Luxury Travel Guide – Global Awards Shortlist

We’re very proud to have been short listed for this year’s Luxury Travel Guide awards, having received notification that Totally Sorted Sports has been nominated as a potential winner in the 2016 Holiday & Tour Specialist Awards.Luxury Travel Guide Shortlist 2016

Sponsored by United Airlines, these annual awards celebrate & reward excellence in many areas, and recognise companies regardless of size or location across categories including:

• Service Excellence
• Local Knowledge
• Online Visibility
• Use of Technology
• Marketing & Branding
• Employee Satisfaction
• Cultural Understanding
• Diversity
• Communication Skills
• Disability Provisions

The awards are based over feedback received over the past 12 months – they have been receiving votes for individuals & companies throughout Europe, with subscribers, hotel guests, travel agencies and industry experts all voting on who they feel is most deserving.

Ski Conditions Improving at Sierra Nevada

This last few days has seen a welcome bit of snow up at Sierra Nevada.  The resort has been heavily dependent on the snow cannons to date, but now with the last dump things are starting to look up and skiing conditions are set to improve.

Sierra Nevada 7 Jan 2016
Sierra Nevada 7 Jan 2016

There’s a bit more of the white stuff forecast for the end of the week and weekend, but along with most of Europe this has not been the best start to the ski season, with some sources reporting this is the worst start to the season since 1986.

The forecast lowering of the temperatures, however, will mean the freezing line is looking to descend from 2200m to 1600m, so the snow cannons will again be working full time to give us the best possible skiing and snow boarding conditions.

On the plus side, the good weather has meant a marvellous start to the year down here on the coast – just an hour and a half away it’s been nudging 22C today!

Ah well, they do say “There’s no such thing as bad weather – only inappropriate clothing”!

Winter Activity Holidays

As always, you can find more info on our winter activity holidays and skiing days on the main web site.

The Chirimoya, Cherimoya or “Custard Apple”

It just wouldn’t be right to have a category on local food and drinks without mentioning one of our key tropical fruits grown here – the Chirimoya, or “Custard Apple” (annona cherimola).  In a nutshell – they have the consistency of a banana, but taste a bit like cold custard.

Chirimoyas
Chirimoyas

Sometimes spelt “Cherimoya” this pale green fruit is around the size of a large avovado, and is distinguished by its indented skin, with thumbprint sized hollows.  Originally believed to be a native plant of Ecuador or Colombia, it has spread through the Andes and central America to Peru and Bolivia.  It is now a key crop of the Costa Tropical, though is also grown in the north of Africa, souther Asia and American states with a similar climate such as parts of souther California.

The trees grow up to around 9m high – the fruit is harvested from mid October until late spring, with the beginning of the harvest being marked with the fiesta at Torrecuevas around 12 October.

Eating Chirimoya

While Chirimoyas are sometimes made into cold mousses or ice creams, the usual way to eat them is with a tea spoon.  Simply slice in half, and then spoon out the creamy pulp, discarding the numerous black or dark brown seeds (in a large one there can be the thick end of a hundred so the development of new seedless varieties is eagerly anticipated by the catering trade..

Chirimoya

They aren’t the world’s best for being shipped, as they tend to go from unripe to over ripe in a  matter of a few days.  You’ll struggle to find them in good condition in the UK – occasionally the likes of Waitrose will have them, but knowing now how good they can be it’s sad to report that they were never at their best when bought in the UK.

The taste does also tend to change depending on how ripe the fruit is – initially when still slightly firm and a paler colour they are more “pear-ish” (a lot of  people describe them as having papaya, peach or faint pineapple tastes).  When fully ripe they are more “custardy” – but soon go brown and start to ferment becoming inedible.

Chirimoya de la Costa Tropical de Granada-Málaga

Chirimoyas grown within the Costa Tropical region now have their own quality mark which is awarded to just two varieties – Fino de Jete and Campas.

These can only be grown in the prescribed areas of Motril, Salobreña, Vélez de Benaudalla, Los Guájares, Molvízar, Ítrabo, Otívar, Lentejí, Jete and Almuñécar in Granada Province, and  Nerja, Frigiliana, Torrox, Algarrobo and Vélez-Málaga in Malaga Province.

Chirimoya DOP sticker
Chirimoya DOP sticker

Of these two varieties, Campas (named after it’s breeder in Rio Seco in the 1950s, whose name was Campos,) tends to be an earlier cropper staring in late September.

It is larger than Fino de Jete, weighing in between 300 grams to 1 kg for a large one, and has slightly under 10% of its bulk as seeds, though is less hardy being slightly more susceptible to cold weather.

