The year of 1950 the “Photo Goldner” Agency sent two photographers to portray Spain. In the same trip they also crossed the Mediterranean for a “Romantic Tour” in Tunisia and Morocco. We know very little about this Photo Goldner Agency, solely that it had its headquarters in number 4 Claude Debussy square, 17th district of the city of Paris. Also they worked mainly with magazines and publications like LIFE.
It is not Jamón de Pata Negra nor olive oil nor even the popular Paella or the traditional Córdoba Salmorejo, what is being a sold-out recipe around the world this XXIst century is our simple very modest Churro. It is a very familiar recipe all along the Americas (Hispanic Americas), many countries have their own version, filled with cream, chocolate, you name it.
It is said that Philogelos (from the Greek “laughter lover”) is the first written compilation of jokes in history, although I am sure that the idea of a joke is far older than that. It must have been born the very first day humans raised their voices to speak right alongside laughter.
Every single inhabitant of Madrid knows that when looking up at night the only stars he might see are the ones in the flag. This is also true for the inhabitants of Barcelona or any one of the 10 most populous cities in Spain. But not only this is true in Spain, every single human being living in a relatively big city cannot enjoy a starry night, it is somehow forbidden.
There is something that you can happily leave out when visiting Córdoba and that is the bottle of water which, along with the camera, makes tourists recognizable all over the world. For there are very few cities in the planet that offer such a vast network of public fountains with the best drinkable water.
The Ministry of Agriculture has recently granted the best Spanish wine of 2019 award to the Fino Capataz Solera de la Casa, original from Montilla-Moriles (Bodegas Alvear) in Montilla (Córdoba). The quality of a wine that, as of today, is not very popular among users and is constantly undervalued by the world’s wine industry is finally acknowledged.
It was the writer Camilo José Cela the one who eventually coined the term “yoga ibérico” to speak of napping or siesta, a true Iberian habit. This great author claimed that napping ought to be done in full gear: “pajamas, bedtime prayer and urinal” –urinals under the bed sets us in another time–; although doctors do not agree with long siestas.
Many are the Spanish dishes that have traveled the world: “paella”, “tortilla de patatas”, “fabada”, “cachopo”, “ensaladilla rusa”, “croquetas”, “cocido”, “gazpacho”… however none of those delicious dishes have orbited the Earth, with the single exception of our beloved “salmorejo”.
It is not all that clear how the connection between the city of Córdoba and San Rafael begun, but I will do my best to explain it. First of all, many believe that San Rafael is the patron Saint of Córdoba: it means a festive day, the city is filled with sculptures and other representations of this Saint and of course Rafael is the most popular name for boys in the city; that would easily lead anyone to believe so. San Rafael, at many levels, acts as a true patron Saint but is not.
How come beer is served in big pint or half pint glasses north of the Pyrenees and here in Spain we pull it in little glasses called cañas? Germans and Englishmen, most Europeans in general, are usually shocked the first time they see the minimalistic size of the glasses here; and then they usually ask for the biggest glass in the bar, and that is their mistake. They have forgotten the first rule when traveling and that is: “wherever you go, do what you see.” It is not that we drink less beer –although it could very well be– it is simply that we drink it in smaller glasses.
It is not the oldest in the country but the Córdoba Fair is old nonetheless. It was a privilege awarded by king Sancho IV in 1322, and it gave the city permission to hold two annual fairs: “the first one on White Sunday or Pentecost (the 21st of May) and a second one the 8th of September where, traditionally, farmers and nearby villagers gather to buy and sell cattle and goods from all over the country so that they can fulfill their contracts.”
You’ve successfully studied our language and, quite satisfied, you go out to practice and show what you’ve learned to the world. However, to your surprise, in the city you are in, you hardly understand half of what you hear. Take a deep breath, you’ve got to understand it is not your fault, every city in Spain has its own slang and accent. As far as Córdoba goes, it may not be as rich but it sure is used heavily. Now, I’ve written a short story using as much Córdoba slang as possible so in the near future you can identify the local tongue and be able to get by in any given conversation.
