Archive for the Jerez Category

Jerez de la Frontera – Centro – Nightlife

Posted in Andalusia, Cadiz Province, Centro, Jerez, Spain on March 11, 2017 by gannet39

I’ve written several posts on Jerez. You’ll find the index here. Google map here.

There are some beautiful bars and clubs in Jerez. Here are a couple I’ve been to…

Damajuana Cafe Bar, 18 Calle Francos,

I’m guessing this was once a rich man’s palace with a large interior courtyard and lots of rooms on several floors, one of which is now a despacho de vinos (barrel room).

Some simply describe it as one of the best bars in town but their website sees it as “a cultural center, with literary acts, jazz and blues concerts, painting, sculpture and photography exhibitions and wine tastings” so if any of those interest you, you should check their site for what’s on.

My friend John and I used it as a starting point for a night out on the town. It was pretty packed but we met lots of friendly people.

Tablao del Bereber, 8-10 Calle de las Cabezas

I’ve been here a couple of times and loved it. It’s a beautiful space with ancient walls (I read that it was once a fortress) and tastefully decorated with antique looking artworks and Arabic lanterns.

Midweek most of the clientele are young guys who come to smoke shisha pipes in the bar area. At the weekend it’s much busier with two rooms of dance music. House, cumbia and ragga seem popular. I’ve made friends with quite a few characters I’ve met here, including one I brought with me.


Thank you Jerez, I had a great time!

Pics from November 2015.


Jerez de la Frontera – Eating & Drinking North of the Centre

Posted in Andalusia, Cadiz Province, Jerez, North, Spain on March 10, 2017 by gannet39

I’ve written several posts on Jerez. You’ll find the index here. Google map here.

Another of Alejandro’s suggestions. Google translates the name as ‘farmhouse grape juice brick maker’! It’s one of several ‘cortijos’ that are just outside the city limits. I got a taxi there and walked back without too much trouble.

Cortijo Mosto Tejero (Elementary B+), 2 Ctra. Trebujena,, Tel:+34 659 74 34 14

Very rustic and traditional, next to the road but with no other buildings around. There’s seating on plastic chairs inside and a terrace outside where I sat in the February sun.

I had a glass of Oloroso sherry from Rio Viejo while I made my choices (B).


The first dish was Ajo Campero, a very local dish made principally with day old breadcrumbs, tomatoes, green pepper, garlic and olive oil and garnished here with grilled red pepper, boiled egg and a thick wedge of radish. It’s yet another Spanish recipe that uses up old bread and it’s very filling.


I could have stopped eating after the heavy Ajo Campero but I’d come here to try Tagarninas Esparragadas, the tagarninas being the strange spiny plant I’d seen in the market (see my Things to See post). It translates as ‘Spanish thistle’ although it’s not in the thistle family.

Esparragadas refers I think to it being cooked in spices; cumin (showing an Moorish influence?) and paprika and fried with olive oil, garlic and yet more breadcrumbs. Here they also put a fried egg on top. It’s a very particular taste, and I’m not sure I’m keen on it (C) but it was an interesting food experience.


A good place to go for rustic food on a sunny day!

Pics from November 2015.

Jerez de la Frontera – Eating & Drinking West of the Centre

Posted in Andalusia, Cadiz Province, Jerez, Spain, West with tags on March 9, 2017 by gannet39

I’ve written several posts on Jerez. You’ll find the index here and the Google map here.

This place was recommended by Alejandro, the helpful receptionist at my guest house, La Fonda Barranco. It’s a down-to-earth place in a working class area within walking distance of the centre. It’s slightly hard to find but definitely worth the effort for their seafood.

Bar Arturo (Elementary A), 9 Calle Guita

I got great service from one of the waiters here who was looking to practice his English. On his suggestion I started with a tomato salad, served with raw garlic and olive oil (B+)…


… and followed up with their renowned fried fish platter (A).


I finished with a shot of PX (B+) I hadn’t had before called El Candado from Valdespino, one of the oldest bodegas in Jerez.


The final bill was very cheap and I’d definitely come again. Worth the short walk if you want a real neighbourhood experience.

