I knew I had to travel to the Fountainhead Retreat Hotel in Andalucía, Spain after reading the introduction to Helen Bartlett’s book Fountainhead Food. I am equally sure, after having stayed there, that I want to come back to both the place and the food.
Less than an hour’s drive from the beaches of Costa del Sol, with its back to the sun, facing the stunning landscape and mountain ridge north of Riogordo lies this little Hotel of only four suites, from where you can wander up the hill when the sun is setting, to enjoy a splendid meal in her restaurant.
The book Fountainhead Food, cooking in Andalucía is full of flavor and vibrant colors. The produce grown locally has surely been the inspiration. You can find pomegranates, chestnuts, figs, almonds, mangoes, avocados, lemons, oranges, grapes, olives, tomatoes, onions, herbs, and peppers in this area, sold at the weekly markets in the small towns.
You will find a recipe for Partridge terrine in the book, served in the restaurant slightly altered to a Chicken terrine, but still very good and very tasty served with plum and fig chutney and crispy fried sage leaves.
I was fortunate to spend some time with Helen, walking in the orchard, gently picking almonds and talking about the past and the future. She cleverly learned more about me than I did about her, but I still appreciate the time and the talk. I learned that Helen is working on a new book; I believe the team is vegetarian cooking and I look forward to trying out the recipes.
The book and the place both comes highly recommended
Helen is also a keen collector of cookbooks, she has found many treasures at Books for Cooks in Notting Hill, London. I will check out this place next time I am in the area and let you know what I find.