One hour from the beach resort of Salou and up into the Prades mountains you’ll find Capafonts, a welcoming rural destination that offers visitors something a little bit different.
The something a little bit different is learning to be a shepherd and eating goats cheese and the kids absolutely loved it!
This fabulous experience is run by a young couple (Sergi and Eva) who decided to step out of the rat race and learn an endangered ancient trade: shepherding.
We met our guide Gerarg Amorós who runs Travel Priorat (Sergi and Eva don’t speak English, so for an English group an interpreter is required) at the bottom of Capafonts village. From there we wandered a very short distance over to their home and were greeted warmly by Eva who offered us drinks and showed us to a small eating area to be seated for lunch.
Due to our lack of Spanish and the very flexible and informal nature of the afternoon, we had no idea whether we were going to be having nibbles, soup or a full lunch.
A plate of goats cheese was put out to start with and I could see the kids faces fall at the thought of simply having goats cheese for lunch, particularly when one of them doesn’t like cheese at all. It seemed a bit rude to ask – is this all? So we suggested the kids eat crackers and smiled politely, not asking any questions at all, how terribly British of us.
As it happened that was only nibbles and very soon a large traditional chunky soup came out for us to eat, I think we would really call it a stew. Now the one that doesn’t like cheese doesn’t like soup either (she doesn’t really like much food to be fair) but to her credit she smiled when Eva served it and set about trying it. I know when she doesn’t like something and whilst she might not have loved this, she did eat it, which we all took as a win. The rest of us thought the soup was really really good and in fact we all had seconds.
Seconds was however an error as there was two more courses to follow. Goat and chips and then cottage cheese style dessert. The kids ate their goat, also known as ‘chicken’ wen tempting them to eat it, but we all passed on dessert as we were actually far too full by that point!
The whole lunch was however lovely and definitely felt more like sitting around a family table than being in a restaurant which I love when I’m travelling.
After the lunch it was time to meet the Sergi the Shepherd himself and of course the goats. There was around 50 goats who had been brought back to meet us, before we took a walk with them to where they slept for the evening.
The goats were absolutely delightful and the girls loved hearing about how they lived, and how there was a dog that lived with them who thought he was a goat! The dog it appears was brought to live with the goats when his eyes were still closed as puppy and when he opened them he saw the goats and he believes himself to be one of them. Accordingly he protects the goats as he would his own family – they are his family. This keeps the predators such as wolves away, as the dog protects them. Such a lovely story and made me think of The Ugly Duckling in some way.
As we heard more about the goats and how long it took to learn to be a shepherd (basically all your life) we tried to milk them, with varying success. There certainly wouldn’t have been much goats cheese to sell in the small onsite shop counter if we had been responsible for producing the milk!
From the field at the back of the house we wandered with Sergi, the goats and the dogs back towards the village. We stopped on a large field for the goats to eat and as we chatted about how to herd goats and how to get the dogs to answer to your command, the girls started to herd the goats on their own. Running in and out of the goats until they had actually managed to herd them all into one corner of the field. They had such fun, the dog had a sleep, and Sergi the shepherd said they could all come back another day and work for him!
We were up in the mountains for most of the afternoon and only left to avoid driving down the windy mountain road in the dark.
We had a really fabulous afternoon and for something that little bit different and to understand a little more about Spain away from the coast I’d highly recommend it, it really was such a really lovely afternoon.