Jerez de la Frontera – Centro – Eating & Drinking off Plaza Plateros

Posted in Andalusia, Cadiz Province, Centro, Jerez, Plaza Plateros, Spain with tags on March 8, 2017 by gannet39

Plaza Plateros is a very buzzy area with lots of other places other than the one I review below. Tabanco Plateros at 35 Calle Algarve and Gorila Cervecería at 10 Plaza Plateros might be good places to check out too.

My Google map is here. My other posts on Jerez are here.

Rody (Advanced B+), 1 Calle Chapinería,

Recommended by the Moro Sams again, this is a higher end place. The Sams are particularly keen on the croquetas made from leftover Puchero, an Andalusian stew of ham hock, chicken and pig fat and I wouldn’t disagree (B+).


However they liked the stuffed squid a bit more than I did. Not sure what it was stuffed with exactly and it didn’t really float my boat (B-).


The local Tierra Blanca white wine they gave me was okay (B-). Imagine my shock when I saw it in a supermarket for €4! I got some posted over to me in the UK because it was so cheap and it still only came to about £7 a bottle.


Pics from November 2015.

Jerez de la Frontera – Centro – Food, Drink and Flamenco around Plaza Esteve

Posted in Andalusia, Cadiz Province, Centro, Jerez, Plaza Esteve, Spain with tags , , , , , , , on March 7, 2017 by gannet39

Plaza Esteve is just to the north east of Plaza Arenal, in the centre of Jerez. You’ll find the new market here and a number of good places to eat and drink. You’ll find more of my posts on Jerez here and my Google map here.


I stayed in this area on a second mini-break in April 2016…

Hotel Nova Centro (Low Intermediate B), 13 Calle Arcos,

A dilapidated hotel located in an old building. It’s cheap, central and friendly. There are other more attractive, and more expensive, hotels on my Google map that I tried but only this place had availability at the time.

Vinoteca Rafael (Elementary B), 6 Calle Arcos

Just over the road from the hotel, this is a sherry shop where all the old boys hang out. You can drink here but also shop from their big selection of local wines and brandies. You can also get Jerez vinegar here.This is the most famous brand.


La Vinoteria (Elementary B+), 7 Calle Lancería

Another place to buy local alcohols but not drink them, although a friend of the gregarious owner plied me with a sherry he’d brought. I scored a bottle of Cardenal Mendoza (a favourite brandy of mine) in it’s newly designed bottle and case here.


Tabanco El Pasaje (High Elementary B), 8 Calle Santa María

A Jerez institution and the oldest tabanco in town (since 1925). The word ‘tabanco’ is a blend of ‘estanco’, a state controlled shop, and ‘tabaco’, a product they sell.


It’s a great place to see live Flamenco although it’s tiny so you’ll have to arrive early to get a good view. One of the last of a dying breed, come for the atmosphere and sherry on tap but not the tapas.


Teatro Villamarta, Plaza Romero Martínez,

A place to watch Flamenco, and other shows, in a more formal setting. I haven’t been but I like the building.


El Gallo Azul (Intermediate B?), 2 Calle Larga

The Blue Cockerel is a good spot for people watching. The circular building is quite famous in Jerez and features on postcards.


You can eat tapas on the ground floor and there’s a restaurant upstairs. I’ve only had a beer here so I can’t comment on the food but I’m sure it’s fine.

Restaurante Cafetería la Vega (High Elementary B+), 0 Plaza Esteve (sic)

This café seems to be a prime meeting place for the older generation of Jerezanos. It’s also recommended by the Sams from Moro in London as a good place for breakfast.

I’ve been twice and liked it. The first time I had a Mollete con Jamon Iberico y Tomate which was good (B) but as it was February it probably wasn’t the best time to eat fresh tomatoes. My bad. Molletes are an Andalusian bread roll that are usually toasted.


The café also has a rep for Churros so I tried them the next time and they were very good (B+). If you sit upstairs on the internal balcony you can get a good view of the Churrero making them. It’s a mesmerising procedure to watch.


Fresh orange juice and café con leche is good here too. A prime breakfast spot.

