AMONG CEREAL, VINE AND OLIVE LANDS, A PURPLE AND GOLD MANTLE ERUPTS IN LA MANCHA REGION. IN FRONT OF THE IMMENSE PLAIN IS A HILL, THE CALDERICO. ON ITS TOP STAND TWELVE WHITE “GIANTS”. THE INSPIRATION OF THE MOST FAMOUS WRITER OF SPANISH LITERATURE TO GIVE LIFE TO DON QUIXOTE.
It is said that since classical antiquity the stigmata of the saffron flower were scattered in the rooms where feasts were held. They were used as padding for cushions and were used for dyeing party dresses. Consuegra revives the ancestral tradition and welcomes inhabitants and foreigners, from October, 27th – 29th, in its LV edition of the Saffron Festival.
The cultivation tradition dates back to the high Middle Ages and originates in the Middle East. Saffron comes from the Latin ‘Safranun’. A derivation of Persian ‘zaferan’, meaning “gold”, “feather” or “stigmata”. Such importance had this spice that King Alfonso VIII himself reserved for the crown a third of Consuegra’s saffron harvest.
The orography and the climate of this village of La Mancha have been propitious for the growth of the world´s most valued spice. The transformation process has remained barely intact for more than twenty lustrums. The feast recreates the entire production process. From cultivation to harvesting, weeding and roasting. At present, Spain is the world´s second largest saffron producer and has a protected designation of origin: Azafrán de La Mancha.
LUCIO AND SANCHO
Four windmills still retain the original machinery. Sancho hosts the traditional ‘Molienda de la Paz’ on Saturday and, in Rucio, you can enjoy a guided tour or attend a daily grind. And the grindings are complemented with samples of traditional folklore, like the “Bolero” Windmill.
The festival continues on Sunday on the Plaza de España, where a group of Spanish choirs and dances gather to start the LV Edition of the “Rosa del Azafrán” National Folklore Festival. There is no lack of gastronomic enjoyment through a contest in which, in addition to sampling typical dishes of the locality, you can get to know the work of the La Mancha stoves.
TOLEDO AND ITS GASTRONOMY
Toledo, the sacred city of the ten synagogues that inspired artists such as El Greco and has been the stage for many novels, is known by the nickname of the Imperial City for being the seat of the Court of King Charles I. Built strategically on a granite hill and with a natural moat of the Tagus River, it has remained impassible to the future of history. Above, defending the city, the Alcázar. Building, half fortress and half a monastery, which has its origins in the Praetorian Palace.
It is impressive to contemplate its hanging buildings, where you can see the old walls. And wonderful to stroll through its tortuous streets to try to understand its layout, testimony of three cultures – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – that left an indelible mark on the city.
THE IMPERIAL INN
The best way to capture the essence of this magical city is from the distance that marks the Cerro del Emperador.
There stands the Parador de Toledo. A pleasure for resting. Outside, a perfect viewpoint to see the canvas of this World Heritage City.
Inside, spacious and luxurious facilities. The comfortable furniture is inserted with beams, stairs, wooden rails and Mudéjar elements in carpets and tiles.
And in the heat of its stoves, traditional cuisine delicacies such as pisto (ratatouille), roasted lamb or gazpachos from La Mancha.
Hunting dishes such as stewed partridge, venison or boar stews, pickled quail, garlic rabbit or rabbit or hare stew. Always watered by a good Mancha wine.