It’s the smell of wet earth that strikes me; tantalises me, as I step out into the early morning sunshine.
The sun’s rays, shining through tall pines along neat rows of vines hanging heavy with black merlot grapes blind, as I crunch along the gravel path from my villa to the Casa Grande for breakfast, with eyes shaded.
The fresh morning air is all a twitter with birds, and geese honking from across the River Tormes, a tributary of the Duero that’s running underneath the main 14th century building that was once a Dominican Convent.
Ten kilometres from Salamanca, we are in the heart of the Duero Valley, ensconced at Hacienda Zorita, set amidst vineyards of the Marqués de la Concordia wines. So tranquil: the only sounds are the birds, geese, and trickle of water. It’s 9 am and not a soul from the hacienda to be seen. Mozart plays softly in the breakfast room.
Yoghurt in an earthenware pot, Iberian ham, sliced tomato with a splash of the hacienda’s own olive oil, make for a healthy start in the farm-to-table restaurant. But there’s no denying myself, as I dip ‘little finger’-size bread sticks into a round of Torta de la Dehesa, a soft sheep’s milk, local cheese that’s a bit like runny camembert, and made here in the hacienda.
Mid morning, and the heat of the day extracts smells more pungent than the pleasing wet earth of early morning. Pines that hug old stonewalls and straggly lengths of old lavender bloom make a pleasing potpourri right outside my villa.
I’m staying home today.
PICASA WEB ALBUM
|Salamanca – Hacienda Zorita|