Eating out can be a hit or miss affair. Restaurants are a very personal thing – what one person likes or enjoys the next person won’t. Thankfully there is certainly plenty of choice here in Benidorm, whether you like to stick to your traditional British fare or try something Spanish, such as tapas or paella.
However, if you would like to try something totally different – and have a car, then head inland towards Jalon, around 40km from Benidorm and to the west, in a rural location heading up into the mountains you will find the Maserof Inn and Museum. Oh my goodness – what an absolute gem.
It’s not just a meal in a restaurant but an entire experience. The farmhouse building dates back to the 17th century (although the village has evidence of Roman settlements) and was restored back in 1972 by an Englishman – Peter Pateman which his daughter Carolina now runs and is also the chef.
She is definitely a character, full of high voltage energy and will take you on a guided tour of the place. There are incredible antiques everywhere – each with a tale of its own, beautifully explained by Carolina. There is furniture dating back to the 12th century, restored tiles from the Roman era, pieces of art, oak beams… it’s a history lesson like non you are ever likely to have experienced before.
There is no mains water or electricity and everything is lit by candles. In the kitchen there is a real wood fire and an aga… you actually get to go in and look around as part of the tour whilst cooks are preparing your meal. The Maserof is also a fully functioning bodega that produces its own red wine, which they serve – in unlimited quantities (have a designated driver if you go).
In September you can take part in the wine making process…the old-fashioned way – treading the grapes with your bare feet! It is an absolute experience you're guarenteed never to forget! There is no menu as such and instead you are served what has been prepared by Carolina.
Obviously for those that have specific needs or intolerances, you’d need to call beforehand to let her know but it is all locally sourced and organic so the menu very much depends on what is in season. After the tour you get to sit outside and admire the views – obviously with a glass of red wine, but there is also water available.
Inside, the dining area is beautifully laid out with antique mismatched china crockery, cutlery, candelabra and glasses, with decanters of home produced red wine on all the tables and constantly refilled throughout the afternoon. Two roaring open fires adds to the cosy atmosphere – must be fantastic when it’s really cold outside.
The candles are lit and various courses are then served- six in all. The presentation is superb as is the taste of them all. During the meal there is live music played by a duo on guitar and keyboards and sometimes a flamenco dancer too. Afterwards Carolina comes out bangs on the cow bells suspended from the ceiling, bellows out a song then invites every group to have a go in their own language – British, Spanish, Norwegian etc… it’s like an international karaoke! If you go bear in mind that there is no electricity or internet connection which means cash only!