter, Xmas and New Year): €468

COOKERY BREAKS FROM €468 FOR THREE DAYS

All our three-day cookery breaks start on a Thursday, with guests departing on Sunday after breakfast. In LOW SEASON the cost is €468 per person sharing a double en suite room. You have the choice of a room with a double, four-poster bed or twin beds. There is no supplement for single occupancy. An extra day’s stay on a bed and breakfast basis is €40pp.

HOLIDAYS WITHOUT COOKERY CLASSES FOR €370

For partners and friends who do not want to take part in the cookery lessons in low season, the price of the three-day holiday with all the meals with wine is €370.

MID SEASON COOKERY HOLIDAYS FOR €508

In MID SEASON the cost of the three-day break is €508 per person, sharing a double en suite room with either a double four-poster bed or twin beds. An extra day’s stay on a bed and breakfast basis is €44pp. For non-cooking guests, the cost of the holiday with all the meals with wine is €400. There are no classes in July and August – it’s too hot for long sessions of cooking.

  THE COOKERY TIMETABLE  

DAY 1

  • Trip to Jerez on the Thursday to buy food in the bustling meat, fish and vegetable market with tapas lunch in the city centre
  • Cookery class 5.30 - 8.30pm. followed by three-course dinner with wine

    Guests need to arrive by 11am to get to the market. Bed and breakfast is available on the Wednesday if needed..

DAY 2

  • Breakfast 9.30 - 10.00am
  • Free time until cookery class 5.30 - 8.30pm
  • Dinner with a variety of classic tapas with wine and pudding

DAY 3

  • Breakfast 9.30 - 10.00am
  • Free time until cookery class 5.30 - 8.30pm.
  • Three-course farewell dinner with a classic paella, wine, pudding – and sherry tasting

DAY 4

  • Breakfast, vacate room by 11.00am
  • There is no supplement for single occupancy of a double room.
  THE GUEST VILLA AND ITS SIX-ACRE GROUNDS  

The guest villa sleeps eight people and is set in six acres of grounds with great views all round. There is a superb 12-metre x 6-metre pool enclosed on three sides by a flower-covered trellis.

Next to the pool is a comfortably furnished pergola where you can relax. The villa is very tranquil and the surrounding countryside is stunning with mountains, farmland, lakes, wild flowers, gorges, caves . . .

Nearby is the town of Algodonales, which has a big, orange-tree-lined central square with bars, cafes, shops and banks around it. There is fresh running water from mountain springs, which you can bottle at the town's two fountains. Ronda, the most dramatic pueblo blanco (white hill town) in the whole of Spain, is 30 minutes away. The villa is a great central base for trips to beautiful Seville and Jerez (both an hour’s drive) and historic Cadiz (75 minutes) with its long, wide golden beach, and Granada (2 hours) with its fabulous Alhambra palace. Marbella is a 90-minute drive via Ronda.

BOOKING
Email us on stay@finca-altacocina.com for inquiries or bookings - or phone us on 0034 856 026 094 or (mobile) 0034 636 402 895.

  FLIGHTS TO SOUTHERN SPAIN  

Finca Alta Cocina, and Southern Spain, is well served by airports with cheap flights from Britain. Ryanair fly into Jerez (50 minutes away) and Seville (an hour). Easyjet fly into Malaga (90 minutes away) . . . all with drives through delightful countryside.

The finca is a few minutes drive from the main A382 road just outside Algodonales. The road runs from Jerez to Ronda and is joined shortly before Algodonales by the A376 from Seville.

Although the cookery school is just minutes from the main road, at Finca Alta Cocina you are in another, most tranquil world. The only traffic hold ups you may encounter on the farm road to the finca are flocks of sheep and goats being moved by shepherds.

We recommend hiring a car at the airport (details on request) so you can tour the ever-changing countryside around us. Hire cars are a competitive price and simply not paying for an airport taxi would cover a week's car hire from Malaga and go a long way towards one from Jerez or Seville.

