Top 10s - Food in Andalucia

Andalucia's gastronomy is finally starting to get the adulation it deserves. Of course, those who are familiar with its outstanding piggy, fishy and veggie dishes will already have their own preferred delicacies. Here we offer a geo-mapped list compiled from your suggestions.

1)      Gambas al Ajillo or Gambas Pil Pil

The sweet, spicy taste of juicy prawns sizzled in garlicky chilli oil is a hot favourite. Mop up the sauce with hunks of pan de pueblo (crusty white bread).

2)      Paella/arroz

While paella comes from Valencia, as any foodie (or Spaniard) will tell you, over half of Spain's rice is grown in Seville province, and local dishes of arroz con mariscos or arroz con pato (rice with seafood, or duck) are hugely popular all over the region, especially for lunch at weekends.

© Michelle Chaplow Paella
Paella, an Andalucian favourite


3)      Jamon serrano 

Number one in the Andalucian culinary pantheon for many, the wafer-thin slivers of soft, sweet-salty, melt-in-the-mouth air-cured ham from Andalucia's mountains are exalted like no other food. Best areas: Sierra de Aracena (Huelva) and the Alpujarras (Granada). Vegetarians beware - jamon isn't considered meat, and may appear in salads and other apparently meat-free offerings.

© Michelle Chaplow Jamon Serrano
Jamon serrano


4)      Salmorejo

Perfectly delicious and cooling on a baking summer's day, this smooth tomato soup, nominally from Cordoba, is quick and easy to make - the main ingredients are bread, olive oil and tomatoes, all staples in the Andalucian diet. It is usually served garnished with jamon and chopped boiled egg. (Note that gazpacho, unlike salmorejo, is drunk from a glass, rather than eaten from a bowl.)

© Michelle Chaplow Salmorejo


5)      Coquinas

These exquisite little clams, found on the Huelva and Cadiz coasts, are cooked with garlic, parsley and white wine, and served by the racion (large dish). Slurp.

© Michelle Chaplow Coquinas
Coquinas (or clams)


6)      Berenjenas con miel de caña

Originally brought over by the Sephardi (Spanish Jews), aubergines are a staple in Andalucian kitchens, whether in pistou (ratatouille-like vegetable stew) or deep-fried in batter as here, and then drizzled with molasses (made in Malaga).

7)      Churros

These strips of deep-fried dough (can you see a theme emerging here?) are eaten with thick hot chocolate, in the early hours after a night out - you can often see churro vans parked near fairgrounds and nightclubs.

8)      Calamares/chipirones a la plancha

Grilled squid (or baby squid) with lemon, parsley and garlic sauce should be tender, never chewy or rubbery. You're served the body and tentacles, which some may find a little too anatomical.

9)      Tortilla española

An eternal classic, though it's hard to find the ideal one - thick, yet both light and filling at the same time. Typically made with eggs, potato and onion, and eaten in wedges. Perfect snack after a big night out - carb heaven.

© Michelle Chaplow Tortilla española
Tortilla española


10) Pringa

Super-tender meat from a slow-cooked stew (puchero or cocido) - it's a mix from the pot of pork, pork fat, chorizo and morcilla (blood sausage).