Cuevas Bajas, Spain - Zanahoria Mora Gin & Beer
The 'carrot morá' of Cuevas Bajas - this unique vegetable is grown in the municipality of Cuevas Baja, Malaga, Southern Spain.
The village of Cuevas Bajas is blessed with a unique variety of carrot, the so-called "zanahoria morá", famous for its purple outer and unique centre. This peculiarity distinguishes this product from the rest of the known carrot festivals, which as we all know usually have an orange colour.
What distinguishes this carrot is that when it is sliced the core it has an orange colour, as with the traditional carrot, but it has a purple heart. It is said that the Arabs brought this variety from North Africa to Andalusia via the Silk Road in the 14th century.
The Zanahoria Morá (Daucus carota L. ssp. sativus var. atrorubens) is a root with ancient origins. Cuevas Bajas, a picturesque village in the northeast of the province of Málaga, is located at the medieval Caliphate of Cordoba and Emirate of Granada settlements on the banks of the Genil River, an ideal framework for its preservation. Thanks to a pioneering project, this endangered species is being reintroduced to the local crops.
The authentic Black Carrot (Zanahoria Morá) from Cuevas Bajas is preserved through a rigorous selection of seeds to perpetuate its distinctive characteristics such as a striking and unique violet heart with a wide range of shades of purple arranged in concentric circles. It is planted in early summer, and coinciding with the harvest in early December, a rare festival is celebrated in honour of this vegetable. During the celebration, all the goodness of this Málaga town is shown, and the black/purple carrot is tasted through its many culinary uses.
Carrot Gin and Beer
A spin off of the preservation and development of the zanahoria mora are the foodstuffs produced which use the purp[le carrot element, the latest of which are Carrot Gin and Beer.
Esali Alimentación is a young company from Malaga dedicated to the production, marketing and elaboration of products made with the purple carrot, a crop with centuries of history. It not only has healthy properties but also culinary potential. A year ago the company won the Andalusian prize for Agriculture and Fishery, precisely for the work and effort in the recovery of this crop and the launch to the market of a traditional product produced with the native seed of the municipality Cuevas Bajas.
Behind the firm are two young entrepreneurs, Juan Francisco Pedrosa, from Cuevas Bajas, and Enrique Cuberos, from Villanueva de Algaidas. After a long process of more than a year of research and development, they opted to support and promote its cultivation
The list of products produced today is already around ten. They are part of a line of healthy products including snacks, balsamic vinegar, caramelized vinegar, jam, cream and dressings all made with the purple carrot. Of the 150 tons expected to have been produced this year in the province, only 10 tons is marketed fresh. The rest goes to the manufacture of processed products.
Esali Food, based in Antequera, Southern Spain continues to innovate and has already announced, in 2016, the launch of three new products within a new line of the business. These are two gins and a craft beer, produced to coincide with the Fiesta de la Carrot Morá de Cuevas Bajas - purple carrot festival, held in December each year.
The carrot gin is named after Simbuya. in two two varieties: one dry and one sweet. Esali Alimentación plans to hit the market with an initial launch of 10,000 bottles, 5,000 of each of the varieties.
The second product of the new line of business is a craft beer, Cueveña, in tribute to Cuevas Bajas, also with the common denominator of the purple carrot, and of which it has drawn up a circulation of 9,000 bottles, mainly sold in the domestic market. Obviously it wishes to expand to an international market.
The gin is made from sage, juniper, angelica root, coriander, (citrus, orange peel, mandarin and lemon), cardamom and purple carrot.
The beer is produced from more traditional beer constituents - barley malt, purple carrot, hop, yeast and water.
Other products from the Zanahoria Mora range:
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