Fino de Jete, however, is easier to grow and accounts for some 90% of local production and crops from Mid October to late February – so from a grower’s perspective is where the money is.

Vitamins, etc..

Per 100g, the average Chirimoya packs:

Iron – 0,7 mg
Sugars – 14 to 18 g
Vitamin A – 1 mg
Vitamin B – 0,08 to 0,1 mg
Vitamin B1 – 0,05 to 0,08 mg
Vitamin B3 –  0,5 to 0,8 mg
Carbohydrates – 23,71 g
Magnesium – 32 a 88 mg
Acides – 0,4 mg
Protein –  1 to 4,3 g
Zinc  -0,2 to 2,7 mg
Potassium – 250 to 578 mg
Sodium – 4 -1 4mg
Calcium – 17 to 22 mg
Vitamin C – 22 to43 mg
Fibre – 1 to 3,2 g
Copper – 2.4mg
Soluble Solids – 22.3%

Summary

It’s fair to say that Chirimoyas are a bit like Marmite – you’ll either love them, or hate them.

For Julie, they’re just too sweet – Personally, I love them!!

Activity Holidays – New B&B Accommodation

We’ve been working hard over the festive season to bring even more options to you for your activity holiday accommodation choices.  Over the past few months a few people have asked for more choices along the “B&B” lines – something a bit less formal than a full on hotel experience, but still with quality rooms, decorations  and still close to the beaches and the old town.

View from terrace
View from terrace

Well, Julie has managed to find an absolute gem in Casa Roja – the Red House.  This is a super casa, run by Manuela, her partner Alvaro and Kana the labrador.

All the boxes are ticked, as it is just 10 mins walk into the old town, and the same or slightly less to the beach and water-park.  And, as always, with our activity holidays staying here we take care of all the transport to and from the activity sites, so you have no driving or parking worries while on holiday.   The house is decorated superbly in a traditional Andalucian style, with local themes and colours used throughout.  All the rooms have been named after the locally grown tropical fruits such as Chirimoyas, Granadas (pomegranates) and Mangos.

http://Guayaba%20Bunkroom

Guayaba Bunkroom

http://Mango%20Bedroom

Mango Bedroom

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View to Pena Escrita from terrace

http://Mango

Mango

http://Aguacate%20Bedroom

Aguacate Bedroom

http://Living%20Room%20and%20view%20out%20to%20terrace

Living Room and view out to terrace

http://Papaya%20Bedroom

Papaya Bedroom

http://Granada%20Bedroom

Granada Bedroom

http://Terrace,%20Pool%20and%20view%20over%20Rio%20Verde

Terrace, Pool and view over Rio Verde

http://Poolside

Poolside

The house has a two floor layout, with communal areas in the upper level and the bedrooms and accommodation in the lower level.  The living room is surrounded by a lovely terrace, from which you can enjoy the views of the tropical crops and the surrounding mountains.  The spacious gardens of the house contain the swimming pool for summer use.  There is also a barbecue area for your use while you stay – and you are also welcome to use the kitchen whenever you wish, which is well equipped with everything you need during your stay.

Casa Roja easily sleeps 14 px – with a further 2px able to be accommodated on sofa style beds.  There are five spacious bedrooms, all air conditioned and decorated and finished to a high standard, with three of them having double beds with terrace (Granada, Mango & Aguacate), one of which (Granada) has a sofa bed so can accommodate 3px.

A further 2 twin rooms (Chirimoya & Papaya) are furnished with two single beds, and again one of these is also available with an additional sofa bed / folding bed for occupation for 3px.

There is also a further large “bunkroom” (Guayaba) which is fitted with with bunk beds. This sleeps up to 4 persons and is offered on a shared accommodation basis, or it may be reserved for dedicated use for children’s occupation or small groups subject to availability.  This gives great flexibility as it is ideal for, say, two families with families as you can park all the teenagers in their own bunk room!

All rooms share two separate bathrooms: one of them with shower and a bath, the other with shower. Television is available in the living room, with some English channels such as BBC News, CNBC.  Full tea & coffee making facilities as well as a large fridge are available in the kitchen, which is always available for your use.

The house is conveniently located in the Los Pinos area of Almuñécar, and has super panoramic views over the chirimoya fields in Rio Verde towards the mountains of Sierra de la Almijara and the Valley of Rio Verde, yet as mentioned is only a short 10 mins walk to the beach or old town – even less to the feria where the Friday and Sunday markets are held.

More info on these activity holidays

Please see our pages on activity holidays staying here, or download a brochure.