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Friday, January 15, 2021

Spain’s Best Region for Foodies

                                       The best dining in all of Spain is in Andalusia

Europe’s second largest country, Spain, offers a wealth of riches for the culinary traveler.  Chorizo is made in every corner of Spain.  Manchego cheese, from the center of the country, is internationally known.  There’s Espelette (a smoky paprika from the Basque hills), and Piquillo peppers from the north.   But, it’s Spain’s southernmost area of Andalusia that knocks it out of the bull-ring for gastronomy.

                     Refreshing gazpacho, an Andalusian specialty, is a made from all local ingredients

Andalusia comprises nearly one-fifth of Spain’s land mass with the Mediterranean being its southern border, Gibraltar and the Atlantic its western boundary.  Seville is its capital, but other famous towns include the phenomenal Moorish cities of Granada and Cordova, as well as the entire Costa del Sol and its epicenter, Malaga.

                                      Spain's most prized olive oil comes from Andalusia

Andalusia has historically been an agricultural region.   Its inland weather is the hottest in Europe which means heat-loving food products such as tomatoes and melons thrive.  Some of Spain’s best olive oils are Andalusian.   Also, Sherry wine vinegar is from this vast culinary land, as is the full lineup of dry and sweet Sherry wine.   Some of Spain’s most loved Iberico ham hails from Andalusia.  Paella is a classical Andalusian dish---this makes sense as half of the country’s rice comes from the area outside of Seville (and the Mediterranean provides a stunning array of shellfish for the popular seafood version).


                          Seafood paella is one of Andalusia's many culinary splendors

Spain’s Andalusia is also an area of rich culture.  In fact, many cultural phenomena that are viewed distinctively as Spanish are largely or entirely from Andalusia.  These include flamenco and bullfighting.   The Moors made significant contributions to Andalusia’s culture, especially in the region’s architecture and  gastronomy.  The Moors not only brought olives & olive oil, but sugar, almonds, citrus, and many stone fruits.  Classical Spanish cuisine spices such as saffron, cumin, nutmeg and cinnamon were also passed to Spain by the Moors.  Equally important, the Moors brought the technology of irrigation, turning Andalusia’s dessert into a rich garden.

                                     Some of the best Iberico ham is found in Andalusia

While there are many enticing parts of Spain for the gourmand, the pinnacle for eating is Andalusia.  Wine-Knows has a group going to Andalusia September 2021.  For more info on this trip which includes Spain’s do-not-miss cities of Seville and Granada (as well as the district's famous Sherry wine district), check out our special culinary adventure:

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