Southern Spanish Cuisine

The Costa del Sol boasts excellent food and wine,  Marbella alone boasts of many wonderful restaurants, bars, chiringuitos serving some wonderful food and wine. On the other hand there are also many which don’t and think that serving the same old type of food everywhere constitutes a restaurant. Along with this comes appalling service……

The Old Town of Marbella has had a huge revival in visitors wanting to taste the culinary delights and to those living here, we are getting spoiled now with the diverse amount of food available. There is nothing better than buying produce which is seasonal as it has taste. The many markets offer a really wonderful variety of  fresh fruit and vegetables, Marbella’s  market is on a Monday in the area by the industrial poligono. Here you can find produce which comes from farms and not from under plastic covering.

The food now being sold as organic is really the food which was grown 25 years ago without any pesticides, not uniform and lacking in taste! All the different fruits, cherries, strawberries, apples etc, together with figs and now the exotic fruits such as papaya and mango can be found almost everywhere. There is also a large variety wonderful vegetables available all year, more and more new varieties being introduced into the Mediterranean diet all the time.

This diet, rich in fish, only does one good. The olive oils found, from the cheaper ones to very expensive ( see the excellent D’Oliva in the Casco Antiguo, or Old Town ) are good for us, fish, especially the oily ones such as mackerel, are abundant. For meat eaters there is also good variety, we recommend a wander around the Municipal Market  of Marbella for a good selection of just about everything, and all the supermarkets carry a great choice. Also.  Lots of spices assist in producing  great tastes…

As for wines, well!!! Where do we start! Spain has consistently knocked the best French wines off their perch in blind tastings, not always, but a great deal. Spain has over 2.9 million acres, over 1.7 million hectares, planted, which makes it the most widely planted wine producing nation and  it is the third largest producer of wine in the world, behind France and Italy. Spaniards drink on average over 21 litres per person a year.

Spain has many native grape varieties, Tempranillo, Ganacha and Monastrell for the reds and whites are from Galiacia, Palomino, Airen and Macabeo. The 3 cava grapes are Parellada, Xarel-lo and Macabeo. The major Spanish wine regions include the Rioja and Ribera del Duero which are known for their Tempranillo production; Valdepeñas, which has high quality Tempranillo at low prices; Jerez, home to Sherry, Rías Baixas in the northwest region of Galicia known for its white wines made from Albariño and Catalonia including  Cava and still wine producing regions of Penedès and the Priorat region.

With such an abundance, it’s no wonder that many stores have such a wonderful variety of wines to show. From cheap plonk, if you’re so inclined, to the VERY expensive, Vega Sicilia, there is something for everyone’s taste. If you go to a wine specialist outlet, you will find helpful staff who are only too happy to direct you on the myriad bottles before your eyes!

Alia Babapille

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