Viticulture has always been linked to this town. During the middle ages, Aspe’s farmers specialised in the production of raisins. This activity that was carried out inside many homes by adapting their spaces to store pots containing a grapevine ash glaze that was used to boil the grapes. These were subsequently sun dried for eight to ten days on top of reed mats located in the courtyards.
Viticulture became the main economic activity and source of income in the early 17th century. During this century, the production of Aguardiente, a new spirit obtained from distilled wine, grew in popularity within the Kingdom of Valencia and became one of Aspe’s exports.
During the 18th and 19th century, viticulture was still an important industry within Aspe’s economy, as the most widely cultivated crop among its farming lands. However, In the 20th century, the spread of the phylloxera plague in addition to a strong drought and a reduction in the demand of our wines caused a crisis in the viticulture sector. This resulted in the definitive replacement of wine varieties in favour of the bagged dessert grape.
Currently, Aspe is one of the councils included in the Denomination of Origin Vinalopo bagged dessert grape. Therefore, grapevines are a crop that has always been present around Aspe, with a wide amount of vineyards that continue to welcome visitors as they approach our town. These same vineyards produce the bagged dessert grapes that are a staple during the Spanish New Year’s Eve celebrations, with thousands of Spaniards eating one of these regional grapes for each stroke of midnight.
Their popularity is due to their exquisite flavour, owing to a traditional and labour consuming technique called bagging. As a result, we obtain a perfect grain with a uniform colour and exquisite flavour thanks to its slow ripening.
Aspe’s traditional patisserie revolves around the common ingredients used throughout the Mediterranean, namely the cereal, grapevine and olive trilogy. These products are often combined with sugar and eggs in multiple combinations to obtain a varied range of pastries. Among the most notable examples are: grape syrup, almendraos (almond macaroons), almojabenas (custard filled fritters), arrope y calabazate (sweet pumpkin with grape syrup), sponge cake, bolicas de buso (almond and grape syrup balls), fried dough balls, quince cheese, gachas de arrope (milk and flour pudding with grape syrup), huevos montaos (meringue topped sponge), pasteles de gloria (marzipan stuffed with sweet potato), los cuatro iguales (almond shortbread), muffins, polvorones (almond shortbread), rollicos de costra (aniseed biscuits), rollicos de mistela (sweet wine biscuits), rollicos de viento (plain biscuits), rollos de aceite (olive and lemon biscuits), rollos de huevo (egg and lemon biscuits), rollos de vino (dry wine biscuits), rollos de yema (egg yolk biscuits), rollos embocaos (sugar sprinkled biscuits) and sequillos (glazed biscuits), serenos (orange puff pastry strips), sopada (crumbled cake and custard), suspiros (fluffy fried dough balls), toñas (sweet lemon rolls) and monas (egg stuffed crusty sugar rolls), toñicas finas (cinammon topped aniseed biscuits), torrijas (sweet French toast), torta boba (orange cake) and turrón de rosas con arrope (almond and popcorn nougat with grape syrup).