Best Food in Andalusia you have to try
While on holiday in Spain, you have to try the food in Andalusia! With its stunning beaches, perfect climate and rich culture, Andalusia, is one of the best places to visit! It also has some of the tastiest food to try.
Spain is the healthiest country in the world, part of which is due to the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is Intangible World Heritage of Unesco. In Spain, healthy doesn’t have to mean bad tasting. Each region in Spain has its own typical foods or variation of popular dishes, which means there are A LOT of dishes you need to taste.
Here is our list of our favourite food in Andalusia:
1. Bluefin Tuna
Spain is famous for its fish and seafood, but Bluefin Tuna (Atún Rojo) is one of the best fish to try. In Cádiz province, the fish are caught in the traditional Almadraba nets and there is a festival to celebrate the tuna. The tuna are enormous and each individual fish drives a high price!
Although certain types of Bluefin Tuna can be found year round, the best time to try it is in May and June in Cádiz province, when it is in season. Some of our favourite dishes are ventresca and tartar.
Ventresca is a piece of the tuna that is near the head, belly. It is very juicy, soft and flavourful. If cooked correctly, it is like a tuna steak that melts in your mouth! La Juderia, in Vejer de la Frontera serves one of our favourite ventresca dishes (pictured).
Another great Bluefin Tuna dish to try in season is Tartar, made from raw fish. There’s no better way to taste the freshness and flavour of the fish than when it is raw.
Salmorejo is one of our favourite Andalusian dishes. It is a thick creamy tomato soup. It is much thicker than the well-known Gazpacho and is so flavourful. Traditionally, Salmorejo is from Córdoba province. It is usually served as an appetizer.
Often, it is topped with jamón ibérico (Iberian ham) or boiled egg in a bowl. Or sometimes, it is served on top of toast.
3. Tortillita de camarones and Fried Fish
Tortillita de camarones is a typical Andalusian tapa. It is essentially a fried savoury pancake made from tiny prawns. It is found throughout Andalusia but is especially popular in Cádiz province, where the smallest type of prawns can be found. These prawns are so small they are cooked whole in the tortillita. When you ask for a Pescaíto frito (Fried fish), you will get fish like Cazón (School Shark), calamares (squid), boquerones (anchovies), choco/puntillitas (small cuttlefish). This dish is a great tapa to enjoy with a beer or a Fino/Manzanilla sherry.
4. Rabo de toro/Carne de toro
Another dish that originated in Córdoba this is bull tail. It is typically served as a stew and is a heartier dish. The meat is cooked slowly to get that melt-in-your-mouth feeling. It is very tender and gelatinous and pulls away from the bone easily.
In the photo you can see “Carne de toro” which is also cooked slowly and it takes almost a day to cook. If you are lucky and you are in Vejer de la Frontera, Cádiz you can try an amazing carne de toro de lidia (the breed used for bull fights) in the local bar “el conejito”. It is not always available.
Gazpacho is another cold tomato soup, although better known than Salmorejo internationally. Although it sounds similar to Salmorejo the taste is quite difference. It is much similar, more like a soup. Unlike Salmorejo, it is also made with vinegar, which gives it a more acidic, punchy flavour. It is perfect in the heat of summer.
There are some more modern variations of gazpacho that can be found now as well. Although it is not common place, you can find gazpacho made with Piel de sapo (Toadskin melon) or watermelon. They are also refreshing on a hot summer day.
6. Boquerones en vinagre
Another great tapa to try in Andalusia is Boquerones en vinagre. These are just anchovies in vinegar. This way to conserve food comes from the brine, which was brought to Spain from the Moors when they conquered Spain. Although they used it mostly on meat.
Although found throughout Spain, it is a great tapa to enjoy near the sea. A Manzanilla sherry pairs perfectly with boquerones en vinagre. This dish is a favourite food in Andalusia!
7. Ajo Blanco
Ajo Blanco is another cold soup. Although some countries may find cold soup a weird concept, it is very refreshing, in the hot weather in Spain, as well as very light and tasty. Ajo Blanco (translates to White Garlic) is made from almonds, garlic and bread. It is also often served with green grapes or raisins on top.
Some believe that Ajo Blanco likely originates from the Romans or Greeks. However, it has developed to its current form in Extremadura and Andalusia regions.
Ortiguillas are anemones, and are a relatively modern food in Andalusia and in Spain. It originated in the Bahía de Cádiz (Bay of Cádiz) following the Spanish civil war in the 1930s. At this time poverty was high and people began trying new types of food to fill the hunger.
Yet ortiguillas are still popular today and are a unique and tasty dish to try. You usually find it as a fried food, which demonstrates the best flavour of the ortiguillas.
9. Secreto and Pluma
In Spain there are so many different cuts of meat that can be found and it can be difficult to know what you are eating at times. You can see some of the various cuts here. However, two of our favourite cuts of pork are secreto and pluma.
Secreto is a piece of meat that has more fat. It is hidden between the leg/ cruceta and the ribs, underneath the pluma (hence the name Secreto, or secret). Due to the high fat content it is incredibly juicy. When cooked properly, the outside of the meat almost caramelises and it is amazingly delicious.
Alternatively, pluma has a bit less fat than secreto but has a fine texture that is still very soft and juicy. It is a small cut of meat from the pig next to the lomo (loins).
Both secreto and pluma can be found throughout much of Spain. You can generally order it as a ración (shared dish) with bread or fried potatoes.
10. Iberian Ham
One of the best known and famous things to try while in Spain is Iberian ham or jamón ibérico. It can only be aged in certain areas of Spain. Within Andalusia they can age it in two places within Huelva, and another place in Córdoba, however some is produced in Cadiz as well, and then taken to these places. Huelva has the Denomination de Origin Jabugo, and Denomination de Origin Huelva- certifications of origin of production.
The cured ham comes from the black Iberian pigs, which are a breed of pig unique to Spain and Portugal. The jamón ibérico de bellota is the best type. Bellota means acorn and the free-roaming pigs eat only acorns from a specific subspecies of Oak tree found in the Iberian Peninsula. The acorns give the ham a nutty type of flavour.
Ham is a very serious business in Spain. It can be produced in different parts, but it can only be aged in four areas of Spain, which have the D.O. Does it remind you to something? Exactly, like Sherry.
The best products are very expensive and valuable. Hams are labeled in details, according to their quality. Each label even denotes the percentage of pure ancestry of the pig. Being a professional jamón cutter is also a serious career. People study to learn the art of ham cutting and fancy restaurants and weddings will have someone just to cut the ham.
You can find jamón ibérico as a tapa or ración in most bars and restaurants and is definitely worth a try! You can read and learn all about it by clicking here.
Other great foods in Andalusia
There are so many great foods we couldn’t fit them all in one list! Other great foods in Andalusia are Carrillada (pork cheek), or Gambas al Ajillos (Prawns in garlic). As well, there different variations of Croquetas, a type of breaded deep fried snack. Our favourite and one of the most classic variations are croquetas de puchero.
Toast with olive oil, garlic and tomato, which is incredibly refreshing, rich and flavourful, depending where you are in Spain has a different name Andalusian breakfast, catalana toast in Extremadura, Pa amb Tomàquet in Cataluña. Hard to say where it originated, some people say that it originated in Jaén, but most people say that in Cataluña.
If you have more of a sweet tooth, try Churros or Porras (a thicker version of churros) with coffee or hot chocolate. Most cities and villages have a churrería where you can find these tasty treats!