As I mentioned earlier, the modern market, Mercado de Abastos, is in Plaza Esteve. It’s not spectacular but it’s worth a visit.


Some unusual produce I saw included Tagarninas, a kind of plant whose spiny roots are eaten in these parts (please see my coming post on Eating & Drinking North of the Centre).

I also saw some of the tiny shrimp used for the regional speciality Tortillas de Camarones where they are mixed into a batter made of chickpea flour (apparently a Genoese influence), deep fried and eaten whole.


Click on the Jerez link for more posts on this fantastic town.


Pics posted in Nov 2015 and Feb 2017.

Jerez de la Frontera – Centro – Eating & Drinking off Plaza del Arenal

Posted in Andalusia, Cadiz Province, Centro, Jerez, Plaza Arenal, Spain with tags , , , on March 5, 2017 by gannet39

Plaza Arenal is the central square in Jerez. There’s not much to see, other than this statue, but there are plenty of good places to eat and drink on the streets off it.


I’ve written a few other posts on eating and drinking in other areas of Jerez which you’ll find here. My Google map is here.

This is my favourite place in Jerez, I came here three times in two days in April 2016.

Albores (High Intermediate B+), 12 Calle Consistorio,

Alba, a popular female name, means the first light of day. The equivalent in English would be Dawn.


It can also mean the principle or origin of a concept. For chef Julian Olivares the concept is about blending seasonal, traditional and international cuisine, and he does it very well. Click on the menus to enlarge.


This isn’t just my favourite place, hordes of locals seem to like it too, so it might be an idea to reserve at busy times, such as Sunday lunch, or arrive early. They’re open all day every day so you just have to get there before the Spanish do.

You can sit outside on their street terrace under the orange trees or in the bright modern interior. On my first two visits I sat outside for tapas and once inside for Sunday lunch.

On the first occasion I had the Barriga de Atun (A), a seared tuna steak served with jam and grilled veg and a small baked potato with salmorejo (a gazpacho made with bread), served with a salsa of cream and soya sauce. (A).


Also a half portion of grilled squid (B+).


On my next visit with my buddy John we had a half portion (media racion) of the Croquetas de Gambas, Espincas y Pistachos (A).


Also a media of the Salmon Marinado; smoked salmon marinated with lime and vanilla which sounds wrong but was actually very good (A).


We also shared a media of the Carrillada Iberica al Oloroso con Puré de Calabaza, beef cheeks in aged Sherry with a puree of pumpkin (A).


This all went well with a couple of glasses of ‘Barbazul’, a decent local red (B). The bill came to a good value €32.


On the third visit I came by myself for a blowout Sunday lunch having missed breakfast due to partying with John till 6am. I kicked things off with some decent Jamon Iberico de Bellota (B) that came with some slightly soggy Pan con Tomate toasted bread with tomato pulp (B-).

I followed up with their great croquetas again, served slightly differently this time with some mayo (A).


For the main, one of my favourite meat dishes, the hearty Rabo de Toro Estofado con Vino Tinto (B+).


I splashed out €25 on a bottle of ‘Taberner’ (B+) a 2011 Syrah from Bodega Huerta de Albala in the Tierra de Cadiz DO. They also make the afore-mentioned Barbazul but this is higher up their range.


Next some sheep’s cheese with almonds; Queso Manchego de Oveja y Almendras (B+).


Profiteroles con Salsa de Chocolate y Pistachos (B).


Of the many PX’s on offer Daniel my waiter recommended the Oxford 1.970 Pedro Ximenez Solera from Bodega Dios Baco (B+). Later I picked up bottle to take home for €16.


To finish things off it would have been rude not to have one of their selection of fine brandies. I began with one I hadn’t had before; the Renacimiento Solera Gran Reserva by Garvey (B).

Here Daniel is demonstrating how to serve it properly, with a warmed glass. Some people say the alcohol is being lost in the fumes but personally I think the smell adds to the taste.


Daniel’s favourite is the Lepanto Gran Reserva so I thought I should try that as well (B+).


With a couple of bottles of water and a 10% tip the final bill came to €70 which was great value for what I had. You might be able to get food and drink of this quality in London but you’d probably pay three times as much for it.

