Say cheese!

Focus visit to Montesdeoca dairy

Over 30 people took part in a guided visit in English to the Montesdeoca cheese makers, based in the midlands of Adeje, and winners of countless regional, national and international prizes for their dairy products

The tour was given by Alberto Montesdeoca, who explained the origins of this fantastic food jewel in the Adeje gastronomy crown. Started by his grandfather when some of the family moved from La Palma to Tenerife, the business is still very much a family firm, making cheeses, butters and yogurts by hand from the 1,000+ goat herd on site.

The tour was organised by Focus, the Adeje group for international residents, who work to help international residents integrate, learn more about the borough, and discover they many pluses of living in this part of South Tenerife. Over 30 people of different nationalities signed up for the tour, which lasted over an hour.

Alberto first took us to see the goats and kids, explaining the milking process, how the goats are fed and kept, the breed used etc. We also met the newer kids who have their little ‘creche’ area.

The group were then brought indoors and we saw the cheese being mixed, moulded and stored. Alberto explained that they currently produce almost 20 different types of cheese, how the cheese is pasteurised, with different curing processes, some hard, some semi-hard, some matured and flavoured. The group then moved to the tasting room where four different cheeses were on offer giving the visitors some delicious examples of the products made by Montesdeoca.

The tour ended in the on-site shop, but people can also buy these fantastic cheeses at the Adeje farmers market ever Saturday and Sunday morning and Wednesday afternoon.

(For more information about the farm and to arrange small group visits, the webpage for Montesdeoca is http://www.quesosmontesdeoca.com/)

Because you’re happy!

happy graph
Ambassador urges British residents to follow the example of those who are most content

Some of the secrets to happy living in Spain are revealed in a new survey by the British Embassy on how expatriates adjust to a life in the sun.

Integration into the Spanish way of life is the key, the survey reveals. More than half of the British residents who responded say they speak Spanish regularly with friends and neighbours, enjoy Spanish food, use the Spanish healthcare system and employ Spanish tradespeople. The adjective ‘happy’ is the word that they most commonly use to describe their lives in Spain, followed by ‘relaxed’ and ‘content’.

But some Brits admit to getting by without learning Spanish or registering on the padrón, and fail to make Spanish friends or keep up with Spanish news and politics, all things that appear to help others get more out of living in Spain.

Almost 1600 people responded to the British Embassy’s ‘Integrometer’ online survey into levels of resident integration. Two-thirds live in Andalucia or the Comunidad de Valencia, where there are some high concentrations of British residents and integration is often low. Further significant numbers live in the Canaries, Murcia, the Balearics, Catalunya and the Madrid region.*

Commenting on the survey, British ambassador Simon Manley said,“It’s great to see so many Brits saying they are happy and content in Spain as a result of their efforts to integrate into local life. I would definitely urge others to follow their example. If you are settling here, the first and most important thing to do is to register on the padrón. That way you can access the health and social services you may need now or in future.

“If you fail to register, then you can’t expect support from the Spanish system later. Some of the most tragic cases that we see in our Consulates are the consequences of people having moved to Spain – often years earlier – but not signing up on the padrón or integrating into their local Spanish communities.”

Nine out of 10 people say they are registered on the padrón, which implies that one in 10 survey respondents have yet to do so. More than half say they have a Spanish will, and over 50% have a Spanish driving licence.

Two thirds are registered for Spanish healthcare, with another 13% having private medical insurance. But an alarming 16% admit they have failed to provide for their healthcare in Spain, leaving them at serious risk of difficulties in the event of an accident or illness.

Spanish food proves popular. Nearly a quarter say they eat a Spanish meal every day, and eight out of ten do so at least once a week. Only 6% say they eat a Spanish meal less than once a month.

British Consul visits Adeje

ADEJE-CONSUL BRITÁNICA VISITA ADEJE (2)

The British Consul for South Spain and the Canary Islands, Charmaine Arbouin was in Tenerife for a few days meeting with officials and various volunteer groups, but also took time, with the Vice Consul Helen Keating, to pay a courtesy call to the mayor of Adeje, Jose Miguel Rodriguez Fraga.

The visit served a number of important purposes, and was also an opportunity for the Consul to congratulate the mayor on his recent local election success. Both Charmaine and Helen were also anxious to find out more about the ongoing projects in Adeje to improve integration, and look at how the two bodies can work together to advance ex-pat participation in Adeje and in parallel help the British residents here get the most out of their chosen home. It was pointed out that too often ex-pats only look for help when they have a problem – health, social welfare, etc. Therefore one strand of the work of the council that would greatly help the British consular office is getting people into the system before the problems begin.

Mayor Fraga spoke about the Adeje Convivencia/Harmonious Co-existence programme that is an borough-wide programme to strengthen links between the various communities in Adeje – its a cross-cultural, international cross-generational campaign that has been working to reflect many many different peoples who live here. He also confirmed that the council were preparing a campaign to help more people register on the ‘padrón’ and working in many different ways to break down the walls of fear that many non-Spanish residents, including, agreed the Consul, British people, have about approaching their local town halls and registering.

The mayor also detailed the many different services available to the town’s senior citizens – useful information given the fact that many ex-pats are older residents. There is, for instance, a geriatric care centre, and an Alzheimers centre in Adeje which is for all residents. There are also a host of leisure based activities organised all year around for retired individuals – from folk dancing to model making, trips to other islands, theatre, and so much more.

The visit ended with a promise of future co-operation which can only be good news for ex-pats in Adeje.