Having only just arrived from the UK the night before, it was up early the next morning to catch the coach to the Cosentino marble factory, near Cantoria. Our first impressions included marvelling at the state of the art main building, with its glass pyramid-shaped roof, in the middle of what looks like (and indeed is) a barren landscape. How could we possibly spend two hours learning about marble? Answer – it was more like three hours, and even that was too short! The reception area, a beautiful atrium with luxurious seating, large marble slabs in every colour and pattern and the sound of water running over marble.
Following an in depth introduction by PR man Jan Schuitemaker on the many different types of marble and quartz, we settled in comfortable seats in the conference theatre – remote-controlled blinds came down, and the first of two presentations were given. The first was about this global company and its position in the market, followed by the second, giving us an insight into the different materials produced. Marble and composites for cladding, flooring, work surfaces and moulding, plus any texture and colour that you can imagine . . . . the list was endless.
We were then presented with a wonderful book, containing stunning photography of not only the production of marble, but the many faces of the workers. It was then back on the coach for a tour of the site. This wouldn’t take long, surely? How wrong! The site is enormous and still growing. One Million Square Metres! There are roads with their own names; buildings are named and for sure, workers need this as the size of the site cannot be over-exaggerated. We were eventually taken to see the newest building under construction where marble will be shaped and despatched by state-of-the art machinery (it was absolutely enormous!) before returning to the main gate to say goodbye to our tour guide.
The trip surely couldn’t get better! Again, how wrong! Our next stop was Bodega Perfer at Uleila de Campo, where they were ready with a cookery demonstration – the result of which would be our lunch! Starting out on the patio, we had to decamp inside due to an impending storm, all the time, our mouths salivating to the aromas emitting from the huge dish containing our pork and rice. While the rice was cooking Bronwen took us on a tour of the cellars where the grapes are initially fermented in vats and then transferred to French and American Oak barrels. And finally our call to lunch – and it was worth the wait! A delicious three course lunch was accompanied by their best selling fruity Tempranillo and Tempranillo / Merlot blend wines. Not a drop of food or wine was left, and several half bottles made their way to various homes as it was too good to waste! After a visit to the obligatory shop (where numerous purchases of these fantastic wines were made), we were then ferried back to Albox, all delighted with such an interesting and varied trip. Both places are certainly well-worth a visit!