  PARAGLIDING IN SOUTHERN SPAIN  

Southern Spain is famous for the most reliable weather in Europe. And Algodonales in the south of Andalucia is a mecca for paragliding and hang gliding, with the best conditions anywhere in Europe. The area is in incredible countryside - and the stunning location makes paragliding and hand-gliding here even more exhilarating. There are four flying schools in the town where you can have lessons, hire equipment . . . or just fly. They cater for experienced fliers and complete beginners.

Often fliers spot where vultures have found a thermal and head in that direction. And it happens the other way around, with vultures joining the fliers in a thermal and soaring up alongside them. From Finca Alta Cocina you can see fliers launching themselves off a high mountain.

For the experienced flier, the local XC record stands at over 200k but the potential for over 400 is there. No Airspace restrictions are over the site itself or nearby but on big XC you will need to have studied the map.

For the complete novice, step by step tuition is on hand from highly trained instructors.

Local flying school owner Gerry Ganter says: “The climate here is fabulous - even the winters are much better for thermal flying than the summer in the UK or Germany. Maybe we lose 2 or 3 weekends during the winter, but nearly every day of the rest of the year we get thermal flying. We are just far enough away from the Mediterranean and the Atlantic not to get the influence of the sea.”

  SOUTHERN SPAIN : ALGODONALES  

ALGODONALES

Algodonales is an ideal base for walking, cycling (bikes are available), horse riding, paragliding (parapenting) and hot air ballooning - and for wildlife lovers and bird watchers The rare griffon vulture roosts on the Lijar mountain immediately behind Algodonales, named after Algodon (cotton), which grows in the area. There is a stork living just opposite Finca Alta Cocina and you can spot grey and black herons by the nearby River Guadalete. There are many species of birds in the area including different types of vultures, eagles, owls and cuckoos.

Artists and photographers will be in their element with all the beauty around them.

This pueblo blanco has a big, attractive square in the centre. There are plenty of bars, restaurants and shops in the town, which has a population of nearly 6,000. In the morning rush-hour (sorry, Spaniards never rush) . . . in the morning dawdle from around 6am the workers park their cars and vans all over the centre of town and crush into the bars for breakfast - often just toast with garlic rubbed into it and olive oil drizzled on top, and coffee.

Algodonales and the Lijar mountain
The town square in Algodonales

It would take weeks to go on a bar crawl in the town. There are masses of bars, sometimes three or more virtually next to each other. Some are just a front room of a home converted to a bar.

There are mini shops like this too. One would be crowded with two customers in it. Many items are displayed, including fresh meat, chickens and bread delivered daily, but most of the wide variety of stock is in a room tucked away behind where the elderly woman running the shop regularly disappears into.

The world-famous La Serrania flamenco guitars are made in Algodonales by Valeriana Bernal. As well as producing a magical sound, they are beautifully crafted. And there is a pottery workshop where they create unusual Andalucian designs to order that make stylish, inexpensive mementoes or gifts for friends.

Zahara pueblo blanco and its magnificent lake
  SOUTHERN SPAIN : GREAT NATURAL PARKS  

GREAT NATURAL PARKS

There is a vast acreage of outstanding natural parks in the area. One starts just down the road from Finca Alta Cocina. Algodonales is close to Sierra de Grazalema natural park, one of Spain's most ecologically outstanding areas. The 127,000 acre park is famous for its spectacular rugged limestone landscape of cliffs, gullies, caves and gorges.

The most impressive gorge is Garganta Verde, with its exceptional griffon vulture colony and rocky walls that tower for 400 metres. Andalucia's largest cave system is here, the Hundidero-Galo with its biggest cavern four kilometres long and an entrance 60 metres high. The pueblo blanco of Grazalema itself is charming. It has grace and style and some excellent restaurants.