Bar Juanito (Intermediate B+), 8-10 Calle de Pescadería Vieja,

Slightly hard to find, Juanito is down a side alley off Plaza del Arenal the main square. A mainstay in Jerez for more than sixty years, it’s feted by all the guides (Frommers, Lonely Planet, friends of friends etc) seemingly more than anywhere else in town.

I sat outside in the atmospheric alley and prepared to feast as this was my first time in Spain for a few months.

To begin, a complementary tapa of boiled cauliflower in vinegar and oil, which sounds terrible but was actually really nice (B+).


Next Alcachofas Juanito; artichokes with oil, water, garlic, onion, breadcrumbs and parsley. This dish is a past winner of the National Tapa Competition and they were one of the best ways I’ve ever had artichokes (A).


I nearly swooned over the Albondigas al Oloroso, or meatballs in oloroso sherry sauce (A+), I really must make them at home as I have the sherry.


Then Mollejas Salteados, aka sautéed sweetbreads. I ordered these as I’d developed a bit of a thing for sweetbreads (thymus glands) in Argentina a few months previously. Sadly though they were cut up too small and were dry and over fried (C). I should have had them ‘al Jerez’ as Frommers suggested but couldn’t see them on the menu.


All this washed down with some nutty ‘Alfonso’ Oloroso sherry (B+).

Juanito is a bit pricier than elsewhere but it’s worth it.

La Cruz Blanca (Intermediate B+), 16 Calle Consistorio,

Another locally famous tapas bar but perhaps with a more modern attitude than Juanito.

I wasn’t too impressed with their free tapas of Tuna and Potato salad and another plate with some kind of boiled pork. They tasted tired and flavourless (C+) as if they’d been made a while ago, and they filled me up too much.


It’s impossible to argue with a Tosta de Queso de Cabra con Cebolla Caramelazida, Miel y Nueces (toasted French bread with goat’s cheese, caramelized onion, honey and walnuts) as it’s just too delicious (A).


I’d ordered the Miniburguer de Ternera con Queso de Cabra y Cebolla Caramelazida (mini veal burger served with chips) without looking at the menu properly and realized I’d overdosed on the goat’s cheese and caramelized onion! It was still good though (B+).


A good place but I couldn’t eat any more due to them giving me too much free stuff!

I returned to give them another go on a rainy Monday in April 2016 and I’m glad I did. I had the excellent Croquetas de Puerro, Gambas y Algas Wakame (A).


Then the Huevos Rotos con Foie y Boletus, or lightly fried eggs with foie gras and cep mushooms, which was very oily but again delicious (A-).


With these glasses of the decent local whites Castillo de San Diego made from Palomino grapes by Bodega Barbadillo (B), and a Entrechuelos Chardonnay from Bodega Miguel Domecq (B).

Mesón del Asador (Intermediate B+), 2 Calle Remedios

I came to this grill house on the recommendation of a friend of a friend who suggested I have the Rabo de Toro (stewed oxtail) which is an Andalusian classic. It was very good (B+) if too ugly to picture.

It went well with a bottle of Marqués de Cáceres, a popular brand of Rioja (B).


All the recipes I’ve linked to are in Spanish. Just put them through Google translate to understand them. They don’t necessarily represent exactly what I ate but are the most similar I could find on the web in terms of ingredients.

To finish I had the famous Jerez dessert Tocinillo de Cielo, which is similar to flan except that it just uses egg yolks rather than the whole egg. It was good but tooth-rottingly sweet (B-).


A glass of PX with it was the only way to go. The wine (B) was called Caletero from Bodegas Almocadén, another local maker.


Pics posted Nov 2015 and Feb 2017.

Jerez de la Frontera – the station and around

Posted in Andalusia, Cadiz Province, Jerez, Spain with tags on March 5, 2017 by gannet39

The train station in Jerez is a tourist attraction in itself; the ceramics on the platform walls are really beautiful. Click on the photos to go to a full screen slide show.

It was apparently designed by Gustave Eiffel, he of Parisian tower fame, although I’ve found it hard to confirm that.