Nowadays Córdoba is quite an active city. Shows and cultural events are daily programmed throughout the many flourishing spaces the city has to that end. We have gathered here the most relevant sites in the web, so you are at all times informed about what is happening in the city.
The first issue we face when looking up restaurants on-line in Córdoba would be choosing the right Córdoba in the world. For instance, Córdoba, Argentina, has five times the population of our city, so it is likely that its presence on-line would be at least five times bigger. However, you can narrow the search by simply writing “Mezquita” right next to “Córdoba”; Andalucía, Moriles, Salmorejo… will also do.
Everything in Viento10 is pure sensuality. We capture the world with our five senses (well… perhaps six), they mean the tools with which we build sensations, we tell beauty from ugliness, hot from cold, soft from hard...
We design your stay with each one of the five senses in mind and we take care of every little detail. It is not easy to keep up with this city of patios and flowers.
For us, natives, it is hard to believe there are people willing to visit the city in July and August. I feel for them. They decided summer time was the best time to come and explore Córdoba. And I guess it is all right, vacations cannot always take place whenever we would like them to be. Besides, visitors will eventually leave, and that makes it less of a tragedy. Nevertheless, since we do have to endure this hellish temperatures year after year, we have learned valuable little tricks to go through summer unharmed. Here is a basic guide to enjoy a tour in Córdoba: the Summer laws.
The fact that the outdoor cinema (or summer cinema) in Córdoba had not stopped showing movies since its foundation in the twenties of this past century, creates an unique environment for cinema in the city. It is an old summery tradition with deep roots in its citizens. Back in the fifties, for example, more than fifty cinemas of this kind cohabited in Córdoba.
Let's go to the Fair
The Fair of Nuestra Señora de la Salud of Córdoba takes place during the last week of May (from the 20 to the 27 of May). It is the highpoint of a month (May) full of celebrations that ends with a color explosion along the banks of the Guadalquivir river. Although far enough not to cause any discomfort to the hotel, it is, however, close for anyone to walk there and enjoy a lively time.
Just like watching the Chinese feeding on grasshoppers some may be disgusted by the mere sound of it: snails in their own sauce. However it is among the most popular traditions in Córdoba, believe or not “caracoles en su salsa” is a pure delicacy. An ancient tradition, there is no such thing as an Andalucía without snails. Farmers grew them in the fallow lands, they throw pieces of rubble or big simple tiles on the ground and snails place their home underneath them. There they are left to thrive until Spring comes and the insides of these tiles and rubble are revealed, then snails are harvested. In the southern parts of Spain it is quite normal to find them safely glued to the shade of prickly pears.
Friends, even though the Chinese wish to emulate our “jamón” and, in the oak groves of Texas, the Americans are already at it, I am not overstating myself by saying Spain is without a doubt the mother of all “jamones de pata negra”. Even more so now that the Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Environment granted for the first time the “Spanish Food Award to the Best Jamón of 2016”, the categories were “Jamón de bellota ibérico” and “Jamón Serrano or other Acknowledged Quality Figures”. The winner for the “Jamón de bellota ibérico” was the Jamón de bellota 100% ibérico “Encinares del Sur” from the protected designation of origin Los Pedroches (Córdoba). As of today we can officially state that Córdoba is home to the best Jamón in the World.
“The cask of Amontillado” is the famous title of one of the best stories of Edgar Allan Poe, a tale of vengeances in which a cask of Amontillado lures the victim into a most gruesome fate. Well, my friend, you are indeed in the land of this desired wine. The Amontillado, along with the Pedro Ximénez, is the crown jewel of the winery Montilla Moriles. Although they are not easy to find, nor even in its own country. It is only in certain taverns and bars where one might be able to enjoy such an exquisite wine.