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.
Andalucia's gastronomy is finally starting to get the adulation it deserves. Of course, those who are familiar with its outstanding piggy, fishy and veggie dishes will already have their own… More →
The crumbly Christmas cookies collectively known as mantecados, which you will see in the months leading up to Christmas, individually wrapped and sold either by weight, or in a box, are… More →
In a few decades, Almeria’s gastronomy has undergone a spectacular transformation. From rather scarce products from the land and sea, it has passed to intensive agricultural production and,… More →
The area of wine production known as the Serrania de Ronda forms part of the DO Sierras of Malaga, producing what are popularly known as 'the Ronda Wines'. Here modern bodegas at over 750m… More →
Spanish bread is normally bought on a daily basis, fresh from the local bakeries throughout the region. Village bread is known as "pan cateto" and is absolutely delicious. On a Spanish night out… More →
There are few better ways to learn about Andalucia than through its food, with all the fabuous local produce available, from the Sierra de Huelva's pure-bred acorn-fed free-range pork (cerdo… More →
Andalucia and Spain are home to a whole host of renowned chefs, both nationally and internationally. Here are some that we at Andalucia.com have had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing.
Few things can beat Sherry as a pre-meal aperitif. Ever since Sir Francis Drake ransacked the port of Cádiz in 1587 and made off with 3,000 barrels of Sherry, the British have been addicted to the… More →
Andalucia has a long history of winemaking and produces several interesting and taste-worthy products you’re sure to enjoy.
With a wine-making tradition spanning more than 2000 years and with more vineyard acreage than any other country in the world, Spain is producing wines of increasingly good quality. There are… More →
Paella is a golden rice dish which rates with the best rice dishes in the world. In Andalucía, paella is happy food, fiesta food, served for Sunday lunch or a picnic in the country. Beyond paella… More →
In Andalusia, as in the rest of Spain, the feast of Christmas dinner takes place late on the night of Christmas Eve (Nochebuena) and normally goes on into the small hours of Christmas Day.… More →
The pigs of Andalucia also contribute to the making of sausages, with red chorizo and black morcilla being the best-known. The villages in the vicinity of Ronda and Antequera (Málaga) are renowned… More →
Gazpacho, in one form or another, is nearly as old as these hills. It probably derives from a Roman dish, a gruel of bread and oil. The name gazpacho may come from the Latin caspa, meaning… More →
Almond trees and the nuts they bear are an integral part of life in Andalucia. While the countryside is dotted with almond groves, kitchens throughout the region make use of creamy almonds for… More →
The aroma of delicious sweet roast chestnuts roasting on the streets of Andalucía from late October to December, always brings a warm hearty feeling. There’s something really special about eating… More →
Oranges are big business in Spain, with the eastern province of Valencia topping the charts in production. However, the “naranjo” (orange tree), its blossoms and its fruits have a long tradition… More →
Andalucian cuisine is generally simple and tasty. In this section you'll find recipes that bring the flavours of this region to your kitchen no matter where you are in the world.
Tapas are more than just snacks in Andalucia. The word means, literally a lid and the term was thought to have come from the habit of having a few nibbles with a drink and the necessity of placing… More →
Andalusia is Al-Andaluz, the kingdom of the Moors (Muslim Arabs and Berbers), who ruled southern Spain from the eighth to the 15th century. Way back then, Andalusian cuisine was the most opulent… More →
Cured ham is called jamón serrano, or mountain-cured ham. It can be very good. But, Andalusia has some special pigs with a southern accent. These are a native breed called iberico, a small brown… More →
Five of Andalucia's eight provinces have stretches of coastline (Almería, Granada, Málaga on the Mediterranean; Cádiz and Huelva on the Atlantic), while a sixth, Sevilla, has a tidal river and a… More →
Andalusia is the world's largest producer of olive oil and its flavour is basic to the region's cooking. Starting at breakfast, when toasted bread is drizzled in virgin oil to eat with morning… More →
Andalucia has some excellent cheeses, often eaten as a tapas accompanied by a glass fino or manzanilla sherry. The cheeses are mostly made from goat's milk, from herds which live in the… More →
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… More →
There is no doubt about it: being a vegetarian in Spain, and Andalucia, can present a challenge. The Spanish eat a large amount of meat (especially jamón), and the majority of dishes have pork or… More →
Spain used to be a vegetarian's nightmare with all those hanging hams and meaty tapas. Vegetarians had no option but to constantly opt for ensaladilla Rusa (the Russan-Spanish potato salad usually… More →
Restaurant Guide by Towns in Andalucia and by restaurants in Coastal resort and villages of Andalucia including Michelin Star restaurants, Beach Bars, Cafe Bars, Teterias, Vegetarian restaurants… More →
There are plenty of places around Andalucia where you can enjoy a traditional Sunday lunch or fish and chipps or a full english breakfast.
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.