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Christmas Time In The South Of Spain – A sweet trip to Estepa

October 26th, 2017 by admin | Filed under Blog.

Estepa is a small town of some 12000 inhabitants. It is situated at a height of 604 m and belongs to the province of Seville, the capital at 110 km distance. Its origins can be traced back to prehistoric times as remains like flint tools and axes were found. It is famous in the whole of Spain and beyond because Estepa is where the sinful and delicious Christmas sweets are made.

There are some 30 factories were in total 18 million kilograms are produced each year. From September onward till December, 2000 people are employed of which 90% are women. One famous sweet is called Mantecado, it is like crumble cake and one of its ingredients is pork fat. Other sweets are made of natural ingredients like almond, honey, etc. and luckily very few additives are used. The sweets are put into boxes and shipped all over the country to be sold in small shops or supermarkets. There is a nice tradition be it the petrol station or the lottery man in our village, during Christmas time they will have a plate with sweets standing and will offer them to you and sometimes they might also ask you if you want a small drink.

From the Costa del Sol we left on a sunny morning in October and after a coffee stop on the way, we arrived at Estepa some 2 hours later. First, we went up on the mountain behind this rather small village to visit the old Palace of the Marquesses of Estepa which was built on top of the former Islamic fortress. The coat of arms of the city Estepa, these city rights were given by Queen Maria Cristina de Habsburgo-Lorena in 1886, has something peculiar. Ostippo? Quid Ultra? freely translated, it means, ?What more than Estepa? Being the only coat of arms in Spain with a question mark. We walked around enjoying the lovely view from up there taking many photos.

Back down in the village, we went to one of the oldest factory’s La Estepena. On entering the building you will find a little museum which shows the visitor how the sweets were made in old times. It was all heavy handwork, people stirring in big copper vats.

Each year there is a display entirely made up of chocolate. It is big, some 8m long by 3m wide. In 2017 the theme was Paris. It was an amazing sight seeing all the important monuments and buildings in miniature and made of chocolate. The entrance fee was only 1 Euro but one was given 2 sweets to wet one’s appetite. Afterward one can go to the shop. With each a big plastic bag in hand, we went with a scoop and started filling up a bit from here and there. You won’t believe how quickly we each filled our bags and ended up with in total 3 kg.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris

Basilica du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre

Then we went to the center to have a nice lunch with the locals, a little stew and a glass of wine to top it off with an espresso. On coming home later that afternoon we stored the sweets away, not really well I must admit as only half of the Christmas sweets lasted till the holidays.

I hope you like my story about the Christmas sweets in Estepa South of Spain! I have been an avid traveler and very interested in collecting different types of stones. Come to my website and take a look at other places I have traveled as well.

Happy Travels!
Taetske Guillaume


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21 Responses to “Christmas Time In The South Of Spain – A sweet trip to Estepa”

  1. I love Exotic travel destinations. I have only been to Spain once at a very early age with my Husband. We wanted to explore Spain a bit more but we didn’t have much time. We found a tour that was going to Ivory coast and Alhambra South of Spain. It was 3 days and 2 nights.

    The first stop was a very enchanting midcentury fortress just 2hours from Madrid we had a lunch there and walked the enchant streets taking in the narrow street and enchant shops. It was enchanting you could feel the time as if nothing had changed. The narrow cobblestone streets that cannot be traveled other than by foot. It was an incredible feeling taking you back in time. If there is anything that comes close to time travel this was it.

    Next stop Sevilla on the Ivory Coast we arrived late and we had very little time to explore but it was incredible just saying that we were in Sevilla it made me think of the Three Musketeers. Kings and Queens of Spain and Christoffer Columbus. I am a reader and loved movies, I had seen many historic movies of these times and I was right there in the middle. My imagination is not half of what I could write about.

    The next Morning we left for the Alhambra and stopped to take in the view of Africa of the Ivory Coast what an incredible feeling.

    Thanks, Taetske for sharing with us your sweet trip to Estepa and bring back sweet memories. linda

    • Good Morning Linda,

      Thank you for reading my post. I can imagine you remembered all these nice trips from the past. Travelling is one of the nicest things one can do in life. Memories stay with us forever.I am happy you enjoyed my sweet story.

      Regards, Taetske

  2. GiuliaB says:

    Taetske, thank you ever so much for taking us on a wonderful journey in the south of Spain. And of course, I never realised that Willy Wonka chocolate factory existed not only in Royal Dahl ‘s imagination ? Mind you, I fear a chocolate museum would be in great danger of not lasting long with me around #lol

    • Good Morning Giulia,

      Luckily there is a lot to buy in the shop so one does not have to eat, neither will they let you and only photos are allowed, the lovely chocolate town.
      Thank you for reading my post.

