Jerez de la Frontera, is the home of sherry. An unplanned visit to Jerez, only a 30 minute drive from Cádiz, in the Andalusia region of Spain was a pleasant discovery. It is well known for its Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian riding and its dancing horses which is second only to the world famous riding school in Vienna. It also has a long tradition of flamenco dancing but it is mostly known as being the sherry capital of the world. While it is not my favorite apéritif, I am a big fan of Jerez sherry vinegar, Spain’s most famous vinegar, so that is how a last minute decision was made to visit Jerez.
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Now tell me, would you visit a city because you happen to like the vinegar that is produced there? Well I’m very happy I did as the city is everything you think a Spanish city should be. Wander the narrow cobblestone streets of the old quarter and you can’t help but fall in love with Jerez. The city is known for its wonderful architecture of whitewashed buildings with wrought iron balconies filled with pots of jasmine and geraniums, baroque churches, quaint shops, restaurants and sherry bars.
Ornate Balcony Window
Beautifully Decorated Jerez Building
Spanish Architecture In Jerez
Backstreet Behind Cathedral of San Salvador
Jerez’s 12th century Alcazar, a Moorish fortress, is the oldest structure in the city. The Moors held Jerez for almost 400 years until Alfonso of Castile retook it in 1264.
Jerez de la Frontera 12th century Alcazar
Jerez’s 12th century Alcazar
Across from the Alcazar and seen from many parts of the city, the splendid Cathedral of San Salvador was built between the 16th and 18th centuries above a former mosque.
Dome Of Cathedral of San Salvador
Carved Details On Entrance Of Cathedral of San Salvador
Cathedral of San Salvador
Beyond the fortress walls and the cathedral, large squares and pedestrian streets are lined with palms and orange trees. Plaza del Arenal is the heart of the city, the town meeting place since the time of the Moors.
Pedro Domecq Clock in Front Of Wedge Shaped Building in Center Of Town
Pedestrian Shopping Streets
Marble Clad Farmacia Figueroa
At the convergence of several large streets there is a building where a restaurant called El Gallo Azul has been for many years. The almost circular building is one of the most photographed and has become an unmistakable landmark in Jerez de la Frontera. From there you can walk down Calle Larga which is the main shopping promenade.
Shopping Street And The El Gallo Azul
Landmark Building El Gallo Azul
Just north is Plaza Esteve, where the colorful food market, Mercado de Abastos, is located. It is an impressive building of stone with stained glass windows and wrought iron gates and is the oldest market in Jerez.
Fish Stall At Mercado de Abastos
Fruit And Vegetable Stall
Local Produce at Mercado de Abastos
Acorn Fed Iberico Pork Shoulder
Mercado de Abastos
Inside there are over a hundred stalls that sell local produce, bread, meat and some of the best fresh seafood I’ve ever seen. From what I observed, locals seem to have their favorite stalls where they make their purchases for the freshest ingredients.
While on our tour of Jerez de la Frontera, we visited González Byass. Located in the very center of town, it is devoted to the making and selling of sherry. It was founded in 1835 and is the most visited of the city’s 36 bodegas or what we would refer to as aging rooms.
Manuel María González Monument Founder
Historic Wine Equipment Inside González Bypass
One Of The Aging Bodegas At González Byass
Sherry Tasting At González Byass
In 1862, for a visit by Queen Isabel II, the company built a new bodega called La Concha that was designed by engineer Gustav Eiffel. On our tour though several of the aging bodegas, we saw barrels of wine that had been signed by countless celebrities and world figures from around the world. On one bodega, there are 12 casks that hold 6,000 liters and one that holds 16,500 liters.
González Byass Bodega
Huge Sherry Casks
González Byass , Jerez, Spain
You may be familiar with their brand of fino sherry called Tío Pepe. Its famous logo is a wine bottle dressed in a red Andalusian hat, matching bolero and guitar. Not only does the company produce sherry, they also produce sherry vinegar. It has a tawny flavor that is more complex than apple cider vinegar, more rounded than red wine vinegar and not as sweet as balsamic vinegar. I can say I am happy to have visited the town where my favorite vinegar is made.
Jerez de la Frontera, The Home Of Sherry
Grapevine Covered Street Among González Byass Bodegas, Jerez, Spain
Jerez de la Frontera was not one of the cities my husband and I had planned to visit on our recent tour of Spain. We were originally going to tour the beautiful city of Seville but because of record heat we made last minute plans to visit Jerez de la Frontera. We are so glad that we visited this lovely Spanish city. Even if you are not a fan of sherry, I encourage you to visit Jerez if you get a chance. It is a charming city filled with a rich history and influences of different cultures. Hopefully we will get a chance to visit Seville in the future. If so, we would probably make a day trip back to Jerez as it is just a short hour’s drive away.