The food in the cafes opposite the station is nothing to write home about but they do have WiFi.

So here’s a little tip for anyone passing through or changing trains in Jerez around lunch time; take a short ten-minute walk to this place…

Google map here.

La Carbona (High Intermediate B+), 2 Calle Francisco de la Paula,

Recommended by Frommers and Fodor’s, this restaurant is located in an old bodega with rustic decor. It’s a big beautiful space (I’m guessing they could seat around 100) with lots of atmosphere. They have a €38 Menu de Degustacion that matches a sherry with each of the five courses, which of course I couldn’t resist.

After a complimentary potato salad (B) the menu proper started with Pastel de Caballa en Escabeche de Vinagre de Jerez, Foie, Cebolla Morada y Manzana, or mackerel cake in an escabeche of sherry vinegar, foie, red onion and apple (B+).


Which was matched with a Palo Cortado, quite a rare sherry and my next favourite after Oloroso (A).


Alcachofas Salteadas con Langostinos y Vino Fino, artichokes sautéed with langostino king prawn and fino sherry (B-).


This was paired with an Amontillado(B+), which is somewhere between a Fino and an Oloroso.


The Corvina, Tallarines de Espinaces y Pure de Guisantes, sea bass served with spinach noodles and a pea puree, was excellent (A).


Matched with Fino en Rama, a young, pale and dry sherry. En Rama literally means ‘raw’, or straight from the cask and unfiltered. As such, it’s quite hard to find. I only scored it a B but I’m an amateur when it comes to this wine.


The Chuleton de vaca de Cantabria, Cantabrian beefsteak (B+), with Chips (B+) provided the knockout punch.


Paired with Oloroso, my favourite sherry (B+). Oloroso means ‘scented’ and it refers to dark, aged sherries with a nutty flavour.


Helado de queso con coulis de frambuesa y coral de vino Fino, cheese ice cream with raspberry couli and a Fino biscuit (?) was also great (A).


This was paired with a medium Cream. Creams are a blend of dry and sweet sherry, usually Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez as in this case (B+).


Naturally this place also has an impressive list of brandies so I took the opportunity to try one I hadn’t had before; a Conde de Osborne Gran Reserva (B+).


With the homemade bread (A), water and a coffee this took the final bill to €50, which is very reasonable. The service was very good, if anything slightly overattentive (A-) but I was the only customer most of the time I was there due to arriving as soon as they opened at 12.30. The proprietress is lovely. Definitely a strong recommend.

Jerez de la Frontera – Sherry & Brandy

Posted in Andalusia, Cadiz Province, Jerez, Spain with tags , on November 21, 2015 by gannet39

Rather than go on one of the big bodega tours I chose to go to Bodegas Tradicion at 3 Calle de los Cordobeses (total cost €20).

Tradicion is one of the new up-and-coming bodegas in town. It was founded in 1998, by a descendent of an old sherry making family, and they make sherry and brandy according to traditional methods (hence the name).

Our friendly German guide explained that sherries are made from three main grape varietals. Dry sherry is made with Palomino grapes, mainly in the Jerez-Xérès-Sherry DO. The other varietals in the region are the very sweet Pedero Ximenez (PX) and Moscatel, which are principally grown in the Montilla-Moriles DO.


She then explained that there are four main kinds of dry sherry; Fino (dry, pale, aged under flor), Manzanilla (light Fino from Sanlúcar de Barrameda), Amontillado (dry, dark, aged under flor then exposed) and, my favourite, Oloroso (aged longer, darker, more alcoholic).


Other types include Palo Cortado (initially aged like an Amontillado for 3 or 4 years but then becomes more like an Oloroso once the flor is killed off) and Cream (a sweet sherry for the British market made from mixing Oloroso and PX).

She also described how the Solera system works whereby wines (or vinegars) of the same age are organized in groups of barrels called Criaderas. A portion of the oldest wine (legally not more than 35% but usually only 10-15%) is removed for drinking and replaced with wine from the next oldest criadera, which is replaced by the next oldest after that, and so on. There’s a more detailed explanation here.


