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 just across the road. The more I looked around, the more I learned about it, the more I felt like entering a treasure trove.
I found it in a sleepy Minglanilla village surrounded by hot and sandy Spanish countryside - about halfway between Alicante and Madrid. If you were passing by, you would never think of stopping here for any other reason than filling up your tank at this convenient petrol station.
But having spent the last few years discovering makers around Europe, I immediately recognised it as an artisan workshop. It was clear; it is an independent craftsman doing his thing - making knives for the local villages - and not caring about global trends, fashion or Instagram posts.
I stepped into the shop with no soul in sight, thinking that it somehow reminds me of those Western movies, where you simply do not know what to expect next. Only to discover a charming 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 ones were made in Spain. And to my surprise, almost offended, he confirmed that every single knife in the shop is made by himself, in this very 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 has a long-standing history of eating meat in different shapes and sizes (from steaks to smoked ham etc.), they 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 will not 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 feel like a bargain, especially when there is such a fantastic story attached to it.
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