Of all Marbella's many assets, one probably stands out above all others: the weather. This enclave of the Costa del Sol originally attracted the world's jet set because of its year-round good…
Who doesn’t love to try out new flavours and foods while travelling? indulging in the local cuisine is a huge part of the holiday experience, and never more so than in Spain where you can have the whole foodie world on a plate.
Here is our pick of some of the best local gourmet delights you can try while on holiday in Andalucia:
The world famous pre-dinner drink originates from Jerez de la Frontera (the city is European Wine Capital 2014), home to household names such as Domecq and Harveys, and from a few other places inside the “Sherry Triangle” in Andalucia.
Sherry comes in several different varieties that pair beautifully with different kinds of food and is enjoying a real renaissance among wine circles lately. Here is a quick guide on what to try:
Fino: light-coloured and very dry, this sherry comes from Jerez itself. Served cold and drunk as you would a good white wine, it goes perfectly with shellfish, jamí³n ibérico (see below) and mild cheeses.
Manzanilla: similar in colour and taste to fino, it too is served cold and best accompanies fish and shellfish. Fino and manzanilla are the least alcoholic of the sherry types and should not be kept once opened.
Amontillado: amber-coloured and smooth and rich in taste, amontillado goes well with white meats, oily fish and cured cheese.
Oloroso: dark and with a strong scent, this is also a dry sherry but with a more intense taste than fino. The intensity suits red meats and strong cheeses.
Palo seco: also dark, palo seco is strongly scented and flavoured. Good with game, foie gras and strong cheeses.
Pedro Ximenez: dark and sweet with a rich syrupy texture, Pedro Ximenez has a strong and intense flavour that pairs well with strong cheeses and desserts
Goats’ cheese from Ronda
The mountains that surround Ronda are some of the most beautiful in Andalusia. They’re also home to numerous goat herds who live at high attitude in wet conditions (the village of Grazalema near Ronda has the country’s highest rainfall) meaning excellent pasture and by extension, delicious cheese.
Most goats’ cheese from Ronda is made using traditional methods and brands to look out for are Flor de Ronda and Queso Payoyo.
Queso fresco: This ‘fresh cheese’ is a lowest-fat version, pure white and has a creamy, texture. It’s ideal in salads and on canapés with quince jelly or anchovies.
Rulo de cabra: You buy a slice of this from a roll with a thick white rind. This version combines superbly with apple and caramel in a green salad or an accompaniment to foie gras.
Queso semi-curado o curado: A harder type of cheese, semi-cured and cured goats’ cheese has a stronger taste than the fresh and usually has a dark yellow rind. This is best cut into small slices and eaten as a tapa, perhaps with cured ham (see below).
Queso Payoyo: Unique to this part of Andalusia, this strong cheese is fast gaining popularity in gourmet bars where it’s often served as a tapa.
Jamí³n ibérico de bellota
Andalusian cured ham is a highly prized gourmet treat especially when it comes to jamí³n ibérico de bellota. This creamier version than the regular cured ham comes from black pigs bred in the western area of Andalusia around Huelva. The pigs roam free around large oak-filled pastures all year and in the autumn, their diet consists almost entirely of acorns – look for the “Pata Negra” black label around the hoof.
The legs of ham are cured for 24-48 months and the end result is an intensely-flavoured meat that’s dark red in colour. Served in wafer-thin slices as a tapa, it’s a great accompaniment to a glass of fino sherry or intense red wine.
You can buy a whole leg (if kept in dry conditions, it will last for as long as it takes you to eat it!), although cutting ham is a fine art and probably best left to those in the know; pre-packed slices – open the packet a while before you plan to eat it to allow the ham to breathe; and off the leg in all good food stores – they slice off the amount you need.
As a general guide, the more expensive per kilo, the better quality the ham.
The backbone of all Mediterranean cooking, olive oil is one of Andalusia’s main exports and olive groves cover hectares of the region, particularly in the provinces of Cordoba and Jaen. Olive oil features at every meal in Andalusia – from the breakfast drizzle of toast to the evening salad dressing via biscuits and pastries.
Not only does olive oil taste good, its monounsaturated fat content make it a healthier substitute for butter and margarine. The best olive oil is unrefined and known as ‘virgin’ or ‘extra virgin’, and almost green in colour with an intense flavour. Indeed, the strongest extra virgin brands taste so strong they’re almost bitter.
