A vegetarian in Andalucía

dest-andaluciaBook review

This week, I returned from my second trip to the glorious province of Málaga, in Andalucía. With its flavours still flamenco-dancing (sorry…) on my taste buds, I present to you the food of Andalucía – veggie style.

If you’re a veggie eating out in Andalucía, you can be sure of three things. Menus will read like a homage to dead animals, waiters and waitresses will react to your vegetarian requests with confusion, and many of the so-called ‘veggie options’ they suggest will be inexplicably adorned with a tuna garnish. A haven for meat eaters, sure. But veggies? Not so much.

It was OK, though. I was prepared for this. Before my first visit to Andalucía last October, I got my mitts on The Food of Spain by Claudia Roden. If you’ve got a penchant for Spanish cuisine, you need this book in your life. A gastronomical encyclopaedia that leaves no Spanish culinary stone unturned, Roden’s introduction to Andalucía primed me for the meat lover’s paradise I was about to enter. The beautiful, wild sierras which were to form the backdrop for much of our first trip last October? Pig country. And not any old pigs, either. The sierras are the playground of Pata Negra pigs; revered Spanish creatures that feast on sweet acorns in Andalucia’s oak woods before they land on plates as the world-famous jamón ibérico. Friends of ham, you’re very welcome here. As well as Andalucía’s gourmet pigs, Roden also writes fondly of local delicacies such as rabo de toro (oxtail stew) and cordero a la miel (lamb stew with honey), and of extraordinary varieties of seafood and fish thanks to Andalucía’s vast coastline where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean.

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Just back from… Andalucía

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Last night I returned from my first ever trip to mainland Spain. I know, I know, what took me so long? It may have been 27 years in the making, but Spain was worth the wait. We spent the week in Villanueva del Trabuco, a beautiful white-washed village lying at the base of the Gorda and San Jorge mountains in Andalucía where my mum and dad have just bought a cute little townhouse. Happy retirement, Dad! An absolutely stunning part of the world, we used their house as a base to explore as much of the region as we could. The first of what I’m sure will be many visits, I spent most of the week in a lovestruck stupor as Andalucía bewitched me with its olive grove-etched countryside, endless mountain ranges and cities brimming with fascinating history, architectural magnificence and sensational food.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing several posts about Andalucía, but for now here’s a few photo highlights as I mourn the end of an amazing week. There are far too many highlights to include in one post, so you can find more pictures on my Facebook page. Until next time, Andalucía .

Villanueva de Trabuco at sunset

Villanueva del Trabuco at sunset

Puente Nuevo, Ronda

Puente Nuevo, Ronda

Sunset Sherry at the Puerto de Málaga

A sherry at sunset at the Puerto de Málaga

The first glimpse of the Alhambra from the Albaicín , Granada

The first glimpse of the Alhambra from the Albaicín , Granada

Leaving the maze of the Albaicín to meet the Río Darro in Granada. So perfect.

Leaving the maze of the Albaicín to meet the Río Darro in Granada. So perfect.

The stunning patterns that adorn the Nasrid Palaces, Alhambra

The stunning patterns that adorn the Nasrid Palaces, Alhambra

Tapas. Enough said.

Tapas. Enough said.

Finding the Embalse de Iznájar after a local tip.

Finding the Embalse de Iznájar after a local tip.

More on Andalucía coming soon!