"Acebuchal was an old staging post on the trade route from the coast into the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1laceType w:st="on">province</st1laceType> of <st1laceName w:st="on">Granada</st1laceName></st1:place>. But during the days of the civil war the soldiers of Franco’s Guardia Civil stormed the village one night, marched away all seventy odd men and most of the boys of the village and shot them all. The village then fell into ruin as without the menfolk the women could not survive alone, so they abandoned the village in 1949 . Then, back in 1998, Antonio Garcia, aka “El Zumbo” and his family, who lived in the village as children, decided to renovate some of the family properties. They now own and run the restaurant. Anyway, this sparked off a full scale renovation of the village which has now been reborn as a beautiful whitewashed pueblo with lovely cobbled streets and a wood fired oven in the main street where Antonio will often cook a whole roast lamb or suckling pig. It is located in a secluded little valley in the heart of the mountains of the Sierra Tejada and <st1:place w:st="on"><st1laceName w:st="on">Almijara</st1laceName> <st1laceName w:st="on">Natural</st1laceName> <st1laceType w:st="on">Park</st1laceType></st1:place>." <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
Acebuchal. I had read about this place before going on holiday and had really wanted to go to see it, and hopefully eat in it. Due to our newfound ambivalence of eating out I could live without the latter but not the former. There was something about the tale that had touched me, and for some reason I couldn’t go home without seeing it. To go back to someplace you had been driven out of in your childhood, and to have the passion and drive to go back and rebuild it to make it right…something about that says something so big about the human spirit.
So we drove out at 9.30 0n Thursday morning (after a lovely breakfast on the terrace of local streaky bacon and scrambled eggs on toast) to see what it was like. It was higher up the mountain than our villa, then a drop down the back of it into the next valley. Although the road dwindled into an unmade one, it still only took us 12 minutes to get to from our place.<o:p></o:p>
The photos don’t do it justice, as it seemed like “just” another quaint white hamlet. But the atmosphere was incredible. We did not see or hear another living person in the 40 minutes we wandered about. The restaurant was supposed to open at 10am for coffe but it remained closed, which was actually a good thing I think. It was kind of like a real ghost town, and you could picture and feel the history there. For some reason it made me quite emotional. You could hear the bells of the goats as they were being herded in the area (as indeed we could when we were in the villa – I forgot to mention it before), and everywhere there was such a profusion of wild rosemary, thyme and lavender. The aroma was heavenly. The whole place was surreal.
The restaurant had a sign up with their phone number, asking you to phone ahead if you wanted any of the following:
Roast lamb leg, lamb shoulder, kid, baby kid, suckling pig, pork shoulder.
Apparently if someone calls ahead and wants something they just throw that into the wood oven for that day and that becomes the main menu! As by now we know we are definitely coming back to eat here and are happy to leave it for this time. Every review we have read of this restaurant is incredible though.
The first shots are of the view of the village as you drive in.