When buying olive oil, go for the very best. Perhaps a good virgin oil for general use and a more expensive extra virgin for salad dressings and an occasional drop on pasta and rice dishes. You’ll find the best brands in good supermarkets and specialist shops such as D’Oliva in Marbella
Convent cakes and pastries
In many convents in Andalusia, the nuns who live there are famed for their cake and pastry-making skills. They offer a range of homemade wares, known as dulces de convento, from simple magdalenas (plain sponge cupcakes) and almond biscuits to elaborate marzipan sweets and traditional Christmas delicacies.
At the entrance to the convent, there’s usually a list of produce, prices and opening times, a bell and a small sliding or revolving tray. You place your money on the tray, ring the bell and your purchases are delivered back on the tray. But don’t expect to see or hear the nun behind the convent walls!
We would love to hear about your own gourmet tips for Spain, so leave us a comment and let us know what you’ve tried and what you loved!
Array (  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 177283 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2021-06-14 14:08:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-06-14 14:08:24 [post_content] => Of all Marbella's many assets, one probably stands out above all others: the weather. This enclave of the Costa del Sol originally attracted the world's jet set because of its year-round good temperatures. During the off-season months it's got its own little microclimate of warm weather. When it’s at its hottest - during July and August - there’s often a light breeze from the Mediterranean to take the edge off… perfect. So, month by month what should you do - and wear - on a trip to Marbella?
JanuaryTemperatures: The deepest darkest winter and perma-grey is what northern Europeans are used to during January. But bright blue skies and moderate temperatures of 17°C highs are the norm down in Marbella. January is the coldest of the months and has an average of 5 days of rainfall, but it definitely beats dark winter days up in northern Europe. What to pack: It’s still winter, so either side of midday there’s a chill. If you’re visiting in January you might be wanting to take in some of the incredible historic sights southern Spain has to offer. Make sure you pack comfortable shoes as a whole day strolling round a fort complex like the Alcazaba in Malaga or the Albaycin area of Granada is punishing on the soles of your feet. Layers are key and a coat is necessary for January visits. Great for… Golfers and culture vultures.
FebruaryTemperatures: Average temperate highs of 18°C and lows of 8°C February can feel cold, certainly during the evening and early morning. When the sun rises, the sheer amount of light and largely blue skies is a tonic in itself. What to pack: Much the same as January. Worth packing waterproof shoes as when it rains it really does rain. Rarely, though, does it rain for days and days in a row. But you might be unlucky enough to experience some rain during a stay in February. Great for... Active travellers. Wind surfing, kite surfing, cyclists, hikers, cavers and even canyoning for those brave enough.
MarchTemperatures: March in Marbella starts to touch on 20°C and high teens are reliable. Spring is in the air with flowers blooming. What to pack: The big blue sky is there and lunch al fresco is possible. But you’re still in trousers and a coat. Great for... Winter sun and those who want to get active. The coast is quieter but doesn't have an out-of-season vibe at all. If you want to hike the many mountainous routes, November to March is a great time to challenge yourself.
AprilTemperatures: There are days in April where it feels almost warm enough to sunbathe. Temperatures can reach 21°C and drop to an average of 11°C. Often April showers do put in an appearance. What to pack: Still pack layers and a mac is ideal for the chillier nights or the occasional rain shower. You'll find yourself pealing off the layers while sitting in the sun during lunch. Great for… Culture. April sees Easter celebrations all around Spain; these huge processions are particularly famous in southern Spain. It's one of the 'Andalucian' experiences.
MayTemperatures: The temperatures certainly reach sunbathing heat, but the sea is still a little chilly – although that doesn’t stop many going for a swim. The mountains haven’t been scorched by the summer sun yet, so they’re lush and green. May is very much like October with temperatures hovering around 24°C. What to pack: Time to wear summer dresses and shorts, but take a cover-up for the evenings. Great for… Culture vultures, early summer birders and botanists. May in Marbella is a riot of colour and a wonderful month to explore Malaga province as a whole. The beaches are quiet and the sights are still not at capacity. May marks the start of the summer season for the beach clubs as their opening parties are held during this month.
