If there is something that characterizes the municipality of Les Useres, in whose district Masia Aitona is located, it is its union with wine, a long wine-making tradition that takes us back in time, to where memory and written testimonies reach. The municipality of Les Useres is very wide, and between the mountains that announce the proximity of the Maestrazgo and the summit of the Penyagolosa, we find a great extension, next to the Rambla de la Viuda, at 200 m2 above sea level, propitious for the cultivation of a grape that grows in optimal conditions due to its terrain and climate.
Between dry stone terraces, the wine cellars and the wine presses can be seen. It is said in the good tongues that the landscape of les Useres , reminds of Italian Tuscany, with its gentle hills and high cypresses. In spite of the distance, some may be right to make such a comparison. The Italian influence in this town in the region of l’Alcalatén, can be felt in its landscapes but also in its religious buildings. It seems that this influence comes from the wool merchants who throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were lavished on these places. Some surnames, the invocation to San Felipe Neri, to Santa Waldesca and to the Virgin of Loreto are proof of this.
To get to know these lands better, where the “Bonicaire” grape grows, among others, what better than to take the 13 km route of the vineyards, which crosses a mid-mountain area until it reaches the flattest part, where wine production is concentrated with the possibility of visiting the wineries, like the one called Flors: https://www.bodegaflors.es/?v=04c19fa1e772, another one:
Clos d’esgarracordes: https://www.barondalba.com,
or the Les Useres wine cooperative: http://www.bodegalesuseres.es.
You cannot leave this village without trying its wines. The law does not allow you to do so.
“Between dry stone terraces, the wine cellars and the wine presses can be seen. It is said in the good tongues that the landscape of les Useres , reminds of Italian Tuscany, with its gentle hills and high cypresses”.
As in many towns in the Valencian Community, Les Useres also crowns a hill and is vigilant against anyone who comes from the plains. To enter and leave the village on foot, there are up to five hiking routes with different distances, difficulties and levels. All of them are signposted, and it is worth enjoying any of them.
The route of the Full Moon Path is long and runs between the capital of the province on the coast and the Sanctuary of San Joan de Penyagolosa. Les Useres is a reference point for this route as it is halfway along this route which coincides with the GR7. It passes through the towns of Castellón de la Plana, Borriol, Vilafamés, Les Useres, Atzeneta, Lucena, Xodos and Vistabella. The accumulated height difference is 2,500 m. and it is 63.50 km long. A route that is long and is usually done in two stages.
The route of the Fuente de Més Amunt. The walk is a path that connects the urban area with the Font de Més Amunt, a few minutes from the village. The walk starts at the washing places of the village and goes by the vegetable gardens, bordering the channel that supplies them with water from the Font de Més Amunt.
Path of Piló de la Creu: 3 hours and a half of a circular route of 11,5 kms , without special difficulty. The path has two parts, the first ascending, until reaching the highest point, Piló de la Creu, of 706 m of altitude and the second half of the route is in descending tendency, after having crowned the summit of Piló de la Creu. The route is the same as the traditional Piló de la Creu Procession, hence the name of the trail.
Route of the Fountain of the Ponsa, this route has two versions, one short of 6.5 kms and another longer one of 10.6 kms. The longer one includes a fairly vertical ascent to the Peak of Peñaroja. The shorter one culminates in the spot of Fuente de la Ponsa.
And finally, the fifth route, the Castellet route of 13.6 kms to reach the summit of Castellet from where you can see the Penyagolosa, the second highest peak in the Valencian Community in all its splendor. This route has peaks of 578 and 583 meters respectively. It is not an easy route but it is very varied and with landscapes that compensate the effort.
All the complete information about the routes: http://www.lesuseres.es/visitantes/senderismo and http://www.lesuseres.es/sites/L01121227/files/2017-12/Folleto%20Les%20Useres.pdf
And after walking…
After walking and drinking good wines, we cannot end the visit to this village of Les Useres without tasting its delicious culinary specialties.
Without a doubt, the most traditional and well known dish is the “tombet”, a stew consisting of kid meat, cooked in a clay pot over a low heat and that from time to time has to be knocked down so that everything mixes well. The custom was that its preparation was done in the butcher’s shops of the town. A consistent dish that accompanied by one of the wines of the local wineries, such as the Clotás from the Flors winery, the Crianza of Clos of 2016, or the red wine named 86 from the local wine Cooperative, tastes even better.
But before the Tombet, we recommend you to have a hot soup, an “olleta“, like the one they make in the restaurants of the area; it is not wasted.
And if you still manage to reach the desserts without succumbing in the attempt, you will not be able to finish the lunch or the dinner, without trying the homemade desserts of les Useres: figs in batter (figues albardaes), orelletes with honey (hojuelas), coca de gallos (mass of almonds and very fine sugar) or the fritters.
In Masia Aitona, we inform you of all the restaurants where you can go to try these specialties. The culinary offer is varied and for all budgets. So, even if you fall into temptation, a good walk through any of the places around Les Useres will save you from sin. Speaking of penitence, I leave for another complete article a very important event that every year takes place on the last Friday of April: “Los Pelegrinos” in procession from the village to the Sanctuary of the Stone Giant, the summit of Penyagolosa. But step by step, this tradition deserves to be treated extensively. Very soon in the Gazette of Masia Aitona.