Food and drink in Andalucia is a subject central to the enjoyment of most. We are provided for abundantly with sun swollen tomatoes, freshly pressed olive oil, oranges so juicy they barely need squeezing and all that the sea has to offer. Never has a simple tomato salad with garlic and parsley tasted so good; nor a sardine brushed with salt and grilled on the beach been so flavoursome.
Paella is a must for a leisurely lunch. Locals will bicker over the lightly burnt crust on the bottom believing it to be the best bit. The cooking of paella is considered an art and huge dishes are often prepared during celebrations and parties for all to share. In the many restaurants of Andalucia paella is cooked very well with a delicious mix of rice, game and seafood.
Queues of hungry people often build up outside the best seafood bars. Inside and out rustic tables are laid with paper and generous dishes of fish, shellfish and salads are shared between loud conversations and bursts of laughter. Delicious juices are sopped up with bread and everyone will clamour to pay the bill that will leave no sizeable hole in any pocket.
Finding a tapas bar that serves a wide selection of dishes can be tricky. Hunt around and you can sample such treats as squid cooked in its own ink, bean stew with all kinds of extra ingredients and any number of dishes based on garlic, tomatoes and peppers. Not to be ignored are platters of cured Spanish ham, sausage and triangles of tasty cheese.
In summertime refresh your palate with a starter of cold gazpacho soup, in winter get wholesome comfort from a lentil broth. Before noon or at the fair share churros dipped in sugar or melted chocolate sauce. At Christmas try turron and truffles, at Halloween pumpkins and pomegranates and eat ice cream at any time of the year.
Enjoy sherry from Jerez, sample one of Malaga's fine sweet wines, try rioja, white rioja, sangria and if you are lucky enough to find it, white sangria. End your meal with pacheran or herb liquor. If you fancy a cocktail a mojito always slips down well.