Food & cuisine from the South of Spain and Andalucia
Andalucia in southern Spain is the largest of the country's provinces. It is the vibrant home of authentic Spain and its diet is one of the most nutritionally healthy in the world.
Andalucian cooking takes its inspiration from a crucible of cultures that together forged its culinary heritage. Eight hundred years of Moorish rule of southern Spain left a culinary legacy in Andalucia of refined, almost oriental flavors, with opulent use of spices and herbs; oranges and other fruits in savoury dishes including almonds and cinnamon with meat.
Andalucia is the world's largest producer of olive oil and its flavour is the foundation for pretty much all of the region's cooking starting with breakfast, when toasted bread is drizzled in virgin oil and chopped tomatoes (Pan con tomate y aceite) to enjoy over morning coffee. This is the land of the olive which can be enjoyed either as an oil or au natural. The manzanilla and gordal (Right) varieties are favourites for table olives.
Andalucia's most famous contribution to world gastronomy is said to be gazpacho. gazpacho is an arabian expression and means 'soaked bread'. Traditionally gazpacho is known as peasant food consisting of bread, olive oil and crushed garlic.
The mountainous province of Huelva in Western Andalucia is famous for producing cured hams from pigs fed partially or entirely on a diet of acorns.
With nearly 2,000 kilometers of coastline, Spain is renowned for its fresh seafood. Andalucia is especially famous for its fish and shellfish and a tapa bar is a great place to sample the array. You'll be spoilt for choice as you try to choose from Boquerones - tiny fresh fried anchovies, Calamares - rings of tender squid or Sea Bass baked entirely in a thick crust of sea salt. A personal favourite of mine is Chiperones - baby squids fried in a light batter and served with Ali Oli, a complimentary garlic mayonnaise.
And there are hundreds more. You will be astounded at the selection of shellfish, clams, razorshells, mussels, prawns, giant shrimp, fresh fish on offer. An although its not exactly cheap anymore, it will still cost way less than what it costs you at home - and it'll be a lot fresher!