Directorio Deco by Gloria Gonzalez

Landa, a hotel like no other

Located on the outskirts of the city of Burgos, the provincial capital of Castilla y León in the north of Spain, Landa can be identified by its medieval tower. Its history began in 1964, when the Landa family, creator of the Real Club Puerta de Hierro, in Madrid, and La Perla, in San Sebastián, thought of transferring stone-by-stone a 14th-century tower that they found in a nearby town. Mrs. Landa really was the architect of this beautiful Gothic-style Palace, emulating her parents and grandparents, a family that had been in hospitality since the early twentieth century. At the beginning Landa was restaurant, then a humble little hotel, later an evening dining room and with the construction of the tower, the palace was shaped. This tower, centerpiece of the compound. has a main staircase that connects to the rooms, decorated by renown Spanish architect Pascua Ortega.

Landa started as a restaurant and this restaurant is still a mandatory pit stop for travellers going from Madrid to the North and viceversa.

But what makes this place so special? I would say its simple luxury and classic old-school service…but Landa is that, and much more.

Images: Landa

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At home with Clara de Amezua, the doyenne of Spanish cuisine

While reading the July issue of Vanity Fair Spain I found a very interesting article about Clara de Amezua, founder of Alambique, one of the most prestigious Spanish cooking schools and cookshops. I loved the article but what I loved the most were the pictures of Clara’s home in Puerta de Hierro (Madrid)

The house was designed by renowned Spanish architect Luis Gutierrez Soto and Clara’s late husband, Lino Llamas. To decorate the house, Llamas brought wood from Canada and industrial kitchen appliances from the United States, suitable for their family (of eight children)  The couple took advantage of family inheritances and bought unique Spanish crafts and pieces that they found at auctions or antique shops. The house was decorated with Mallorcan fabrics, porcelain from all over the world and Clara’s collection of copper kitchen moulds that belonged to Empress Eugenia and she acquired on an auction house.

Clara admits that her favourite part of the house is the breakfast room, decorated with tiles from Talavera de la Reina. “I copied the idea from American homes. It is a very lively place where things happen and everything is discussed. Some time ago I was participating in a radio talk show with Juan Mari Arzak and Ferran Adrià and we always said that we should promote this type of space over the dining room, which is barely used “. De Amezúa is a strong advocate of this room that has always played an important role in people’s lives  “The kitchen produces intelligent people” she says “You can’t run a restaurant without sensitivity and an organised mind. Cooks are smart people”

Images: Vanity Fair Spain. Photography: Diego de la Fuente. Stylist: Estefania Quiroga.

In 1974, Clara de Amezua founded Alambique with four partners. The kitchenware store was conceived on a trip to New York where she attended a cooking course and in the same place where the session was held, there was a small area dedicated to cooking utensils that couldn’t be found in Spain back then. Relying on the advice of her friend Julia Child and Elisabeth David (another friend and renowned English cook and store owner) Clara opened her cookshop offering the newest things on the market.

Alambique Cooking School: Clara with Alain Gigant 

The idea of opening a cooking school was born on a trip to France. Clara convinced some of the best chefs on the Cote de Azur to come to teach cooking lessons in Madrid in the low season when their restaurants were closed. Top chefs like Alain Gigant or a very young Alain Ducasse travelled to Madrid to teach at Alambique.
The first ones who saw the opportunity to learn from these French top chefs were young Spanish chefs who are key figures of the Spanish cuisine today.

Images: Google Arts and Culture / Real Academia de Gastronomia

I’m sharing below a few more images I found of Clara’s home and her fabulous table settings in Alambique’s Instagram


Corpus Christi in Lagartera

Today Lagartera celebrates its most important day of the year, Corpus Christi – a celebration filled with craftsmanship, faith and tradition.

Lagartera’s Corpus Christi was institutionalized in Lagartera on February 21st in 1589 when Sixtus V granted apostolic letters for the foundation of the Brotherhood of the Blessed Sacrament of Lagartera. The following year, on June 21, the first Procession of the Corpus took place in Lagartera.

The Corpus Christi procession has been celebrated since 1590, always in the same way and always following the same traditions. Altars are mounted on the doors of the houses with blankets and other textile pieces all made by hand. Some of the textiles used in the event have been passed down from generation to generation since the 16th-century. Tables beautifully dressed serve as a throne to the sculpture of Baby Jesus- in charge of receiving the ‘Custodia’.

The procession of the Corpus of Lagartera is one of the most beautiful and unique traditions that can be seen in Spain. Loaded with devotion and tradition, What especially stands out is the  Lagartera craftsmanship,  famous for its embroideries (you can read my blog post about the embroideries of Lagartera here) This celebration has a special significance for Lagartera because Art, Tradition and Faith come together in it. For this very special occasion, the Lagarteranos wear the intricate traditional costume, full of handcrafted details. Fennel, mint and basil cover the streets and squares and imbue the atmosphere with their aromas.

This day offers a rare occasion to see all the beautiful handmade textiles the people of Lagartera have kept for decades and in some cases for centuries.