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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.

THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS PLANTINGS

The Twelve Days of Christmas is one of our oldest known Christmas songs, but I wonder how many of you know its history? Well it is a little lost in the mists of time but the first known printed version of the song appeared in a children's book called Mirth without Mischief around 1780 published in England, though the song is believed to be French. It's thought that it started as a Christmastime “memories and forfeits” game in which someone recited the first verse; each player repeated the verse and added another until someone made a mistake. The forfeit was likely a kiss under the mistletoe! But I thought we could give it a little twist and use it as memory game of some of the best Mediterranean plants to include in your garden next year. On the first day, a partridge in a pear tree. Well pear trees aren't the most common here but I think we could substitute it with a pomegranate tree, glowing redly for Christmastime. On the second day, two turtle doves. Soft as a doves' wings are the leaves on albizia julibrissin Chocolate, the chocolate silk tree and the tree of love, cercis siliquastrum, with romantically heart-shaped leaves and rosy pink flowers. On the third day, three French hens. Let's have three climbers with gorgeous edible fruits. The pitanga or Brazilian cherry, kiwi vine and passion vine.

CLAIMING AN INHERITANCE IN SPAIN

This article we explain the procedures to follow when handling an inheritance in Spain. However, it is important to note that this is only a summary of the salient points, and to ensure the correct procedure is followed the intervention of a specialized attorney is necessary. 1.First it is essential to obtain the death certificate from the country where the person died. In the case of foreigners who have died in their country of origin and have assets in Spain the Death Certificate would be obtained there and then should be translated into Spanish and an “Apostille” (an official stamp), should be acquired to make it valid for use in Spain. Without this document, which is the only official proof of death, the heirs will not be able to process the inheritance. 2.Secondly, after 15 working days from the death (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays), The Certificate of Wills and, where necessary, The Contracts and Insurance Certificate must be acquired. The first is necessary to confirm whether or not a will has been signed by the deceased, and the second as proof of any insurance contracts that provide compensation for the death. In order to obtain these certificates it would be necessary to present the Death Certificate, fill out an official application form and provide proof of payment of the fee (currently 3.60 € for each certificate). These certificates are issued on the spot.

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