Old wines are either designated VOS or VORS. VOS stands for Vinum Optimum Signatum (or unofficially Very Old Sherry) and applies to wine in the final Criadera in the Solera that has been aged on average for 20 years. VORS stands for Vinum Optimum Rare Signatum (or Very Old Rare Sherry) and has been aged for an average of 30 years.

At the end we got to taste three different sherries and two brandies . I’d never seen the brandies before and I really liked the ‘Gold’ Brandy Solera Gran Reserva (aged for more than 25 years) so I purchased a bottle to take home, for about €50 I think. I loved the taste of the ‘Platinum’ SGR (aged for more than 50 years) but at around €270 a bottle it was way beyond my means. Needless to say the brandy here is made to top quality standards.

The bodega also has an art collection, the Colección Joaquín Rivero, which you can see free of charge as part of the tour.



Many of the paintings are rather heavy medieval religious pieces but they include an El Greco and a few juvenile drawings on ceramics by a young Pablo Picasso.

Please see my separate posts on Eating & Drinking in Jerez here, and things to see in Jerez here.

The biggest bodega in town is Gonzalez Byass who make Tio Pepe, the world’s biggest selling Fino which actually isn’t too bad (B-).


Two favourites I buy regularly are their ‘Alfonso’ Oloroso (B+) and ‘Nectar’ Pedero Ximenez (B+).

Jerez de la Frontera – Stuff to See

Posted in Andalusia, Cadiz Province, Jerez, Spain with tags , , , , , , , on November 21, 2015 by gannet39


I’ve had a long standing obsession with Jerez, particularly for its brandy of which I am an aficionado, but also for sherry (which derives its name from the town) and vinegar. So in Feburary 2015 when my employer decided to send me to nearby Cádiz (the provincial capital, see separate posts), I took the opportunity to have three days holiday in this historical town before I started work.


I’ve written many other posts on Jerez, the index is here and my Google map is here.

I stayed at the lovely La Fonda Barranco at 12 Barranco It’s a renovated old town house with an interior courtyard and characterful rooms, each different to the other. Alejandro the manager is super helpful and very welcoming. He really puts the hours in as I think it’s a bit of a financial struggle to keep the place going. The breakfast is okay but you might want to eat out after a couple of days. Definitely recommended (B+).

Jerez became rich due to its wine industry and proximity to the ports of Seville and Cádiz. Consequently there are many beautiful palaces and churches dotted around the town.



I particularly like the baroque doorway of Palacio de Bertemati in Plaza Arroyo, built in 1785.



Plaza de la Asuncion has some beautiful features.




As does the Plaza del Mercado. The market is no longer here but the square has retained the name.



The Catedral de San Salvador in Plaza Encarnación is definitely worth a look. It has so many flying buttresses it looks as if it’s about to take off!



Make sure you check out the gargoyles along the sides of the Cathedral.


The Alcazar is what it is, an old Arabic fortress. I didn’t get to go inside as it was closed.

A lot of the time I got intentionally lost and just wandered around the winding streets.


And constantly stumbled upon visual gems.



There’s a fair bit of dereliction around and not much seems to be being done about it.


For example, Plaza San Lucas was supposed to be redeveloped as a centre for flamenco but the money has disappeared due to corruption and the square remains boarded off. Naturally some people aren’t too happy about it. The sign reads ‘We want more flamenco and less speculation’.


I also visited the Museo Arqueológico Municipal which is in Plaza del Mercado. It opens 10am-2pm and 4-7pm Tuesday-Friday, 10am-2.30pm at weekends. There’s not that much to see (the museum in Cadiz is better apparently) but there are a few nice exhibits.

My favourite pieces were the prehistoric icons that people in these parts once worshipped.


The origins of the city’s name, and perhaps its viticulture, comes from the Phoeneicans who called it ‘Sèrès’ (spelt Xera). This became ‘Sherish’ (spelt Xeres or Xerez) during the Muslim occupation which is the name that ‘sherry’ originates from. It stopped being a border town between the Moorish and Christian kingdoms after the reconquest in 1492 but has retained the name Frontera.

20150207_105202 - Copy

%d bloggers like this: