22 Dec

On Tuesday night it was the Christmas Party of the Costa Press Club, Club de Prensa de la Costa del Sol, of which Pablo de Ronda has been a member for some 15 years, since he has lived in Spain, in fact. 
Along with his wife Rita and 15 other media people and their guests, this hardy international group gathered in Restaurante El Olivo in Cala de Mijas for the group's annual Christmas Party.

Christmas Dinner 2023

Despite having been a member of the CPC since 2009, this was the first time I'd managed to get to the Christmas "do". Well, I've been missing a treat, haven't I? What a great night!

The group gathered in the private dining room of this top class restaurant close to the beach in Cala de Mijas. Those of us who knew each other reacquainted ourselves and several new members were warmly welcomed.

The international group is more a social group then a networking forum, and is all the better for that. Comprised of writers, journalists, photographers, bloggers, web designers and radio and TV folk, the ages range from young to old. I'm not even the oldest, amazingly, and there are members as young as mid-twenty-somethings.

We had the pleasure of sitting with the former editor of SUR in English, Liz Parry; current acting president of the CPC, Neil Hesketh; Georgina Oliver, independent Arts and Style correspondent; Helen O'Leary, writer and illustrator; Sally Harrison, actress and TV presenter from England, and her guest Javier from Argentina; and Sabine and Rene von Reth, new members originally from Germany.

Photo: Karl Smallman

Sabine von Reth has just published a book about the couple's experience of opening and running a small chain of Bavarian restaurants, "Bavarian Beerhouse", in London. Her book is called "Prost!" I bought a copy,  which I look forward to reading over Christmas.

Photo: Bavarian Beerhouse 

The Christmas meal

We had pre-selected our choices. Rita and I both started with spicy duck roll served with guacamole and mango chutney. Then we were served a sorbet to clean our palates. For our main course, Rita had fillet of sole in a cava cream sauce on a bed of spinach, while I had gone for the traditional Christmas turkey with all the trimmings. Afters was chocolate Brownie with vanilla ice cream for Rita and apple strudel with vanilla ice cream for me. All washed down with copious amounts of wine.

Photo: Paul Whitelock

Christmas Quiz 2023

This was a light-hearted quiz with a Christmas theme, prepared and hosted by Neil Hesketh. It was pretty tough but good fun. We came second.

Secret Santa

We each brought a wrapped gift to a value of not more than 10 euros and we drew lots to pick a present. I got a copy of the game "Snakebite", currently in its pre-publication version. Rene also gave me his gift - some tin mugs bearing Christmas messages.

The morning after

Several of us stayed the night at the nearby Gran Hotel de la Costa del Sol, where we got a favourable rate of 60€ including breakfast. Helen, Neil, Liz, Rita and I met for breakfast, before Neil had to head off for work (sucker!) and the rest of us headed for our various homes to continue enjoying being retired!

Gran Hotel Costa del Sol [Photo: Wikipedia]

© Pablo de Ronda

Tags: Bavarian Beerhouse, Bavarian restaurant, brownie, Cala de Mijas, cava, Christmas, Christmas dinner, Christmas meal, Christmas quiz, Christmas turkey, Club de Prensa de la Costa del Sol, Costa Press Club, Georgina Oliver, Gran Hotel de la Costa del Sol, Helen O'Leary, Javier, Liz Parry, Mijas, Neil Hesketh, Pablo de Ronda, Rene von Reth, Restaurante El Olivo, Rita, Sabine von Reth, Sally Harrison, Secret Santa, Snakebite, sorbet, spicy duck roll, SUR in English 

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