Friday, April 23, 2010

Andalucian Experts

After many years of eating and drinking my way along Costa del Sol, all the way up to Vejer and beyond, The Guardian has credited me as being an expert! I'm an expert in knowing what I like and one of the most spectacular things about living here is that there is very little that I don't like (apart from this winter's rain) and after 5 years, there is still so much more to discover - yum, yum, wobble, wobble. Here is waht I recommended.

Vineyards, Ronda

The beautiful vineyards around Ronda were established by the Romans and now produce some spectacular wines – boutique wineries include Chinchilla and F. Schatz. Book in advance.

Annie Manson of Annie B's Spanish Kitchen which offers food holidays in Andalucia

Eating and drinking, Málaga

La Consula (+34 952 436026) is a cooking school which produces exceptional chefs, including the holders of many of Spain's Michelin stars. At its restaurant, Fiesta, you can enjoy fantastic lunches cooked and served by the students. It is set in a fabulous building built in 1856 by the then Prussian consul, and is where Ernest Hemingway celebrated his 60th birthday. In central Málaga, on Calle Granada next to the Picasso museum, is a small bar, El Pimpi. At this tapas institution, you can nibble on top-quality jamón and manchego and sip chilled fino under signed photographs of famous guests. AB

Home of sherry, Jeréz

Bodegas Tradición (+34 956 168628) in Jeréz is one of the smallest but most impressive bodegas, producing only four sherries and two brandies. It is also home to one of the most valuable private collections of Spanish art, dating from the 13th century and featuring works by Goya, El Greco and Velázquez. AB

Foodie trail, Fuengirola

Fuengirola may be an overdeveloped nightmare, but in the old town, behind the promenade, are some fabulous tapas bars. Near the bus station is Bodega el Toston (+34 952 475632) famous for wild boar croquetas, platters of glistening jamón and spectacular wines. AB

Seafood by the sea, Málaga

In Torre del Mar, east of Málaga, Bar Negri (+34 952 540090) on Paseo de Larios is a seafood institution. Spectacular sweet prawns are served as free tapas at the bar while you wait for a table. Order conchas finas (raw giant clams), fritura de verano (a mixture of crispy deep fried onions, peppers, squid and prawns) and enormous slabs of grilled swordfish. Drink albariño or the young local barbadillo. AB

Beach life, Málaga

East of Málaga lies the small urban beach area of Pedregalejo. Unlike so many seaside resorts, it has preserved its local character without being overly influenced by tourism. Locals flock to the small restaurants along its promenade, where an espeto de sardinas (five barbecued sardines) will set you back €3. Parking can be difficult so best take a taxi. Hotel La Chancla (+34 952 206 900) on the beachfront has a great bar, Cohiba. You can sit there and watch the world go by while nibbling on the finest olives and sampling the house white by the glass – deliciously fragrant Vina Esmeralda. AB

Beach restaurants, west of Almeria

There is fantastic food at a string of restaurants on the beach at Agua Amarga in Almeria, where a plate the size of a dustbin lid full of fried fish – a parrillada de pescados – costs under €25. In the hills just nearby the coast you will findis the villa used in the cult film Sexy Beast, with the famous pool at the bottom of which where Ben Kingsley was embedded in concrete. It's not available to rent, but has villas in the area. AB

1 comment:

Miriam said...

The only place I know among those is Agua Amarga, and besides the food I find it one of the most enchanting places in the world...