Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

A Good Reason to Toast

A choice of wines from local vineyards
Carmi over at Writteninc. has given us the enjoyable subject of ‘Drink Up’ for his Thematic Photographic challenge this week.  Of course we don’t have to be urged twice! I managed to resist the temptation to post pictures of family and friends raising a glass or two to the camera. Instead, I offer you a pictorial souvenir of a visit last month to the Monumento al Campesino, here in Lanzarote (Monument to the Farmer). The brainchild of visionary César Manrique, it’s a celebration of the resilience of the local farmers and the significance of agricultural life on the island. It’s situated in the geographical centre of the island in the heart of the beautiful landscape of La Geria, famous for wine-making. The vines are grown in the harsh volcanic landscape, protected from the elements by zocos, pits dug into the ground and surrounded by stone walls; a method unique to Lanzarote.

Examples of zocos
There’s very little rainfall in Lanzarote, and historically the islanders relied on rainwater or from supplies imported by boat from other islands. Until the sea-water desalination system was set up in the 1960s, farmers had to be very canny about their system for harvesting the little rain which did fall.

The ‘living’ museum has artisans practising their crafts, and examples of wine-presses and other agricultural and domestic implements. There was a wonderful restaurant, where we had a couple of courses. We couldn’t eat any more because, as you can see, they were very filling!  This was my starter, which at home would have been enough to keep me going all day. Patatas Arrugadas (sometimes called ‘wrinkly potatoes’ because cooking method, using a lot of salt, makes the skins crinkle), served with the traditional red and green garlic sauces (Mojo Sauce), dried dates, and slices of Canarian ‘Curado and Semi-Curado’ goats cheeses. The surprise was the dark slices in the centre of the dish. made with gofio flour. These were quite sweet and reminded me of a cross between a marzipan or truffle sweetmeat. I tried them to be polite, but they would have been just too much. The chickpea and fish stew which followed, was delicious, but again, very filling, and had I known the portion size, I would definitely nott have ordered the starter. It always seems impolite to leave food, but I really couldn’t have eaten another mouthful.

Starter: Canarian cheese, gofio, dates and Canarian  Potatoes with Mojo Sauces
The restaurant served a selection of local wines and of course, there was the  opportunity to purchase them in the shop. They were beautifully displayed, with information on each wine and the different vineyards and growers. It was difficult to resist and here’s one we managed to save from suffering the fate of the other bottle, which went very well with supper that night. Click on the link in the caption to learn more.

Malvaisia wine from El Grifo
Examples of the old wine barrels, housed in the converted farm. 
 In this poster diplayed there can be seen a typical Canarian farmer.  
The poster bears the following the legend:

"Francisco has been fighting for his land for over 50 years. It is to his endeavours and the warmth of our land that we owe the excellence of our wines.”

The headings says:

“Wines with the denomination of origin Lanzarote. A good reason to toast”

So “Cheers everybody!” and when you’ve drained your glass, totter over to Writteninc. to see what other TP participants have come up with.

I’m also linking this post to Weekend Cooking, which is Beth Fish’s weekly meme for all things food-related: book, movie reviews, recipes, anecdotes, quotations and photographs are all welcome. I’ve learned a lot from my visits there. Go on have a go!


  1. ...and cheers to you too! Your post was a special treat, and it brought back fond memories of visiting some vineyards ...something I find incredibly fun! What great pictures and I think I'm getting a bit thirsty to try one of those fine wines! As always so happy to stop by and browse!

  2. I had never heard of zoccos before. What an innovative way to protect those tender vines.

  3. Cheers Nell. I recall going to a vineyard when we visited Lanzarote and sampling some of the wine. But it was the shape and design of those zoccos that remained in my mond and as soon as I saw your photo it took me back six or seven years to a lovely holiday. As I say, cheers.

  4. What an interesting post! I liked the pits and little walls to protect the vines. Maybe we will see them if we call at Lanzarote on our cruise next year!

  5. Hi Nell, this was so interesting! Thanks for pulling it together for us. It is funny, Oregon has a booming vineyard reputation over the past 30 years, and I never have visited one yet ... and I do like a good glass of Merlot.

    See you on Saturday!

    Kathy M.

  6. Hello, Little Nell.

    Awe inspiring your works...

    Thank you for your love and sincerity.
    Have a good day.

    The traditional celebration, with kimono infants.

    Japanese colored leaves, in heartwarming space.

    The prayer for all peace.

    From Japan, ruma ❀

  7. Hubby and I stopped off at a vineyard when we were last in Lanzarote, me being a non-wine drinker was a bit lost but hubby enjoyed himself greatly sampling the local wines :o) Scarlett x

  8. I hadn't heard of zocos so these are interesting to see. El Grifo now that's different and a drink I've enjoyed.

  9. Thanks for this interesting and informative post. Your appetizer looks delish, and I have to agree with you that that would have been enough for a meal or two alone for me.

  10. Such an interesting post! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Interesting post! Very innovative.
    The food looks delicious, I can see why you'd be stuffed.

  12. Monumento al Campesino sounds like a wonderful place to visit. Thank you for the interesting background!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  13. I enjoyed both your words and pictures. I'm in wine country too - Sonoma County, California (US). I liked comparing what I know with what you are seeing. Cheers, from one retiree to another.

  14. Cheers! What a fun post. Wish I was there....

  15. Fabulous post -- learned something and I love your photos, especially the one with the wine barrels. I would love to see your wine country in person one day.

  16. This was quite interesting-thank you.

  17. What a lovely post!!! I've only visited one small vineyard in my life so far and would love to visit more like this one in your post :)

  18. The photos are beautiful. Thank you for sharing your wine expedition with us. I visited a local vineyard recently but we didn't get a behind-the-scenes look.