ENJOYING TAPAS IN GRANADA
The visit to Granada is not complete without trying “tapeo granadino” in taverns and bars. The tapas are served free in all the province’s bars to wash down a glass of wine or a beer. They are a tasty symbol of Granada, stimulating the senses and get immediately carved in the visitors memory.
In this particular gastronomy exhibition the tapa is normally chosen by the barman and the customer respectfully accepts his choice. To go out to have tapas with your friends is one of the most popular and ingrained customs in the city. .
The suggestion is absolutely attractive for all the senses: to stroll along the old city center admiring living history while having something to drink and to eat in picturesque places. From pieces of cheese, cold meats or cured ham to hot local dishes of Granada: migas con tropezones, callos, habas con jamón, papas a lo pobre, and so on.
Notice that the “tapeo granadino” is not only a tradition in the city but also in the whole province. One can enjoy tapas everywhere in Granada, having the chance to discover the specialities and varieties from each town or village, which are guaranteed to surprise even the most refined tastes.
Undoubtedly the star of pork products in the province of Granada is Trevélez Ham, recognized with P.G.I.
The Zalabí Valley, in the Guadix and Marquesado area, is the breeding ground for some of the finest pigs in the province, which provides cold meats as ingredients for the tortas de pringue or the olla matancera.
Quite near the city, in Monachil and Huétor Vega, there are a lot of restaurants specialising in traditional cuisine, and famous because of the quality and variety of their cold meats, which are consumed by many people on weekends in Granada.
COSTA TROPICAL FISH AND SEAFOOD
The tropical Coast has plenty of good fish. Shrimps, crawfishes and white prawns from Motril are exceptional and they only need a minute on the grill before eating. Grilled red snapper, gilthead and sea bass covered with salt are very tastey.
A pleasure to discover are lesser known fish, such as forkbeard, rosefish, congereel, scorpion fish, muraena and rays. The latter is the highlight of dishes like Motril’s raya guisada and Salobreña’s raya al limón.
Local cuisine owes much to the rich harvest of fish and seafood provided by coastal Granada areas. If you go to the coast, you cannot leave without trying the popular arroz marinero with crawfish, clams and prawns; the moraga of sardines, clasical form Motril cousine; or the espetos of sardines, roasted sardines on wooden skewers, a local speciality requiring a certain amount of expertise to prepare. When the skewer has been introduced at one end and stripped of splinters, it has to be inserted beneath the sardine’s bones, so that the roast meat will not flake away.
The fair climate of the coast of Granada, with its mild temperatures and scarce rainfall, makes the district a veritable Mediterranean tropical island. Although the first tropical trees were brought in the 16th century, they were not grown as a food crop, however, until the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Of the tropical fruits the cherimoya stands out. The cherimoya, grown on the Costa Tropical, shares its Denomination of Origin with the Malaga coast. But we cannot forget the mango, medlar, guava and avocado plantations, which flourish in the region and are used to make dishes full of fantasy, such as roast chicken with avocado leaves, the refreshing mango and prawn salad and the surprising cherimoya ice cream with blueberry syrup.
The establishment of the Subtropical Fruit Board has promoted the research and development of new fruit varieties. To this end, the institution set up the experimental “El Zahorí” centre, where different varieties of cherimoya, avocado, mango and lychee are grown and studied.
Honey, sugar, almonds and spices are the essential ingredients of desserts in Granada, desserts inherited from the Moors.
Paradoxically, the sweets made by nuns in cloistered convents are even more renowned. There are as many specialities as orders and convents. It is worth visiting Santa Fe just for the little Pionono sweets, named after Pope Pius IX. The moles eggs of the San Antón nuns or the almond tortas of the Tomasas order will delight your taste buds. You won’t want to miss the delicious syrup cakes made by the Comendadoras of Santiago and at the Monasterio de San jerónimo the cocas yemadas of San Bernardo del Císter; nor should you miss trying the Santa Catalina “saint’s bones”, and the hojarasca biscuit of Santa Isabel la Real, among other delights.
What is left over from Christmas is used to prepare the sweet carnival cuajada, displayed on ceramic plates of Fajalauza, and to celebrate the Virgen de las Angustias Festivity in September, where families eat large tortas or cakes filled with cream and other delicacies.
The Jewish influence can be seen in Granada´s pastries, too. Dry grape cakes, fried hojuelas or syrup mixed with honey and sugar were originally prepared in aljamas. Many of these recipes of the sefardic, mozarabic and mudejar communities were passed on to the Christian community.
The Tropical Coast was one of the choice locations in which the Moors introduced sugar cane in the 8th century. What is clear in its pastry making is that it was clearly a Moorish inheritance. Some of the different traditional products in this area are the Torta Real of Motril, made of cake, almonds and meringue; the San Juan’s Cazuela, with very spicy pumpkin; the Al-Hajú Torta, less popular; the Cazuela Mohína of Almuñécar; or the pestiños of Vélez de Benaudalla.
PICTURES AND TEXTS DONATED BY “PATRONATO PROVINCIAL DE TURISMO DE GRANADA”.