(Sanlucar de Mayor)
Almaria, San Jose
Andalucía (Andalusia) Food, cooking and flamenco
Cadiz - Sanlucar de Barrameda - Cordoba - Malaga - Ronda - Jerez - Granada - El Puerto -Sevilla(Seville), often overlooked, Almaria and the Cabo de Gato are situated in the quieter, more agricultural east.
is a selection of griddled fish and seafood.
Pescado a la sal a whole fish cooked in a block of salt. (Many sea salt pans are to be found in Andalucia, giving a readily available supply).
soup of tomatoes, garlic, cucumber, peppers and onion
Moros y Cristianos - (moors and christians) rice with black beans, which reminds us of the strong arab influence in Andalucia, long occupied by the moors.
- tapas in the old town and restaurants behind the beach in the newer town,
we like Mariscos La Marea, Paseo Maritimo 1), "El Faro" website
is a top class elegant restaurant (formal with slightly over fussy service)
in an unprepossessing street near "La Caleta" (junction of Venezuela and
San Felix) make excellent tortillitas and specialise
in "a la sal" dishes as well as more innovative creations).
For something cheaper try "Grimaldi" in Calle Libertad just by the central
Sanlucar de Barrameda - restaurants overlooking the Guadalquivir along Bajo de Guia -"Casa Bigote", "Mirador de Donaña", "Poma", "Secundina" and others, there are of course restaurants around the plazas of the town and in a couple of places, in a converted bodega.
juderia or old quarter is a maze of narrow alleys where a number of excellent
restaurants are housed in the open interior patios of old manor houses.
Try them for breakfast, lunch or dinner and if you get the right waiter
the service will be as entertaining as the food is enjoyable. One of our
favourite dishes is "cardos
con gambas y almejas", cardoon in seafood stock with baby clams
Malaga. The parador Gibralfaro has an excellent restaurant and there are some smart bars, some rather reminiscent of English pubs, below it in the town. The old town east of the Guadalmedina has many good bars and restaurants. We liked "Cortijo de Pepe" on Plaza de la Merced for tapas and "El Chinitas" <website> on Calle Moreno Monroy 4-6. (95 221 09 72) for a full meal or tapas in a traditional environment (smart). "El Chinitas" is just to the south of Plaza de la Constitution off Marques de Larios. Remember to order a Malaga brandy when here, "1866" being a good example.
an excellent (modern) parador and "Pedro Romero" opposite the bullring,
named after the famous bullfighter.
El Puerto de Santa Maria. We stay at "Hotel Monasterio San Miguel", only a few hundred yards from the bustling restaurant area (walk down Calle Chanca and turn right) along the Rio Guadalete at Calle Ribera del Marisco , mostly seafood but don't overlook the impressive asador. Cadiz's El Faro has a sister restaurant "El Faro del Puerto" up beyond the bullring (Carretera Fuenterrabia/Calle Valdes, just walkable, taxi better), set in the edge of a park.
Tapas in "Triana" is
the "must do" here. Calle del Betis and Calle San Jacinto on the south
bank of the Guadalguivir. "Kiosko de las Flores" does wonderful fried fish.
Dorada a la Sal
Take enough salt to bury the fish, put half the salt in a large casserole and make a depression for the scaled and gutted fish, which is then buried. A little water can be sprinked on the salt to consolidate it.Cook in a medium oven for about 40 minutes for an average sized fish. Break open the salt and serve with potatoes.
Iberico and Serrano ham
"Serrano ham" comes from the white pigs of Trevelez (Sierra Nevada) and Teruel (Aragon).
"Iberico ham" comes from the black Iberian pigs (Cerdo Iberico) extensively farmed in the hills of Andalucia (and on the extensive dehesas of Extremadura) near Huelva, feeding on the acorns of the cork oaks, the bark of which is also used to make wine corks. Jabugo (Sierra Morena) is the most famous of some 30 producers, who are considered to produce some of the best Spanish ham. The dry mountain air with low night time temperatures contributes to the salt curing of the ham and the production of the penicllium mould that forms on it. Ibirico website
Bellota is 75% Iberian, with 40% of weight gained in extensive conditions.
Recebo up to 30% of fatening on grain.
Pienso/cebo/campo grain fed Iberian ham.
Walking in the Sierra Aracena
A range of fortified wines made from the palomino fino grape on the chalky soil around Jerez (hair-eth), Sanlucar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa Maria. (15-17%). Sherry does not come in vintages like other wines. It is aged in a "solera" system where the wine drawn off from the oldest barrels is topped up from the next oldest and so on. This gives both a complex wine and a consistent one. The vintage year of a sherry can therefore arguably be said to be the foundation year of the bodega!
For seafood or ham:-
For drinking alone:-
Remember that the dry
finos etc. do not keep long. Avoid buying from a low turnover off-license.
Drink as soon as possible once opened.
Fritura - The fried fish of Western Andalucia
Sevilla and Càdiz are probably the best places to sample this speciality. The pieces of fish should be thinly battered and the finished product crisp and dry enough to serve on a paper napkin without leaving grease stains. A good place to sample this in Sevilla is the freiduria "Kiosko De Las Flores" at the very edge of the Triana barrio near the Puente de Isabel II (Triana bridge) on the river front.
Order a mixed plate of fish and seafood or you may find dogfish flavoured with cumin, an excellent combination (cazon en adobo) or "Bienmesabe" (literally- "it tastes good to me") marinated fried fish.
Accompany with a cold beer or try a bottle of table wine made from the sherry grape "palomino" . Castillo de San Diego by Barbadillo is a commonly available example.
Fried "Fish and Chips" did not become established in England until the 1800's and I wonder if this British institution is in fact an introduction from Spain, carried over with the sherry trade.
Tortillitas de camerones
A Càdiz speciality, tortillitas are small flat fritters made from flour and egg flavoured with the tiny Càdiz prawns, cooked in a saltén (thin frying pan). They may give the expanation as to how the word tortilla came to mean corn fritters in the new world.
Flamenco, often considered the "european blues", has its roots in India along with the Gitanos who perform it.
Over the centuries, despite much persecution, the musical cultures of Andalucia and the Gitano have combined to create flamenco, now the authentic art form of Andalucia, although many appreciate it all over Spain. (When the cantor (singer) "Camarón de la Islas" died flags flew at half mast all over the country).
Flamenco is a robust combination of song, dance and music that overcomes lingustic barriers and appeals direct to the emotions. Flamenco is not the polished polite music of the conservatoire. Flamenco is not the superficial, eager to please music of "pop". Flamenco isn't "nice".
At its best, flamenco strikes straight at your soul.
If you would like to prepare yourself try:-
Rough Guide to Flamenco
by Carlos Saura (Video)
Songs and a Poem" by Estrella Morente (CD)
of Cadiz Bay" by Gerald Howson (book)
"Out in the street there was nothing but the empty road disappearing into
the darkness towards the lights of Cadiz in the distance. We could hear
the murmur of the sea stretching along on either side of us.
woman stands at the back of the stage and approaches the audience as the
guitars play on. Raising an arm above her head, she stamps her foot hard,
sweeps her hand down sharply to the side and stares at us in defiance.
The music stops and everyone falls silent.