Andalucia is best known for its beaches, sunny weather and flamenco. But food is a hugely important part of southern Spain - indeed, the Mediterranean diet was recently recognised as being part of UNESCO's world cultural heritage. A key part of Andalucian life is eating out. It is so reasonably priced in most parts of Andalucia, especially if you know where to go, that going out for tapas - tapear - is many people's preferred way to spend an evening (especially in Granada, where you can still get a free tapa with each drink). Spain's chefs are widely acknowledged as being among the best in the world and Andalucia's chefs are held in high regard too. If you're at the beach, head to your nearest chiringuito - beach-side restaurant.
If you choose to cook at home then you have a great choice of ingredients, all produced on your doorstep, in Andalucia: fresh seafood - some of which you won't even recognise, as it doesn't exist back home - from the many hundreds of km of coastline; locally grown fruit and vegetables are of top quality; jamon serrano, ideal for an Andalucian breakfast, on toast with olive oil and crushed tomato, or a sandwich. Olives are a delicious and healthy snack, and grown all over the region.
Here is a geo-mapped list of top 10 Andalucia dishes compiled from your suggestions. More info >
Andalusia is the world's largest producer of olive oil and its flavour is basic to the region's cooking. More >
Andalucia’s trademark food, is a cold soup or liquid salad made with fresh, raw vegetables. More >
Andalucia has a long history of winemaking and produces several taste-worthy products you’re sure to enjoy. More >
The sherry triangle between Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto de Santa María and San Lucar de Barrameda. More >
Andalucia, with its fabulous, world-renowned gastronomy has its fair share of Michelin-starred restaurants More >
Andalucia and Spain are home to a whole host of chefs famous both in Spain and across the world. More >
Paella is happy food, fiesta food, served for Sunday lunch or a picnic in the country. More >
Recipes that bring the flavours of this region to your kitchen no matter where you are in the world. More >
Enjoy a Cooking in Spain. There are few better ways to learn about Andalucia, than through its food. More >
The cooking of the coastal regions is distinguished by a huge variety of seafood. More >
Pigs contribute to the making of sausages, with red chorizo and black morcilla being the best-known More >
Andalusian dishes reveal a Moorish legacy, nowhere is it so up-front as in the repertoire of sweets. More >
The “naranjo” (orange tree), its blossoms and its fruits have a long tradition in Andalucia. More >
Kitchens make use of creamy almonds for soups, meat dishes, pastries and seasonal treats. More >
Aroma of delicious sweet roast chestnuts roasting on the streets of Andalucía from late October to December. More >
Bread is bought daily fresh from the local bakeries. Village bread is known as "pan cateto". More >
There is no doubt about it: being a vegetarian in Spain, and Andalucia, can present a challenge. More >
There are plenty of places around Andalucia where you can enjoy a traditional Sunday lunch More >
A Place for every food
Gastronomy in Andalucia is very location-specific - everyone knows that the best strawberries and jamon come from Huelva; sardines from Malaga; tuna from Barbate; mangoes from Granada; cucumbers and tomatoes from Almeria. Jaen makes the best olive oil (although people from other provinces, especially Cordoba, Granada and Sevilla, will dispute this). Wine is produced all over Andalucia, though the most famous tipples are sherry from Jerez and Malaga sweet wine.
Organic and Gourmet Produce
Organic food is, at last, becoming more widely available, with markets in cities and on the coast, as well as many supermarkets now offering "Bio" sections, with fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy, and dried goods. Andalucia produces more organic food than any other region of Spain, but until recently most of it was exported to other European countries such as Germany, France and the UK; now, there's a growing domestic market.
The finest products are given a DO (Denominacion de Origen), which is a guarantee of quality - for example, sherry from Jerez and olive oil from Jaen's Sierra Sur, but also asparagus from Cordoba and Malaga raisins.
Dishes to try
Here are some of the dishes you shouldn't miss out on while you're staying here. Many are traditions which have been passed down from Andalucian grandmothers.
Gazpacho - a chilled tomato soup, served with diced vegetables
Salmorejo - a thicker version of Gazpacho, served with chopped boiled egg and jamon. It comes from Cordoba
Pescaito frito - a mix of fried fish, including calamares (squid), adobo (marinated dogfish), merluza (hake) and puntillitas (baby octopus). Try it in Cadiz
Huevos a la flamenco - eggs baked with jamon, chorizo and vegetables. A colourful Sevillano speciality
Solomillo al whisky - pork fillet cooked in brandy (Andalucian logic, don't ask me to explain)
Rabo de toro - bull's tail estofado (stew)- eaten after bullfights, using that day's toros
Arroz marinero - caldoso (soupy) rice with seafood, served in a cazuela (big lidded pot) with a spoon, so you can help yourself. Might have almejas (clams), mejillones (mussels), prawns (gambas)
Foodies will be interested to hear that there are various food-themed festivals throughout the year in Andalucia. From cherries to chestnuts, wine to tuna, look out for our feature next month, just in time for autumn's many harvest celebrations.