JuneTemperatures: Summer is here: June can see temperatures reach above 30°C and hit an average of 28°C. What to pack: Your best beach attire, swimwear and cooler than cool evening dress. It’s summer clothes from now on until October. Great for… Young families and empty-nesters. It’s hot but not too hot, so you’ll still have enough energy to do fun things, too. Pools and the sea can be enjoyed but earlier in the month they'll be chilly. San Juan is celebrated at the end of June with the longest day of the year. Coastal towns such as Marbella have parties on the beach and it’s the official start to the summer.
July & AugustTemperatures: When July and August hits it’s easy to see why the siesta exists. The heat can be punishing and the best place for anyone is in a pool or on the beach. Great for… Total rest and relaxation. If you’re wanting to flop and drop the height of summer is fabulous plus there’s nothing better than the feel of a Spanish town when the sun goes down in the summertime. If FOMO gets the better of you and you want to sight-see or be active, very early mornings are an absolute must.
SeptemberTemperatures: Average highs of 28°C mean that it's still beach and pool weather. The schools in Marbella tend to go back between the first and second week of September, so water parks close around this time but other theme parks stay open into the autumn. What to pack: Summer threads still. It’s hot. Great for… Families with preschool children. After the height of summer the residual heat flows into September and beach days, late nights and general summertime vibes still reign supreme.
OctoberTemperatures: Much like May the temperature drops in October to around 24°C. October often sees a bit of rain - not a lot, but there is rainfall. October is a great month for active tourism. You’d definitely want a villa with a heated pool from now until June. What to pack: Clothes-wise you’re likely to be out of the height of summer attire. Pack shorts and light trousers, as well as layers and a light jacket as the evenings can start to become chilly. Great for… Multi-gen families, golfers, hikers and culture vultures.
November & DecemberTemperatures: November sees average temperatures of 20°C, and December a little lower at 17°C. What to pack: Winter clothes and an umbrella. The sky will likely be blue but until midday it can feel cool. A light-weight jumper can be worn during the day especially if you’re lunching in the sun. The umbrella is just in case. Great for… Golfers, sightseers and northern Europeans who are wanting to escape the perma-grey. Still can't decide which month is perfect for you? Check out our When to Visit Andalucia post for more tips on what to do during each month. If you'd like to look for availability, our Marbella villa pages can help you. [post_title] => Marbella Weather [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => marbella-weather [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-06-21 17:22:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-06-21 17:22:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://theluxuryvillacollection.com/?p=177283 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 139603 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2020-12-11 09:50:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-12-11 09:50:40 [post_content] => Looking to get off the beaten track in Andalucia? We’ve scratched beneath the surface of this exciting, historic area of Spain, asked local experts and come up with a list of little-known things to see and do for our guide to hidden Andalucia...
If the bird's eye view of the inside of the cathedral looks spectacular, then to cap it off you emerge outside with 360-degree rooftop views of Malaga. [email protected]
Visit Malaga Cathedral's Roof
The top tip of Lindsay Gregory, Director of The Luxury Villa Collection: “Stroll around Malaga historic centre, take a hammam at Mammam Al Andalus and finish with cocktails at a rooftop bar.” https://malaga.hammamalandalus.com/en/
RELAX IN A HAMMAM
A rather lovely town with a Moorish fortress complex and no fewer than 30 churches. Don’t miss having tapas in the impressive Plaza de los Escribanos.
Meander in Antequera
Just outside Antequera, these are some of the largest and most complete megalithic structures in Europe. Museosdeandalucia.es
Visit Three 5000-year-old Dolmens
The ruins of a 9th-century church carved out of rock are the highlights of a larger fortified town complex. Anything 9th century and still standing is incredible in our books.
Wonder at a 9TH Century Church – Bobastro
A house with a garden in the Albayzin (the oldest part of Granada city) is known as a Carmen. These Carmens look out towards the Alhambra Palace, often have wooden balconies, plant-filled patios, babbling water features and decorative tiles.
Nose Around the Carmens of Granada's Albayzin
This 17th-century abbey and college comes complete with holy caves/ancient catacombs. The view of Granada alone is worth the walk.
Visit the Abbey of Sacromonte, Granada
This village has stately houses gripping onto the edge of a gorge, cobbled streets and spa credentials. Our top tip is to escape the summer heat in Granada and visit Alhama – it has a unique microclimate where summer nights cool to a comfortable level.
