Almería preserves the gastronomic nobility that gives it the jewels of a pantry with capital letters. How can we not do it when we have so much and so good at hand? A unique climate and terrain that make up a unique territory. Without forgetting its more than two hundred kilometres of coastline, which divides the Cabo de Gata into two and which provides the menus for both locals and strangers of a submerged pantry that overflows with excellence.
Many of these products are of artisan origin and give substance to their traditional recipes. It is a cuisine close-ly related to the sea, but also the mountains. Almería writes the greatness of its gastronomy with its Garrucha prawns, cuajaderas, chacinas, “pinch bread” (pan de pel-lizco), Desert oil, Alpujarra wines, sweets, and fruit trees. Almeria has it all and more.
Perhaps that’s why the Spanish Gastronomic Capital is also Europe’s pantry. Under its over 29,000 hectares of greenhouses, the so-called “Plastic Sea,” is the largest vegetable and fruit orchard on the continent. The gen-erous sunshine of this province, combined with crops in which nothing is left to chance, result in several harvests a year. A good part of the harvested fruits are organic and ecological, and they surprise our palates with enormous-ly powerful flavors. What else is there to say about the raf tomatoraf, the cucumber or the pepper?
From the Plastic Sea to the Mediterranean, Almeria prides itself on an unparalleled culinary range. The best of land and sea at your table. In Almería’s five fish markets, you can find high-quality products such as red shrimp, squid, cuttlefish, octopus, red mullet and sardine. Moreover, one cannot overlook the quality of their canned foods and salted fish such as bonito and mackerel, dried octopus and pickles. Alternatively, the cold meats, Serón ham, cheeses, Segureño lamb, bread, wine, and pastries make for a perfect match for any meal.
Almeria’s cookbook maintains its seal in the face of the onslaught of globalization. Everything here tastes how it is supposed to taste. When visiting Almeria – over 30,000 foodie tourists are expected – one has to go through the reverent tasting of its most celebrated dishes. For example, the burnt broth, with fish and dry pepper. Also the pot of wheat or the rice with ancho-vies, the migas, the esparragás chard or the famous gurullos, an artisan pasta dressed with rabbit or hare and snails or with octopus and cuttlefish. In Almería tapas are not just anything, and the reason for their fame is well worth discovering. They have such deep roots, and quality tapas were declared of Tourist In-terest by the Junta de Andalucía.
Queens of the seas
The Almeria fish markets are outrageous. The seafood quality that arrives at port leaves everyone amazed. Whether it’s white shrimp, quisquilla (shrimp), lobster or crayfish… everything is a delicacy! Ah, but it is the red shrimp, so typical of the eastern part of the province, that will leave you truly speechless! Moreover, to think that in a not so distant past that almost seems like a joke, it had no ma-jor prestige, relegated to the kitchens of the humble folk who had to solace their hardships with this marvel. Today the red shrimp is a star product, pampered by the best chefs, who make good use of this crustacean’s virtues.
Grilled and seasoned with care, the red shrimp of Almeria is unbeatable. So much so that people have enthusiastically given it its most fervent favor. It holds 24.4% of the to-tal amount of seafood and fish sales in Lonja. Why? Because it is exquisite and bigger than the rest. A symbol of Almeria.
Raf tomato, flagship of Almería
The raf tomato has set its foothold on the tables of the best restaurants. It is of a whimsical nature, with a short and demanding yield like few others… However, the final result is glorious! The limited production of raf reaches higher prices which, in fairness, are proportional to its costs and quality. When raf was not so in demand, its production almost died out on these lands, but it rose from the ashes to give the world a lesson on second chances.
To know if we are in the presence of a real raf, the top-notch category, we have to keep in mind that it is irregular in shape, with many grooves, high shoulders around the stem and dark green at the top. After cutting it, we find thick meat, few seeds, a hearty aroma and sweet taste with a slightly acidic touch.
Whoever has tried this delicacy recognizes the characteristic texture and its exclusive balance between acid and sweet. This miracle can only be typical of Almeria. No other land has such hours of sunshine, saline water, and wisdom so typical of the farmers of Almería.
Parador of Mojácar
The Parador can’t be in a better location. Its bright and cozy rooms are an undeniable invi-tation to contemplate the Mediterranean sun-sets. Not in vain is it situated alongside the quiet beaches of the town. Among the comforts, de-signed to provide the most pleasant stay, are its outdoor swimming pool, massage rooms and jacuzzi and gym with sauna. Heaven on earth. It is an ideal destination for the whole family.
In the year of the Gastronomic Capital, the Parador surprises with activities and special dishes, such as the so-called “Entremeses de la Capitalidad Española de la Gastronomía Alm-ería 2019”. They consist of “small dishes” -five cold, six hot ones and a dessert tasting-, sub-jected to changes due to the seasonal nature of local products.
During Easter, the Parador will serve a wel-come appetizer made from local raw materials. We are talking about tomatoes, cheeses, cold meats, chacinas, extra virgin olive oil of genu-ine quality. During the Night of San Juan, we will celebrate a wine-pairing dinner with Cepa Bosquet, a unique Alpujarra wine. Also, starting in September, specialized tastings of Almeria products, under the wise guid.
© Editorial MIC