If you’re a foodie, a wine-lover, or even an avid craft beer drinker, Andalusia may not be the obvious choice for an indulgent feast for the taste buds – but we’d like to share some local secrets with you that might whet your appetite for a visit!
Whether you prefer to stay close by or take some days out to enjoy the many delights on our doorstep, you’ll be spoilt for choice. For wine buffs, Spanish wine has undergone a revolution in recent years and there are surprises to be discovered just a short drive away – if you’re interested in a winery or bodega tour with tastings, then we have some great ideas for you. And for foodies, there are an abundance of restaurants offering traditional Spanish plates. You can’t wander far without coming across tapas, an Andalusian speciality that even has its own verb, tapear. The fun is in the sharing and wherever you go you’ll find great tapas – stand at a bar and soak up the atmosphere or go for a romantic intimate al fresco meal for two
World-renowned chef selects Nilva Wine
Did you know that there’s a spot right on the coast less than 20 minutes’ drive from DDG Retreat where the micro-climate is perfect for growing the large white Moscatel de Alejandria grape (great for raisins too – sun-dried and eco-friendly)? It’s said that almost every family has its own vineyard, some producing wine in traditional methods passed down from generation to generation. The Nilva wines are so good they even caught the attention of 8-Michelin star holder Martin Berasategui who personally selected this delicious nectar for at least one of his highly-acclaimed restaurants. Take a trip to Manilva’s Wine Museum, bodega and vineyards for tastings, informative presentations and more – but pre-book tours first by calling +34 609 290 370
Craft beer with gourmet tapas in Manilva
Still in Manilva, away from the grapes, there’s a brewery where you can see, touch and, of course, taste a great selection of premium craft beers. Gran de Select beers are all about luxury and are aptly presented in champagne bottles. Go along for a visit and you’ll learn how to open them in what their website claims is ‘the most sophisticated and celebratory way possible’. ‘You will be surprised,’ it promises! Round off your visit to their expansive tasting rooms with a culinary accompaniment of tapas or a three-course gourmet meal.
SHERRY COCKTAILS IN JEREZ
Time perhaps to rethink the stereotypical view of sherry. It’s worth a trip across to the elegant tree-lined city of Jerez to sample this fortified wine at its best. Wander round the sherry bars or the traditional ‘tabancos’ – try the long established El Pasaje which is said on Trip Advisor to offer live flamenco shows as you enjoy brilliant tapas. Savour the aromas of the locally-grown palomino and Pedro Jiménez grapes in your choice of sherries, available at delicious prices – or drink what the locals drink at their ‘ferias’ and try a Rebujito cocktail, with its sherry base, lemon-lime and mint. Jerez is brimming with sherry bodegas and there are tours available for those wanting an interactive learning experience, as well as some sherry tasting. Note: If brandy’s your tipple, there’s also the Brandy de Jerez, typically served with meats.
THE WINES OF RONDA
If you’re a wine tourist, the lure of Ronda beckons. Straddled across a spectacular gorge, Ronda is well worth a visit in itself, for its historical and cultural heritage and its geographical position. But it also sits in the heart of the region’s wine making route, with its Reds, Whites and Rosés rapidly gaining in popularity. An array of bodega tours are available; try out the Wine Interpretation Centre, the Museo Del Vino De Ronda, which also includes a collection of antique wine and wine-making utensils. Or combine your wine tasting with some superb Jamon Iberico at the Casa Del Jamon (see below).
WINES AND LOCAL SPECIALITY
La Casa Del Jamon is a deli, wine tasting, bar and museum in Ronda where you can watch experts slicing the world-famous of Jamon Iberico. There’s a café bar with wine, cheese and oil (perfect for gifts) which you can try before you buy.
TAPAS IN RONDA
There’s so much to love about Ronda, not least the gastronomy there. Tapas is generally affordable and good. Vicente Espinel street – otherwise known as La Bola – is where you can find popular tapas eateries at mouth-wateringly low prices. For spectacular views, you can’t beat tapas at the Puento Nuevo. Away from the tourist throngs. the Alameda is a favourite with locals and offers a unique opportunity to try home-made Serranía dishes. What to order can be the dilemma – but authentic classics include Serranito (a hot meat, pepper and tomato sandwich) and a signature oxtail stew.
