La carbonera de Forallac- the ancient art of making charcoal
The municipality of Forallac near La Bisbal decided in 1993 to bring back some of the country traditions which had been used in the hills of Les Gavarres by local residents before the skills dissapeared forever.
To this end every year they hold a 2 week re-creation of how charcoal was traditionally made in the area. It involves stacking in a circular form the hard oak which is found in these hills called thealsina, with layers of heather covering them and then earth on top until all the wood has been stacked into a mound with only the earth visible and smoke coming out of the top. This circular form is built up in a mound around a hole in the middle where the smoke exits and the fire sucks in oxygen to provide the slow burn needed to carbonize the wood without destroying it.
The whole procees of transforming wood into charcoal takes 10 days to 2 weeks and meanwhile hundreds of school children come to visit as well as people to enjoy a picnic in the forest. On the last weekend when the mound is torn down the charcoal is distrubuted to the picnickers to make their barbecues and grilltheir favourite meat dishes which adds a traditional taste, yum, yum!
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