      Regards, Taetske

  3. Glenys says:

    Ah that village sounds So beautiful and picturesque. Yes indeed it sounds like a wonderful place to be at Christmas time. The village sounds warm and friendly.

    I never really thought much about if Spain in warm or cold at Christmas time. My first thought was that it had snow, but the photos show a very dry climate with very little vegetation. Only a few conifers and some structured farming. Possibly vineyards or olive orchards in the background.

    It looks like a lovely place to visit. That you for sharing.

    • Good Morning Glenys,

      Thank you for your visit. The time of year makes this part of Spain look dry and it is.
      Springtime is nice and green but after a hot summer, there is little left. At the moment Spain has a big problem, no rain and the water reservoirs are on minimum. Some towns will soon impose water restrictions like no swimming pool, wash your car or water your garden.
      As I have lived in the south since 1976 I definitely see a change in climate. Spring and autumn have gone missing. Nature is confused and almond trees blossom outside their season, it is worrying, to say the least.

      Regards, Taetske

  4. James says:

    What an beautiful place, with such an extraordinary culture.
    I’m under the impression that such a place will have a few people who would be slightly overweight since the abundance of chocolate there is so great.
    You’re right, the South of Spain is indeed a place to visit, and enjoy. My closest visit to Estepa was a few years ago, when I went to Seville on a job.
    Thank you for writing about this small town, but I think to really soak up all its beauty, a visit is indeed a must.

    • Good Morning James,

      Obesity is becoming a problem in Spain too. This is not because of eating too many Christmas sweets. It is the unhealthy lifestyle people have adopted. Instead of sticking to the healthy Mediterranean diet people eat fast food, that is the problem.
      Estepa is a lovely little town and for sure worth a visit. Thank you for reading my post.

      Regards, Taetske

  5. rick says:

    Just beautiful, Taetske! What an adventure. 🙂

  6. Thanks for sharing a lovely experience. There is nothing that beats local fare. Jay

  7. Hi Taetske, your post really hit the sweet spot. You whet my appetite for travel again. Estepa is definitely a town I’ll be adding to my must-visit list. Sounds delicious! Who got to devour chocolate Paris? Does it get sold to the highest bidder each year?

    • Good Morning Lauren,

      Thank you for reading my post. I am not able to answer your question but hope it goes to the poor people. As I plan to go again this year I will ask the people of the chocolate factory what happens with their sweet cities after the season is over. As the display is on for some months perhaps the chocolate is not edible anymore.

      Regards, Taetske

  8. John says:

    Excellent report on Estepa. I know now where my wife and myself are going to spend this year’s Christmas. I see that there are also some great travel and hotel deals on this website. We are going to start planning.


    • Good Morning John,

      Thank you for reading my post. Spain is really worth a visit. So many beautiful places to visit. Now you can also add this sweet place to the list. This website has great offers so it is a good idea to come back here to book your next holiday.

      Regards, Taetske

  9. This is a great post Taetske and Estepa looks a beautiful place. I loved the image of the Eiffel Tower being made entirely out of Chocolate. The sweets sound lovely apart from the one with the pork fat lol.

    I am taking it that you do not live too far from here then.

    • Good Morning Cheryl,

      Thank you for your visit. Even the sweet made of pork fat, a very old recipe for sure, tastes much better than you imagine. That is the problem with these sweets, they taste too good so overeating is guaranteed.

      Regards, Taetske

  10. Patsy says:

    Hello Taetske,

    This is a wonderful story, and a place I would love to visit. The history is amazing how things were done this way in those factories, and for such a short period of time from September to December.

    I like the picture of the workers displayed in the window showcase, and the beautiful buildings and scenery in the others.

    The buildings made of chocolate are amazing and must have taken a long time to create. I would love to try those sweets from that shop, filling a few bags. Thank you for sharing this experience and for the wonderful pictures! It’s great to see that this history still lives on.

    I see you left your website and will visit it, I’m sure I’ll find many more interesting stories like this one.

    Thank you,


    • Good Morning Patsy.

      The little museum gives us a peek at past times. Those times where people had to do everything manually, really hard work I can tell you. To fill bags in the shop is a big temptation as there are so many different ones. That is why we ended up with 3 kg, a lot I must say. Even if those sweets are fattening at least they are made mainly with honest natural ingredients.
      I am looking forward to our trip this year and find out what chocolate scenery will delight our eyes.
      Thank you for reading my post.

      Regards, Taetske

  11. Estepa, sounds like a vital part of history and tradition for the South of Spain. It looks like a beautiful place. Very friendly and inviting. It’s amazing how many factories there and with 90% women as employees working hard from September to December to bring scrumptious treats to the world! Thanks for sharing this magical place in the South of Spain!

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