Sierra de Grazalema is part of the incredible Los Alcornocales Natural Park, one of the world's most important cork oak forests, covering 425,000 acres. You could spend months driving / cycling / walking through the park and you would never get bored with its trees, flora, fauna and birds.

  SOUTHERN SPAIN : RONDA  

RONDA

In Hemingway's Footsteps . . .

Regarded by many as the most beautiful of all the pueblos blancos in Spain, Ronda is perched in the hills between Seville and Malaga. Its dramatic setting, hanging high in the cliffs above a river splitting the town in two, has inspired poets and artists for generations.

It's where Ernest Hemingway frequently stayed and he used it as the setting for his bestseller For Whom the Bell Tolls, about the Spanish Revolution. Another Hemingway classic was a study of the bullfight, Death In The Afternoon. The American writer felt that a bullfight was a tragedy, not a sport.

Other famous devotees of Ronda include Orson Wells (there's a statue of him in the town and a road named after him), and Hollywood superstar Cary Grant. It has the country's oldest bullring where concerts are sometimes held. Whether you are for or against bullfighting, the bullring is worth a tour.

Ronda retains much of its historic charm, particularly the old part. It is famous world-wide for its dramatic and stunning views, with the deep El Tajo gorge that carries the Rio Guardalevin through its centre. Visitors make a beeline for the 18th Century Puente Nuevo – new bridge – which straddles the 100-metre chasm below, for its unparalleled views over the Serrania de Ronda mountains. Make sure you have a coffee or a snack outside the rear of the parador next to the bridge to enjoy the most spectacular view in the town.

Ronda is famous as the birthplace of modern bullfighting. At the beginning of September there is a spectacular Feria Goyesca where bullfighters and some of the audience dress in the manner of Goya’s sketches of life in the region. Legendary Rondeno matador Pedro Romero broke away from the old Jerez school of horseback bullfighting in the 18th Century to start a style of bullfighting where matadors stood their ground against the bull on foot.

Across the bridge, where an elegant cloistered Sixteenth Century convent is now an art museum, old Ronda winds off into the cobbled streets hemmed in by handsome town mansions, some still occupied by Ronda’s titled families. The Casa de Don Bosco is a fine example, despite the fact that its interior patio was long ago roofed in glass against Ronda’s harsh winters. Its small, almost folly-like gardens lose out to the true star a few minutes walk away to the far end of the city. The Palacio Mondragon, clumsily modernised in parts during the 1960s, still has working vestiges of the exquisite miniature water gardens dating from its time as a Moorish palace in the Twelfth Century.

The cobbled alley to the Mondragon leads to Ronda’s loveliest public space, the leafy Plaza Duquesa de Parcent, which has a convent, two churches, including the bell tower of the Iglesia Santa Maria de Mayor, and handsome arched town hall. Nearby Calle Arminan leads down to the spacious square of the traditional workers barrio, San Francisco, with excellent bars and restaurants.

Back from the Mondragon, the Plaza del Campillo overlooks steps that zigzag down to a dramatic eye-level through the Puente Nuevo. A stroll down the pedestrianised main street, Calle Espinel opposite the bullring, is a must.

  SOUTHERN SPAIN : ZAHARA  

ZAHARA

This beautiful white hill town, just a 15 minute drive from Finca Alta Cocina, has a magnificent lake which is an alluring turquoise in the sunshine. You can swim in the lake, hire canoes and kayaks, and enjoy a drink and tapas in or outside the lakeside restaurant. The full majesty of the lake can be really appreciated as you drive above it into the Grazalema mountains.

The town of Zahara is very pretty with several restaurants - one with great views to the lake below.

   
  CONTACT DETAILS  
  FINCA ALTA COCINA
Algodonales
Near Ronda
Spain
Telephone:
0034 856 026 094
Mobile:
0034 636 402 895
Email:
stay@finca-altacocina.com
Web:
www.finca-altacocina.com
 
 
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