Take a day trip to Alhama de Granada and its Natural Hot Springs
Once part of several fortifications, the castle that sits on this tiny island dates back to the 13th century.
Find Out the Mysteries of the Island of Sancti Petri, San Fernando, Cadiz
This pristine white village, sitting high on a rocky hilltop, really comes into its own at sunrise and dusk. Aside from the dramatic light, there are lovely boutique shops, great restaurants and, during the summer, look out for their candlelight festival.
Experience the Beautiful Light in Vejer de la Frontera
While it's got a great beach with some decent Atlantic surf, it’s the laidback-hip bar vibe in El Palmar that makes it stand out from other stretches of southern Spain's coast.
Surf and Sip in El Palmar
David, chef at De Tako's top tip is, “One of the best ways to experience a country is through its food and an even better way is to enjoy perfectly cooked food is in an incredible setting surrounded by friends". We entirely agree – hire a private chef at your villa for the ultimate in convenience.
HIRE A Private Chef
One of our top hidden foodie treats in Andalucia is delicious Retinto beef from Cadiz. Much is spoken about fried fish, olives and olive oil, jamón ibérico and Sherry but this meaty option is also a real gastro-standout.
Taste Riotinto Beef
Hire a boat and hit the sea - you’ll almost inevitably come across a pod of dolphins in the Mediterranean.
Take to the Sea – Dolphin Watch
This forgotten about 12th-century arched gateway and wall was the main entrance into Seville, and is certainly off the beaten path.
Puerta de Macarena/Walls of Seville
You'll never have experienced a bar like Garlochí, a homage to Easter in Spain. All year round there's incense burning and procession music playing – they call it the cathedral of bars. Don’t miss their signature cocktail: Grenadine, whisky and Cava.
Drink at a Bar Dedicated to Easter in Sevilla
There’s a succession of beautiful waterfalls running over some interesting limestone formations in Sierra Norte de Sevilla Nature Park.
Wild Swimming at Cascadas de Hueznar in Seville Province
Fiona Flores Watson, Telegraph Travel Writer and Seville resident recommends: “The summer outdoor concerts held in the Alcazar Palace… a magical setting for live jazz, flamenco or classical music by moonlight.” Alcazarsevilla.org
SEE LIVE MUSIC IN THE ALCAZAR PALACE
The castle of Castillo de Almodovar del Rio was built in 740. You can join theatrical tours, do some medieval combat training or spooky storytelling. Castillodealmodovar.com
Visit Highgarden, the Tyrell’s House in Game of Thrones
Manni Coe of Toma & Coe Tours' top tip is: “One of the most consistently excellent restaurants I know in Andalucia is located on a little-known street, in the little-known town of Lucena. It's called Tres Culturas and it's also a handy stop off en-route to Cordoba." Tresculturasrestaurante.com
TRAVEL TO EAT AT TRES CULTURAS
In the Sierra de Cazorla natural park this castle was built at the start of the 16th century. A beautiful monument in an even more beautiful part of the world.
Marvel at the Castle of Iruela, Jaen
The colours of autumn over the vast landscape of rural Huelva is the perfect way to disconnect. Local people flock here to experience the change of the season.
Reconnect with Nature and See Autumn in Aracena
This breath-taking beach near the charming village of San Jose feels like another world.
Genoveses beacH in Cabo de Gata, Almeria
A bit of a cheat but do a tour…
Our top 5 are: Most unusual is in Segura de la Sierra in Jaen province: this square bullring is the old courtyard of a castle and was built in the 18th century. Ronda bullring is the second oldest and the biggest. Seville bullring is the oldest; Antequera's is famed for appearing in Madonna’s Take a Bow video; Mijas has spectacular views and is simply charming. Archidona usually erects a bullring inside its eight-sided main square during the summer season. Like this and want to know more about visiting southern Spain? Check out our 50 things to do in Andalucia and our guide to the five best cities to visit in Andalucia [post_title] => Hidden Andalucia [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => hidden-andalucia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-01-31 15:25:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-01-31 15:25:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://theluxuryvillacollection.com/?p=139603 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) 1
See Andalucia through its Bullrings