La Pasa : discover the incredible culture of Malaga raisin
A treasure under sun
The pasa (raisin), a unique tradition and culture of Axarquia, in the province of Malaga
In this article you will find the essential information about the incredible production of the Pasa, the raisin in the province of Malaga:
- A few words about the Muscatel vine
- How are the raisins produced?
- Cutting the raisin – Picar la pasa – after drying
- The Wine and Sun route with a guide
- The Raisin route (Ruta de la Pasa) with a guide
- The festival of raisins – Dia de la Pasa –
- Some useful links
A few words about Muscatel vine
Before discussing the cultivation of the raisin in Malaga, here is its history:
It began with the Phoenicians who brought back from Egypt the Muscat of Alexandria grape variety, known locally as Moscatel.
The Romans and then the Arabs improved this crop each time. Today, the culture of the vine is still practised as it was several centuries ago. The vines are cultivated on the side of the mountain, preventing any mechanisation. Man is only accompanied by a mule or a donkey for the harvest.
How is Malaga raisin produced?
After the harvest, the bunches of grapes are dried in the sun in paseros. They are placed on the ground.
Some of the sun-dried muscatel grapes are used to produce the famous sweet wines of Malaga (DO Malaga). The grapes dehydrate a little and concentrate in sugar.
To make the dried grapes, the bunches are left in the sun for another 2 weeks.
It should be noted that since 2018, the UN (through the FAO) has recognised as GIAHS -Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems- the entire cultivation and elaboration of raisins in Axarquia.
This system is recognised as respecting the land, the environment, a sustainable method of agriculture with an important social impact. An article from the FAO –in Spanish– presents all the details of this culture in Axarquia.
In the past: to protect the grapes from possible rain in this region of southern Andalucia, the winegrowers used to blow a shell to make a sound and warn, from one mountain to another, of the arrival of rain.
This warning enabled everyone to cover the grapes with a cloth. This was before the arrival of the telephone, but it is not so old.
Cutting the raisin (picar la pasa) after drying on the paseros
Once the bunches of grapes are dried, the whole village, the whole family, takes part in the Pica de la Pasa.
The raisins are all cut off one by one even today.
The Wine and Sun route with a guide
A local guide, Cipriano, offers to show you the wine and sun route. This day trip is available from Nerja, Torrox Costa and Torre del Mar.
On this excursion you will pass through 3 beautiful white villages and visit a bodega. You will participate in a tasting of Moscatel wines. Among these wines you will taste the one that was served at the wedding banquet of Felipe VI and Letizia.
For more information: Axarquia Wine Route Excursion.
The Malaga Raisin route (Ruta de la Pasa) with a guide
This is an excursion along a unique route in the world: La Ruta de la Pasa (Raisin Route).
This excursion is only possible 2 months a year. You will discover the traditions and cultures around the sun-dried moscatel grapes.
For more information and booking, click here: Malaga raisin route with a guide.
A final idea for a guided tour with wine tasting
This tour leaves from Malaga. Click on the photo below for full details:
The Pasa (raisin) Festival in El Borge
Every year, El Borge organises the festival of the sultana in mid-September. This is an opportunity to taste the freshly made raisin. Details of this festival can be found in the link: Dia de la Pasa in El Borge.
Some useful links
Here is a great car rental agency in Andalusia and more specifically at Malaga airport : book a rental car.
If you are in Andalucia as part of a tour with several major cities to visit, here are some links that may be of interest:
- Discover must-sees before visiting Cordoba
- Visit Malaga on foot.
- All you need to know about Granada, the Alhambra, the Albaicin neighbourhood before visiting Granada
- If you are passing through the geographical centre of Andalusia, then you can visit Antequera, with the incredible natural site of El Torcal right next door
Experiences to discover in the province of Málaga
Find more ideas for visits to authentic Andalusia: see the blog pages on Andalucia.
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