an ode to Spain and the best Olive Oil I've ever tasted
January has arrived, just as quickly as I thought it would.
There's something about a new calendar that gives us all the more reason to reflect on the whirlwind months behind us, the ups and downs, the mundane and transformative.
My trip to Spain last year was just that, transformative.
Similar to my time spent in Montana, I was along for the ride with FP Escapes, camera in hand, ready to take it all in. I had the unique experience of practicing yoga fully for the first time with an incredible teacher Mischa, learning about the importance of self care, and appreciating the land from our Shamanic Healer Maggie. Our hosts, the lovely and accommodating team behind Lucia Yoga kept us full of delicious vegan meals and helped us make the most of our time in the beautiful region of Andalucia.
A whirlwind journey, cloaked by the happy responsibility I had of photographing the yoga retreat, I came away with a much needed sense of calm, feeling a rejuvenation for life back home. The high we get from experiencing a new place often dissipates as quickly as it appears, but not this time. There are things I've taken with me from this place that I'll carry with me always. From riding horses through a beautiful valley (somehow managing to take pictures along the way, and not breaking myself or my camera in the process), to wandering the streets of Rhonda, the people and the landscape stole my heart. You could feel the rich history of the land everywhere we ventured.
With the theme of self care in mind, we took time to reflect and restore, to listen to our bodies and let our minds settle, all along the backdrop of the Spanish countryside. Everything was just a bit slower, and slow was so very much appreciated. The afternoon siesta was a necessary part of the routine, a daily reminder to take some time for yourself. It was during the trip that I got to push through the boundaries my body had found inhibiting for years, practicing yoga every day as I worked my way through a wrist injury. As I continue the practice at home, it's a constant reminder of what we're capable of when we take down our barriers, and work through things that are uncomfortable.
I'm thankful for what I got to take with me from this place. A token of the land, and a feeling of pure unfiltered gratitude for the people met, food devoured, wine drank and stories shared. Thank you, Spain.
Now, onto the olive oil that won me over.
The highlight for many of us, was a visit to an 11th generation family run Olive Oil Press, located in Zahara de la Sierra.
This was the olive oil that accompanied our meals during the retreat, and with everyone raving about the flavor it was such a treat to learn about it firsthand.
For 300 years, the oil has been processed in a similar way, staying true to the traditional style.
Using manzanilla olives, the oil is pressed manually with the result so delicious and pure tasting. After walking amongst the olive trees and hearing about the attention to detail, there was no way you couldn't appreciate the history of this place. From the piles of knotty olive bark, to the aged and remarkable machinery, seeing this traditional method passed down from generation to generation was something to marvel at. Of the three bottles I brought home only one survived, and I've been devouring it nearly every day in one way or another (meaning, it's time to order more). We use a lot of olive oil in our house, and once this bottle appeared on our counter it's been a daily reminder to appreciate food traditions, and to take an extra moment to truly savor.
If you're interested in purchasing some of the olive oil, they ship! You can send an email here for additional information.