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Tuesday, December 16th "A trip to the land of ham; Celebrating Christmas and Reyes"

The holiday season wouldn't be complete without a trip to the land of ham and cured meats! If you love pig you will never be disappointed in your dining options west of Sevilla. We spent last Sunday on a quest for chacina and jamón serrano for Christmas and New Years dining. About 2 hours from Sevilla we traveled to Cortegana before backtracking to Jabugo for another meal which would make many vegetarians cry. If you end up in Jabugo and eat meat definitely make it to Bodega Restaurante Jabugo. We started with the obligatory plate of jamón and then inspired by Carlos (and with no arguments from me) proceeded to order plate after plate: a surtido iberico including 8 kinds of cured meats and sausages; croquetas de jamón; a surtido de carne a la brasa including presa, pluma, costillas and more; another plate of presa iberica and then another plate of pluma iberica. Finally, pastry, coffee and then a gin and tonic for me to finish everything off. After all of this we headed out to buy chacina.

Between 5 people we dropped over 300€ on one jamón of good quality, plus two paletillas, smaller hams which are more economical and still quite tasty. Other meats such as chorizo, caña de lomo, salchichon and a few cheeses made their way to the trunk and back to Sevilla with us.

We managed to see a good amount on our trip, passing through the Picos de Aroche and some other natural areas. Being in Sevilla it was good to get away, see some trees and actually go up and down a hill for once. Hardwoods which supply the pigs with acorns, and pines become more and more common as you move west an higher in altitude. We managed a stop at a castillo in Cortegana for a rest and a few pictures. Making our way back we stopped in Aracena which is a nice little pueblo with plenty going on in the center. If I were to move to a pueblo around here it would likely be Aracena. Beautiful streets and monuments, plenty of places to eat and a great little pastry which is famous all the way to Sevilla - Confiteria Rufino. Somehow after all the eating we managed to buy some pasteles and chocolate with almonds. Somehow we managed to eat that and finish off a coffee. It's been a long week of eating, and we've got Christmas and New Years to come.

With parts of my family living in Sevilla and Granada's family of course being from Sevilla we're trying to reconcile the two holiday's and traditions. Do we give gifts on Christmas day as is tradition with my family, or do we do them on Reyes, which will give us both more time to shop? Do we celebrate with my sister and her husband on the 25th and open some gifts with them and then wait for Reyes on the 6th for the rest? Can we afford all this damn gift-giving??? Sorry, that's the Grinch in me speaking for minute, but we are looking forward to somehow mixing the traditions. We will have a traditional large dinner on the night of the 24th and then a Christmas day dinner on the 25th at my sister's place. I know what you all may be thinking now - does this guy do anything other than eat and work on this web page? Yes, I go to Betis games and you can find me at several bars sipping on a cold beer during the week. I also don't sleep much, so that gives me plenty of time to do other stuff along the way.