Spanish Wine and Windmills in Consuegra, Toledo

Photography: Jane Mitchell (Foodografa)

 

 

In the distance, we spotted them — the windmills of Consuegra, like giants peering over the vast fields of La Mancha. All at once, they conjured images of a certain questing knight-errant named Don Quixote and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza.

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Chasing windmills. Photo: Jane Mitchell
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There be giants. Photo: Jane Mitchell

Together with my trusty foodventure crew, we took a day trip and drove to the town of Consuegra in Toledo, about an hour’s drive from Madrid.

Far from slaying giants, our quest was to appease our gigantic appetites – for among these windmills lies a fabled Gastromolino, a quaint little restaurant inside the 16th century Caballero del Verde Gabán windmill. This is the only restaurant in the world within a still functioning windmill!

Up a winding staircase amidst curious photographs and sketches, we were pleasantly surprised to discover a cozy, candlelit space where we could ensconce ourselves within the stone walls and indulge in exquisite Manchego cheeses and local wine from the vineyards of La Mancha.

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What would cheeses do? Photo: Jane Mitchell
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Oh so cozy! Gastromolino restaurant within a windmill. Photo: Jane Mitchell 
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Man and woman with La Munchies. My fellow foodventurers, Eyad and Tamara. Photo: Jane Mitchell

Gastromolino offers a seasonal menu based on the local produce available. I highly recommend the degustación or tasting menu (for a very affordable 14eu per person!) that comes with Spanish jamón iberico paired with sparkling local white wine from La Mancha, three kinds of cured and semi-cured Manchego cheese, one of which was dipped in locally produced olive oil, served with an incredible Alaferlay tempranillo (black grape variety) crianza wine.

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Dining with wine and candlelight. Photo: Jane Mitchell

Flour Power

After the tasting venture, we stopped by next door to check out a still fully functioning windmill, which uses wind power to grind wheat grain. Outside, men pulled on ropes attached to the windmill’s sails to rotate the dome according to the wind’s direction. Inside, a guide showed us how flour was produced through this ingenious medieval mechanism.

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Majestic flour mill within the windmill. Photo: Jane Mitchell
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The grain in Spain. Photo: Jane Mitchell

 

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Daily grind. Wheat grains get grinded down down using the mechanical power of wind. Photo: Jane Mitchell

Sunsets and saffron

At sunset, our eyes were treated to a visual feast as the medieval Castle of Consuegra lit up to play with the colours of the sweeping saffron fields by the setting sun.

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Knight to Castle. The Castle of Consuegra, former stronghold of the Knights of San Juan, the Spanish branch of the Knights Hospitallers. Photo: Natalia Diaz
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At the day’s close. Photo: Jane Mitchell

 

Overall, Consuegra was such a gorgeous, unexpected surprise which I highly recommend to travellers looking a different day trip beyond the Toledo tourist trap. I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t expecting much – after living in Spain for 12 years, I sometimes get the “estar ahí y hacerlo” – been there, done that affliction, which is why Consuegra was such a beautiful, welcome treat.

I should also mention that this day was fitting celebration for officially attaining Spanish citizenship just a few weeks ago. Coming to this special place with good friends to relish Spanish literature, food and wine made me feel fully grateful to be living in this fascinating country.

*******

Gastromolino tour details: A warm “muchísimas gracias” to Civitatis for inviting me to this incredible (and highly recommended) Consuegra Gastronomy Tour.

Editorial content is all my own.

 

 

 

 

 

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