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THE TERRIBLE TRIO

As the year draws towards a close and darker nights arrive, there's doom and gloom in the campo; the terrible trio are with us and sending shivers down the spine!  I've written before individually on them but some of these articles were some time back and the threats are so great that I think an update would be useful to us all.

THE TERRIBLE TRIO: the 'ebola' of the olive trees; the black weevil/picudo negro of agaves and red weevil/picudo rojo of palms.

Xylella fastidiosa, known as the ebola of the olives, is the most recent and its effects have not yet been seen here but we all have good reason to be terrified of it. It is a bacteria that, at the moment, has no cure and can affect over 300 species, some of the most important being olive, orange, lemon, almond, grapevine, avocado, peach, nectarine, plum, pear, blueberry and ornamentals such as oaks, elms, sycamores, plane trees, oleander and rosemary. Some will simply be carriers of the bacteria and show no signs of the plague but they are a great threat to important crop trees. Insects as varied as scale insects, aphids, mosquitos and cicadas are all thought to be vectors, passing the bacteria from one plant to another. But, as usual, it is man (and woman!) that is doing and has done the main damage. The transport of live plants worldwide is a huge and profitable business; some of this plant material is infected.

WINE AND CHEER AT BODEGA BENTOMIZ

Christmas time is the time for wine! Did you know that one of Malaga's most prestigious wineries is right here in the Axarquia? Just above Sayalonga, about 20 minutes from the coast (or 10 from Cómpeta!) is Bodegas Bentomiz, where they make the wonderful Ariyanas wines – white, red and rosé, sweet and dry – in the most beautiful setting imaginable. Their glorious views of the mountains and the Mediterranean are complemented by their beautiful building. It is built in a modern style – very light and airy – but blends in with the landscape as the outer walls are clad in slate, which matches the slate 'terroir' of the vineyards. This setting has been delighting visitors for years. The winery's tours, wine-tasting, lunches and concerts are extremely popular – their 5-star TripAdvisor listing is full of eulogies to these experiences. “The Complete Wine Experience” describes their combined tasting and lunch service, as well as reflecting the bodega's philosophy: it is all about beautiful wines! The food isn't bad either. Created by the chef Juan Quintanilla, owner and manager of the Sollun restaurant in Nerja (named for Juan's daughters, Sol and Luna), the menus are designed to pair perfectly with the wines they accompany. This is the reverse of standard practice: as Juan says “In my restaurant the food comes first and then the wine; in Bodegas Bentomiz the wine is first and then the food.” Juan works with André and a dedicated kitchen team to produce from fresh, local ingredients, exquisite dishes to delight and surprise. They look for lightness, delicacy and elegance. They aim to use ingredients that are really fresh – fish bought from the coast that morning; herbs picked from the garden 20 minutes before – because the fresher the food, the more taste it carries with it.

CHRISTMAS WITH BODEGA BENTOMIZ

Christmas time is the time for wine! Did you know that one of Malaga's most prestigious wineries is right here in the Axarquia? Just above Sayalonga, about 20 minutes from the coast (or 10 from Cómpeta!) is Bodegas Bentomiz, where they make the wonderful Ariyanas wines – white, red and rosé, sweet and dry – in the most beautiful setting imaginable. Their glorious views of the mountains and the Mediterranean are complemented by their beautiful building. It is built in a modern style – very light and airy – but blends in with the landscape as the outer walls are clad in slate, which matches the slate 'terroir' of the vineyards. This setting has been delighting visitors for years. The winery's tours, wine-tasting, lunches and concerts are extremely popular – their 5-star TripAdvisor listing is full of eulogies to these experiences. “The Complete Wine Experience” describes their combined tasting and lunch service, as well as reflecting the bodega's philosophy: it is all about beautiful wines! The food isn't bad either. Created by the chef Juan Quintanilla, owner and manager of the Sollun restaurant in Nerja (named for Juan's daughters, Sol and Luna), the menus are designed to pair perfectly with the wines they accompany. This is the reverse of standard practice: as Juan says “In my restaurant the food comes first and then the wine; in Bodegas Bentomiz the wine is first and then the food.” Juan works with André and a dedicated kitchen team to produce from fresh, local ingredients, exquisite dishes to delight and surprise. They look for lightness, delicacy and elegance. They aim to use ingredients that are really fresh – fish bought from the coast that morning; herbs picked from the garden 20 minutes before – because the fresher the food, the more taste it carries with it.

LEON BLANCO

Hendrieka moved to Spain 17 years ago and now fluent in Spanish with a 12 year old son she felt it was time to do something for herself and achieve some of her own ambitions. Over the many years in Spain she had been practicing her creative and artistic talents as more of a hobby and a form of relaxation and escapism but over more recent year's thoughts of using them in a business came to mind. Hendrieka had become friends with a neighbour, John, who came back and forth from the UK and was an antique dealer, furniture maker and restorer. Henrieka initially helped John update his furniture with her artistic skills. Over time the idea of a shop in Competa came to fruition. Hendrieka had spotted the perfect location with parking right outside, large premises with great light. The business plan was to sell antique furniture. John was able assist to some extent with stock as he regularly sourced unique pieces from all over Europe. Furniture could be left as it is, as a genuine antique piece or could be updated by Hendrieka, using her artistic talents or restored using John's professional skill. The aim was to create a unique, authentic and interesting furniture shop for people to visit, browse and of course buy. In June 2015 the furniture shop opened in Competa named Leon Blanco Antiguedades y mas and has proved successful to both locals and customers from further afield and all nationalities.

Wine, Dining and Song

Christmas time is the time for wine! Did you know that one of Malaga's most prestigious wineries is right here in the Axarquia? Just above Sayalonga, about 20 minutes from the coast (or 10 from Cómpeta!) is Bodegas Bentomiz, where they make the wonderful Ariyanas wines – white, red and rosé, sweet and dry – in the most beautiful setting imaginable. Their glorious views of the mountains and the Mediterranean are complemented by their beautiful building. It is built in a modern style – very light and airy – but blends in with the landscape as the outer walls are clad in slate, which matches the slate 'terroir' of the vineyards. This setting has been delighting visitors for years. The winery's tours, wine-tasting, lunches and concerts are extremely popular – their 5-star TripAdvisor listing is full of eulogies to these experiences. “The Complete Wine Experience” describes their combined tasting and lunch service, as well as reflecting the bodega's philosophy: it is all about beautiful wines!

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