Tierra Adentro - Tourism Fair in Jaen Province, Land of Olive Trees

Jaen has been my home province since 1996 that's an incredible 21 years which have flown by. This year, 2017, is the twentieth anniversary of Jaen being known as Paraiso Interior or Inland Paradise.

What makes Jaen an Inland Paradise? As one of the least known provinces in Andalucia it has some surprising statistics. Within its borders there are three National Parks, one of them being the largest in Spain - Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas.

It's also home to a sea of olives with over 66 million olive trees. Are you beginning to get the picture that Jaen is green and beautiful? It's a vast area of natural beauty. Wild, rugged scenery disturbed only by occasional white villages and larger towns. Each town is surrounded by regimental rows of olive trees or rocky mountain ranges which, to me at least, equals an Inland Paradise.

I live in that paradise surrounded by olive trees, silence interrupted by bird song and the olive harvest. At the end of October I went to the annual tourism fair Tierra Adentro, where over 450 stalls the majority of which represented Jaen businesses, to discover some slow food and slow travel small companies.

Other regions where represented too, but what I enjoyed most was the 'Degusta Jaen' section where local producers exhibited their local fare from fresh green extra virgen olive oils to local wines from a tiny winery, which I've now visited and will be taking friends and family for wine tastings.

And from brightly coloured, traditional, local ceramics and home-made chocolate to gorgeously scented natural olive-oil based soaps and a plethora of fabulous tasty local cheese stalls.

I chose to go on the Saturday morning when a live EVOO (extra virgen olive oil) cooking competiton was taking place with some of Jaen's top chefs teamed up with gastronomy bloggers and some of the best local EVOOs. A fun event with some incredible dishes produced on the stage with running commentaries going on, rather like Masterchef live!

Here are just four of the dishes from the first round of the competition using Jaen Seleccion 2017 oils. Each year a selection of the best oils of the province are chosen for this collection of  incredible Extra Virgin Olive Oils.

The winners from the eight chef/blogger pairs were Mary Garcia with chef Pedro Sanchez, former Restaurante Antonio chef now with his own restaurant - Restaurante Baga in Jaen city, another place to try and they were cooking with an EVOO by Capricho del Fraile. That's another local producer that I now want to visit to shop at source along with the wine and cheese I'll be buying slowfood olive oil too. It's just a shame that won't turn me into a prize-winning chef!

Read my post Exploring Cazorla Spain's Largest Natural Park

Where to stay in Jaen province? My rustic holiday home Casa El Reguelo.

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