Swine and Cheese

A passion for Pigs and Food

Andalucia trip

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Susie & Rupert's finca

Susie & Rupert's finca

About 50% of the living/kitchen area!

About 50% of the living/kitchen area!

Luckily for us Neale and I were invited to stay last weekend with our great friends Rupert and Susie at their stunning Spanish finca set in olive groves near to the town of Casarabonela in Andalucia. Called El Pueblecillo the finca is the culmination of a three year adventure Susie, Rupert and their three children took back in 2003. The idea was to immerse themselves in Spanish life completely, learning to speak Spanish fluently and to navigate the unbelievably complicated local planning laws and the black and white markets(!) involved as well as making many friends along the way. To their credit Rupert and Susie threw themselves and Emily, Ben and Eliza into Spanish life. The kids were taken to the local school and left to fend for themselves and Rupert and Susie took Spanish lessons whilst at the same time searching for that elusive plot of land with a ruin (plus roof) to renovate. Apparently you can only renovate if there is a roof still attached! Finally after nearly a year of searching they found their dream location and plot. Two years of hard work later they have created what must be the most beautiful Spanish home I’ve ever seen. It is just that, a home, not a holiday home. Susie’s family are incredibly artistically talented, St Martins School of Art and Slade being the two art schools various family members have attended. As such Susie’s flare for not only interior design but the whole vision of what she wanted to create for her family has resulted in a home of generous proportions and amazing light, art, panoramic views of the surrounding olive groves and overall beauty.

The swimming pool

The swimming pool

Rupert & Susie with olive grove in background

Rupert & Susie with olive grove in background

Rupert and Susie returned to the UK to live three years ago so that their children could attend English schools for their senior education. Fortunately they were able to to keep their Spanish home with a view to spending winter months there in their retirement, many years off! The finca is available to rent from rsvillas and I would highly recommend it. Six large bedrooms, multiple bathrooms/wetrooms and a vast, stunning living/kitchen area with enormous fireplace and views. Also a wonderful swimming pool, boules pitch, trampoline and numerous shaded areas for sleeping or reading and an idyllic setting only 40 minutes from the coast, with day trips to Cordoba, Granada and Seville possible. Picking what must be the juiciest, tastiest oranges from their orange trees by the swimming pool for breakfast was simply wonderful. To be honest though when you’re there you’ll probably just want to sit outside in the sun (22′C daytime temp this Feb weekend!) cradling a very large glass of delicious local wine, dipping bread into the divine olive oil Susie has made from their own olives whilst soaking up the view and tranquility. Heaven!

Susie’s oil business Fino has now grown to the extent that not only does she use her own olives but also the locally grown olives from various friends’ groves surrounding Casarabonela, cold pressed at the local co-operative to produce a range of extra virgin olive oils which she imports, decants into beautiful bottles and sells both by mail order and at various fairs. At Dukeshill we used to stock an excellent extra virgin olive oil called Mani Olivenol Blauel made by Friedrich Blauel, an Austrian who set up his olive oil business in the Messinia region of Greece. His olive oils have won many awards and his oil was featured recently on the BBC Radio 4 food programme. Green with a herby smell and slightly peppery after taste it was delicious. Susie produces a single variety oil, a blended oil and several infused versions using the blended oil with fresh basil, garlic lemons or chilli.

I have to say although I love the Mani oil it is quite an intense taste and since we delisted it from our product range, due to poor sales, I have consumed vast quantities of Susie’s oils, slugging platefuls of food with her delicious blended oil. It is now the only olive oil I use. If ever I ended up on a desert island I would hope it would be with a never ending supply of this! I highly recommend it to you.

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Written by Sarah

February 8th, 2010 at 7:00 pm