Throughout the year, Andalucia is home to some of the most exquisite of Spanish culinary experiences; each separate province has its own speciality, such as the fried aubergines famed in Cordoba, salt cod and orange salad of Granada and Almadraba tuna loved by the locals of Cadiz. The region is famed for its gazpacho, a simple but refreshing cold vegetable soup served in the summer months. But what does the south of Spain offer for the months of the year that are, well, not cold exactly, but cooler than the scorching summer?
In this part of the world the gazpacho is to the summer what gazpachuelo is to the winter: a perfect complement. The dish shares the four basic ingredients of its summer compadre – bread, garlic, oil and water – but differs in that it is made with a mayonnaise based garlic and broth and is usually accompanied with cooked eggs. Originally a meal favoured by the working classes, in winter gazpachuelo is to be found all across Andalusia, but most typically in its town of origin, Malaga.
Another delicious winter dish to be found in Southern Spain is the puchero, a chickpeas based casserole to which rice, vegetables, pork, veal or bacon are added in amounts dependent on the generally accepted preferences in the region. Piccadillo soup is especially popular in Ameria and Seville, and includes chicken chopped with a hard boiled egg. Often as a warming meal on cold winter nights, piccadillo soup is also traditionally served before turkey on Christmas day. A dish often found in the Cadiz province, Arranque Caliente is a kind of hot gazpacho with a rich tomato base. Starting out as a breakfast for peasant families, today it is served in restaurants across the region.
If Sangria seems less fitting for the cooler months, why not try a warming taste of a fortified wine like the Jerez Sherry? The province of Cadiz has produced sherry for centuries, and is the only place where sherry is made, although it can be and most certainly is imbibed in many other locations across the region. Visits can be made to one of the bodegas in the Jerez de la Frontera area, such as that of the Pedro Domecq or Garvey sherry companies.
Now that the chiringuitos are closed up for the winter, it’s time to look for a few of Marbella’s superb restaurants to enjoy that tasty winter cuisine. Celebrity chef Dani Garcia’s Michelin star BIBO on the Golden Mile would seem to be a good place to start; Garcia uses traditional Andalucian influences mixed with modern and international influences. Restaurant Gran Gatsby in Puerto Banus with its classic French and Spanish cuisine and gourmet food and it has a reputation for fabulous fresh seafood and vegetables from the local area. Restaurant Vovem Asador serves the finest steaks the world has to offer. The restaurant also shows a great care for presentation.