The local GASTRONOMY in Andalusia is based on olive oil and the MEDITERRANEAN DIET considered one of the best in the World, originated here.
ANDALUSIA has a wide and varied gastronomy and is known for its TAPAS which originated more than a century ago from SEVILLE when a piece of bread was put over a glass of wine to keep flies off. This refreshment was handed to the horsemen who rode to the inn, before they dismounted. Soon cheese or meat was balanced on the bread to make an appetising snack and has since become Spain's most endearing ritual.
There are a great many TAPAS to be tasted in today's bars. For example Boquerones, small white fish fillets in oil are lovely, Albondigas, (meatballs), usually in tomato sauce, Ensalada Rusa, (Russian salad), GAMBAS PIL-PIL, sizzling chili hot prawns with garlic, SUPERB, Huevos con Mayonesa, (eggs in mayonnaise), Magro con Tomate, (pork pieces in tomato sauce), Ensalada de Patatas, (potato salad), TORTILLA, (Spanish potato omelette), Calamare, (battered squid rings), and so the list goes on.
Everyone has heard of PAELLA, a very tasty rice dish with saffron colouring, and can have chicken, pork, mussels, prawns and other kinds of fish in it. PAELLA A LA CAMPO is a typical country dish using the best of everything from the countryside.
GAZPACHO, a chilled soup made from finely chopped vegetables, made creamy by beating bread with olive oil, is very refreshing served icy cold on a hot Summers' day. Almost as famous is AJO BLANCO, (white gazpacho), the Malaga version is almonds pounded with bread, garlic and oil and garnished with Muscat grapes, and CORDOBA'S version is called SALMOREJO, pink with tomato, and garnished with raw ham and eggs, both are equally good on a hot day.
The following are some of the specialities to be found in ANDALUSIA.
Migas, (fried breadcrumbs), and stuffed peppers from VILLANUEVA DE TAPIA, Ajo Blanco and baby kid from PRIEGO DE CORDOBA, Rabo de Toro, (Oxtail stew with sherry), and kidneys in sherry sauce from ANTEQUERA, and wild asparagus omelette from HUETOR-TAJAR. If you walk the streets of old CORDOBA you will be beckoned by the smell of El Churrasco, (barbecued meat), wafting from any one of the many restaurants. Marinated pork loin from CABRA is delicious with patatas a lo pobre, and in DONA MENCIA try patatas en adobilla in a very tasty sauce and served with tomatoes guisades, a kind of stew, and makes a filling meal. From GRANADA comes PAPAS A LO POBRE, tortilla Sacromonte and chestnut soup, whilst JAEN specialities include spinach with raisins and pine nuts, perdiz escabechada-partridge cooked in wine and vinegar marinade, and from ANDUJAR comes a very tasty stew of potatoes and cod.
Other culinary delights are aubergine fritters served with honey, a disaster for the waist line, but oh so gorgeous, chorizo, scarlet coloured with paprika from choricero peppers, adds colour to olla, a kind of stew made from chick peas, meat and mixed vegetables, a speciality at the centuries old mill in ALFARNATE, now a restaurant and museum.
In VILLANUEVA DEL ROSARIO try venison or wild boar when in season at Las Delicias Hotel/Restaurant, or RIOFRIO for trout served in the many restaurants in lots of different ways, fresh from the trout farms. From JAEN, Lomo de Orza, seasoned pork loin fried and then casseroled in a clay pot called an orza.
Desserts are a great favourite with the Spaniards and merengue de cafe, hojaldres, (puff pastry cakes), flan, (caramel custard), Tocina de Ciel, arroz (rice pudding with a difference), and ice creams are a good finale to an excellent meal.
Try a speciality from GRANADA PROVINCE sweetened pumpkin pie, apples and wild blackberries or Pastelon de Perdiz (partridge pie), made by the Encarncion nuns or la hoja (the leaf) from the Jeromino nuns.
Ring the bell at many a convent and you can purchase cakes made by the cloistered nuns. The excellent cakes will either come out through the grilles, or an old tornador, shelved swing door, where the money goes inward on another shelf.
A JAEN speciality from UBEDA is hornacaos, cakes baked with a hard boiled egg inside and, at Easter time you can sample Ochios, cakes made with Aniseed. A special favourite from SANTE FE in GRANADA PROVINCE is Piononos-delicate cream filled cakes soaked in a light syrup and from CORDOBA, Bizochos Borrachos ("drunken") sugary cakes soaked in wine or syrup.
At Christmas time take a trip to RUTE in the PROVINCE OF CORDOBA where the many factories making mantecados, (shortbread like cakes), polvorones and many sweets made from almonds are on sale to the public.
JANUARY 6th is the day all Spanish families eat the traditional ROSCON DE REYES, a ring shaped cake studded with frosted fruit and filled with cream and often having a trinket or coin inside. A special cake for a special day. THE DAY OF THE KINGS.
And now to THE NOT SO HUMBLE OLIVE - IT IS SAID THAT OLIVES HAVE HEART AND THE OIL HAS SOUL
After 40 days of flood Noah saw an OLIVE branch in the beak of a dove, ever since the olive tree has been a symbol of peace and rebirth.
OLIVE OIL is one of the main ingredients of the MEDITERRANEAN DIET and the ancient Mediterraneans thought olive oil had magical properties. The Romans bathed their bodies in olive oil to preserve their beauty.
OLIVE OIL is rich in Vitamin E and lives on the in the art of cooking. It can turn a dish of roasted vegetables into a veritable feast, and the golden flavor dripped into creamy ali oli is SHEER MAGIC!!!
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