Discovering new things is one of the joys of travelling. To my surprise, while stopping for petrol on my latest trip, I saw this tiny shop. The more I looked around, the more I learned about it, the more if felt like entering a treasure trove.
It is located in the middle of nowhere, in a sleepy Minglanilla village surrounded by hot and sandy Spanish countryside. About half way between Alicante and Madrid and you would never think of stopping here for any other reason than filling up your tank. But having spent the last few years discovering passionate makers in Europe, I was immediately attracted by the looks of this solitary shop. It felt that it is not influenced by the global trend currents, but rather setting its own local personality, hiding under fading letters in a quiet sandy summer day.
With not a soul in sight, I stepped into the shop thinking that it somehow reminds me of those Western movies, where you simply do not know what to expect next. Only to discover a very cute little shop dedicated to the sole purpose of showcasing knives. It has any type I can imagine with few standing out the most – the Samurai swords and dedicated knives for mushroom picking. Based on my past experiences I did not want to put my hopes up too much just yet and asked the shop keeper (Julian Navarro) to point out which one’s were made in Spain. And to my surprise, almost offended, he confirmed that every single knife in the shop is made by himself, in a workshop behind the counter. What a surprise! Handmade knives, made by the guy who spent all his life thinking and breathing knife craft, in the middle of nowhere, in this cute tiny shop away from any major city.
Considering that Spain is has a long-standing history of eating meat in different shapes and sizes (from steaks to smoked ham etc.), they do use their knives a lot. Julian Navarro has built his expertise and business around that timeless need for cutting tools in the country. Based on that, I am assuming that there is little danger of getting a low-quality tool that is not going to last.
Since I am not attending many battles, these days I decided to skip on a Samurai sword and went for the mushroom picking knife instead. Two quality, handmade knives for less than 30 Euros, does feel like a bargain, especially when there is such an amazing story attached to it.