I do not describe myself as a “foodie,” not because the word is so overused but because I literally just eat anything. To me a foodie is someone who researches, salivates, and dreams about expensively exclusive food experiences around the world. All I do is eat good, cheap food; although I totally pay extra (max +$5) for quality. So although this is a “foodie list,” it is totally not a fine dining, back alley guide to Spain. I am literally just telling you the researched, quintessential foods we ate while in Andalusia. I really tried to remember to take pictures, not always pretty, because I usually forget in lieu of enjoying myself while eating and not having my phone anywhere near liquids I may spill!
Eating in Andalusia
This is an entry all to itself in the book Food Journeys of a Lifetime because everything about Andalusia is just a little bit different from the rest of Spain. The food draws on their Moorish past with flavors from North Africa and Arabia infused into the Spanish staples.
Notables to try:
- Anchovies with cumin (boquerones en adobo)
- Eggplant, zucchini, and pepper dish (alboronía)
- Cold almond, garlic, and olive oil soup (ajo blanco)
- Cuttlefish deep-fried with cumin (calamares)
- Honeyed roast lamb (cordero a la miel)
Although we were not in the famed area for paella, Valencia, we had to have some in Spain; especially because it is our special way to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Paella also has its roots in Moorish culture and started off as an “everything but the kitchen sink” kind of a dish. There are two major versions of paella: paella valenciana (with meat) and paella marinera (seafood) – we ate both.
Read more: Celebrating our Anniversary in Spain
While beautifully cured and seasoned ham is a staple of all Spanish tapas, Jamón Ibérico is the kingpin. The best Jamón Ibérico in Spain comes from the regions of Extremadura and Andalusia. Although expensive considering how much you get, a little sliver will do the trick; this is NOT your lunch meat deli ham.
Sherry & Tapas
It would be impossible to visit Spain and NOT eat tapas! Andalusia is seen as the birthplace of this wine and snack tradition that everyone loves so much. Many people enjoy the wide variety of tapas by bar hopping and ordering a glass with tapas at each place but the Andalusian way is to stay and linger, making your tapas a full meal. And that is just what we did!
There are two main types of sherry for this region: fino (dry) and manzanilla (aromatic & zesty). I’m not a huge sherry person, so instead I had the sweet vino naranja (orange wine) which is particular to Seville. This wine was amazing perfect and refreshing for summer, it is now my goal to find it in the States.
Gazpacho is a cold soup (like a thin veggie smoothie) that is just perfect in the summer heat. I love it but but for many people the temperature just freaks them out. Red Gazpacho, which is tomato based, is from the Andalusian region while the white, garlic based, gazpacho is particular more to the north.
Chocolate & Churros
Churros is a staple all over the Hispanic world but these were definitely different! I would describe them as crunchier than I’m used to. And this hot chocolate was most certainly not what we were expecting! We thought you were supposed to be able to drink it but it was thick enough to stand a spoon in it! Perfect for dipping in churros though. 🙂
P.S. if you can’t find the time or cash to travel to Andalusia anytime soon, this gift box from La Tienda online is a beautiful substitute. I bought it for my godmother and her husband when we left and they gave it all thumbs up!