09 October 2011

Craft and Produce Fair

This week Alcalá hosted the first Feria de Muestras de Productos y Artesania del P.N. de Los Alcornocales, organised by the Junta de Andalucia Department of the Environment. The aims of the event, which will take place in a different location each year, are:

  • to raise awareness of the enormous environmental value of the Alcornocales Natural Park,
  • to inform the public about the traditional activities which take place there;
  • to acknowledge the role of the people who live and work in the Park;
  • to encourage sustainable development and tourism, which will benefit the 17 municipalities located within the Park, especially at a time when other forms of economic activity are failing.
Twenty stalls were set up in the Paseo de la Playa and the adjacent Parque Municipal.  Some were selling their locally produced goods including cheese, honey, chorizos, bread and cakes, wine, salt, pottery and glassware, wooden bowls and baskets.  Others provided demonstrations and talks by visiting experts on traditional activities such as making charcoal, cork harvesting, forestry and hunting.

Members of the Alcalá Adult Education Centre dressed up to provide a "living museum", culminating in a giant degustación of hot gazpacho, for which the town is famous.  The forestry stall sold indigenous plants; visiting schoolchildren were each given a sapling as part of the Plantemos para el Planeta (Let´s plant for the planet) initiative.   Behind the scenes there were lectures and workshops for professionals and organisations on how best to manage the Park's resources.  Guided walks and excursions into the Park were also available.

 Cheese from Queseria El Gazul

Honey products from the Rancho Cortesano

  Flor de Sal (Flowers of Salt) from the Bahia de Cadiz

 Decorative glassware from O'Chio Cristal,  Castellar de la Frontera 

Handmade dornillos for making gazpacho the traditional way

 Assorted handicrafts made in the Alcornocales

Mules are still used to transport cork from parts of the forest that lorries can't get to

¡Sin cabras no hay queso!
 La cocina de ayer - the kitchen of yesteryear

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