jueves, 20 de agosto de 2020



Text and Photos : José Manuel Serrano Esparza

15 km in the north of Córdoba City (Spain) is the village of Cerro Muriano, a place oozing extraordinary beauty, surrounded by the wonderful landscapes of Sierra Morena mountain range and a unique microclimate with a temperature of five or six degrees fewer than the capital of the province, which turns it into a natural paradise that visitors can relish, taking advantage of the smooth breeze that even in full summer makes the stay within it into a real treat, without forgetting a top-notch gastronomic offer embodied by recognized cuisine shrines featuring many years experience in the making of homemade handcrafted meals like Restaurant Bar Cinema (founded in 1977), Restaurant Bar X (founded in 1937), Bar Bruno (founded in 1965), Bar Casinito, Restaurant Los Pinares and others.

In this regard, full-fledged dishes like the aubergines with cane syrup (berenjenas con miel de caña), the meat with tomato (carne con tomate), the stone grilled meat (carne a la piedra), the salmorejo (typical Andalusian purée consisting of tomato, bread, oil and garlic), the flamenquines (beef rolle stuffed with egg, ham and other ingredients), the curd tart (tarta de cuajada), the homemade desserts, the ham from Los Pedroches, and so forth, have turned this small village (which can be reached by car from Cordoba City in roughly 20 minutes and in half and hour by the N Bus) into a significant place of traditional cuisine.

Whatever it may be, there´s also in Cerro Muriano, at Calle Carretera, 31, a very special shop : Leon Gomez, a kind of supermarket and self-service store selling a very comprehensive range of foods and beverages (as well as boasting inside it an excellent butcher´s and a wide array of top quality fruits), but whose working keynote follows in the footsteps of the classic groceries of yore, in which the painstaking personalized service, both to usual customers and occasional foreigners, and the maximum feasible qualitative level of products on sale has always been by far top priority for María José León Gómez, its owner, whose commendable labour throughout decades and extensive gleaned experience have turned Leon Gomez into a very popular stop for all kind of persons arriving at Cerro Muriano (tourists, hikers, pilgrims of The Way of Saint James, enthusiasts of vintage trains and locomotives having a penchant for beholding stretches of the old Córdoba-Almorchón railway, adventure loving people yearning for breathing pure air and sharing a pretty intimate contact with nature, etc) and needing to stock up food and drinks for their excursions.

But the Jewel of the Crown of Leon Gomez is undoubtedly its mythical Artisan Bread from Obejo, sold on a daily basis in its different varieties and flavours. 


The artisan bread from Obejo sold in Leon Gomez store (Cerro Muriano) is an elite product featuring much higher quality of ingredients than the industrial precooked bread with frozen dough and made in massive quantities, and in addition, its very characteristic texture, smell and taste are infinitely better, utterly different, with the added benefit that it lasts approximately three days keeping its qualities.

It is a bread manufactured in the old way, handcraftedly created in a wood-fired oven, with a thoroughly studied mixture of flour, yeast, water and salt to do the dough, with abundant and greatly secret personal touches, since there have always been a lot of methods to do it.

Produced with huge care, devotion and many hours of manual toil, with sourdough starter (without any preservatives, colourants or artificial additives whatsoever), fulfilling a slow and wholly natural fermentation, using top-of-the-line wheat or rye flours and optimized water for the manufacture of this extraordinary product, of which there are a number of varieties available : Teleras Cordobesas (wider in the middle and thinner on both ends),  Hogazas de Masa Madre (round big loaves), Barras de Viena (Vienna loaves), Panes de Centeno (Rye Breads), Panes con Harina de Espelta (Breads with Spelt Flour), etc.

It´s an exceedingly healthy artisan bread, an essential food providing carbohydrates, proteins and being fundamental for the organism. 

As a matter of fact, many excursionists and hikers having arrived at Cerro Muriano for decades, have leveraged the exceptional qualities of this superb bread not only regarding flavour, smell and texture, but particularly with respect to its durability of three days and even more, giving them a remarkable versatility to do sandwiches or pair it with any meal, according to the old saying " The Slowly Made Bread Tastes Far Better and Lasts Much Longer " . 

The raison d´être of this product is to look back and offer a virtually unbeatable item, recovering many of the techniques used long time ago to handcraftedly manufacture the artisan bread and which confer it its excellent virtues and a privileged place in the scope of Mediterranean diet.

But making a bread boasting this level of texture, smell, flavour and long duration preserving its qualities isn´t something that can be learnt overnight.

A raft of working years, full-time commitment, love for the product, deep knowledge of the phases taking place during its manufacture and a steady selection of the cream of the crop raw materials are needed to master this trade.

Because to all intents and purposes, the artisan bread from Obejo stems from an artisan concept of product and an unswerving passion for well done things, an environment in which there isn´t space for rush or massive quantities. 

The upshot of it is that the artisan bread from Obejo production is limited, since the most important goal is not to generate a very large figure of units, but getting the maximum feasible quality and personal satisfaction of customers, who are deemed as faithful friends.

That´s why long queues of people are visible every day at the supermarket and self-service Leon Gomez in Cerro Muriano, all of them searching for this fantastic and highly coveted bread.

It´s also mostly a question of confidence as to a very authentic and genuine product, made with tons of manual work for many hours, with unutterable effort, by a master baker, and of course, different. 

It´s no wonder that another wise proverb puts it : " El Salmorejo con Pan de Obejo " , to indicate that such a symbiosis is the best one. 

Because of all those factors, there has been (specially during the last five years) a spectacular revaluation of the artisan bread with slow fermentations, first-rate cereals and fabulous taste, texture and smell, a sphere in which the Artisan Bread from Obejo (Córdoba) is one of the best in the world.