STROLL AND DINE IN SOTOGRANDE
The port of Sotogrande, less than a half hour taxi ride away from DDG Retreat, is a great place to enjoy an evening out. Take a stroll and enjoy beautiful view of the sea and bobbing yachts; there are plenty of shops, and you can sip on a cocktail before enjoying freshly-cooked tapas whilst soaking up the friendly atmosphere with a copas of wine. For a different eating experience, great views and plenty of romance, try Don Diego, serving stunning Japanese/Peruvian fusion cuisine. Or head back to town (two minutes) where PuraTapa has a great menu – they take tapas to a new level and we love their creativity – from strawberry infused tuna tartar to prawns served in crunchy pastry, and for those craving a burger, theirs is quite special. Next door, Cancha Tapas also offers innovative tapas and Enoteca Tapas is also a good choice. For local fresh seafood and fresh tapas whilst you enjoy the fresh smell of the sea, try the waterfront chiringuitos.
MAGNICENT MEALS IN MALAGA MARKETS
Malaga is enjoying a renaissance and there are many reasons to visit, not least the food. The gourmet capital of the Costa Del Sol has been serving up tapas and wine for centuries and it’s no wonder it has some of the best tapas bars in Spain. Tapas Malaga-style has become sophisticated. Sample fried fish, Malaga salad, meatballs or stews. You can take in a Spain Food Sherpas tour, eating your way through the old town and finding off-the-beaten-track jewels, whilst learning about Malaga’s culture – or join one of their cooking classes. Visit the Atarazana Market and head for the Mercado bar where skewers of prawns, octopus or tuna, fried pescaíto, fried fish and fried aubergines with Firgiliana cane honey await you – all accompanied by a fresh beer or a glass of Malaga white wine. On Saturdays, look out for paella. But there are many more fabulous restaurants to try, including Michelin-starred, vegetarian and more. For foodies, Malaga is definitely worth a visit.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST – CASARES
Right on our doorstep, we have some fabulous restaurants. Fine dining, the locals’ favourite country ventas or chiringuitos on the seafront, we can help you find the places that best suit your taste. Here are some tried and tested guest favourites. Venta Garcia enjoys great countryside views and serves fusion cuisine. Arroyo Hondo offers Asian-influenced Mediterranean. The Forge, set in an converted country house, is a great backdrop for a romantic dinner and serves up international menu, with meats a speciality. Restaurante La Choza is characterful, offering traditional Spanish and Andalucian dishes. Bahia Beach with its Mediterranean views is located on a wooden terrace, and this beach-side restaurant specialises in fresh seafood and shellfish and paella. Restaurante La Terraza – as expected with its name – has a terrace with panoramic views, good quality food and service with a smile. Venta Victoria, as recommended by the Sunday Times’ travel wrtier Chris Haslam after his visit here, is a hot-spot for locals and serves well-priced home-cooked, authentic Spanish cuisine. And last but definitely not least, for its seaside and great ocean location, we favour La Sal Chiringuito, which serves good quality seafood, shellfish and paella.
AND FINALLY – SOME TAPAS FAVOURITES
Courtesy of Andalucia.com, here are some tapas favourites typical of the region. We hope you enjoy!
TAPAS LIST (COURTESY OF ANDALUCIA.COM)
* Ensaladilla rusa – “Russian” potato salad with potatoes, carrots and peas in mayonnaise and usually some tuna.
* Albondigas – meatballs, usually pork, served in a tomato or an almond sauce
* Patatas ali-oli – a potato salad with a garlic “mayonnaise”
* Berenjenas con miel – deep-fried, crispy aubergine fritters with honey
* Croquetas – bread-crumbed croquettes containing ham, fish or cheese
* Flamenquin – Fried veal, ham and cheese rolls.
* Tortilla de patatas – Spanish potato omelette
* Ensalada de pimientos asados – salad of roasted red peppers
* Boquerones en vinagre – fresh anchovies marinated in vinegar
* Gambas al pil pil – prawns sizzled in oil with garlic and chilli
* Remojón – salad of olives and oranges
* Cazón en adobo (a.k.a. Bienmesabe) – crispy fried bites of marinated fish
* Salpicón de mariscos – Shellfish cocktail
* Pollo al Ajillo – chicken sautéed with garlic