Axarquia, Costa del Sol, Andalucia, Spain
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Bars in Axarquia


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Restaurants in Axarquia


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Tapas Trails

Tapas Trails

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Wine Glossary

Spanish wine regions

Wine Regions

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Local Variations Breakfast Lunch
Dinner Tapas Drinks - Alcoholic Drinks - Non-alcoholic
Olive oil

Andalucia's cooking is typically Mediterranean in its liberal use of olive oil, garlic, onions, tomatos and peppers. Traditionally, a simple peasant fare based on fresh ingredients with a hint of herbs and spices with influences from Roman, Jewish, New World and Arabic cuisines - the latter being the most distinctive.

Local variations
The varied local cuisine reflects the geographical diversity of the region. In the mountains hams are cured and game dishes are common, whilst on the coast seafood predominates. However, seafood and meat are eaten almost everywhere. Soaked dried beans are often added to meat stews. The most common method with seafood is to quickly deep-fry in very hot olive oil. Other fish and seafood are grilled a la plancha. Seafood soups (sopa de mariscos) are found everywhere, vary in recipe, and are usually extremely delicious.

Fresh veg
The fruit and vegetables are fresh and good as the growing season is year round.

The Spanish eating timetable is at its most extreme in Andalucia. A light breakfast (desayuno) starts the day and usually consists of coffee and a toasted roll (tostada). An infinate variety of toppings can be had on the tostada - olive oil, pork lard, crushed tomato, bacon, grilled pork, tortilla, cheese, butter or jam. Churros are also eaten for breakfast - long, deep-fried doughnuts that are dipped in thick hot chocolate.
From Little Acorns to Great Hams
In the bars here you'll often see dozens of pig's legs hanging from the ceiling. Try two or three slices as a tapa, maybe with a hard cheese such as Manchego. Most of the hams are jamon serrano (mountain ham) and better is jamon iberico from the black or brown Iberian breed of pig. The best of these is jamon iberico de bellota from pigs fed on acorns. The best of the best are the hams from Trevelez in the Alpujarras and those from Jabugo in Huelva province from pigs free-ranging in the Sierra Morena oak forests. Jabugo hams are graded from one to five jotas (Js), with 5J hams made from pigs that have only ever eaten acorns.
Lunch (known as comida or almuerzo) is normally the main meal of the day, taken between 13.30h and 16.00h. It can consist of several courses including soup or a salad, meat or fish with vegetables, followed by fruit, ice cream or flan. Most restaurants provide a menu of the day as well as a la carte.

The evening meal (cena) tends to be lighter than lunch and may be eaten as late as 22.00h or 23.00h. People may go out to a larger dinner in restaurants but its unusual to see Spaniards eating out before 21.00h. There is a huge diversity of restaurants all along the coast (a glance at our restaurant index will show the variety of cuisine available). As with most bars they will often stay open until there are no more customers. We have been into, and served at, restaurants at 3.00h in the morning!

In between times it is common to have tapas, a mini sized snack that comes in many varieties. These are usually displayed in bar-top counters or as a chalk list on a board. Often it is possible to have a racion of tapas which is a full sized meal or a media-racion which is a half-sized meal. It is good fun to explore the enourmous variety of tapas. Just some of the meat specialities here are chorizo (a marbled salami-type sausage), cinto (cured pork loin stuffed in a sausage skin), higado (liver)and albondigas (meatballs). For seafood try conchas finas (Venus shell, the largest of the clams), langostinos (striped jumbo prawns), boquerones (anchovies), mejillones (mussels) and gambas al pil-pil (prawns cooked in oil with garlic and chilli). Salads are also served as tapas and include pipirrana (based on diced tomatoes and red peppers), salpicon (mixed with seafood) and ensaladilla (Russian salad).

Alcoholic drinks:
Spain has long been famous for its numerous good wines. If you haven't tried them yet you will not be disappointed. One of the best known brands is the bodegas Torres who also make a good brandy. The wines from the Rioja, Valdepeñas, Penedes or La Mancha regions are all good choices. Don't overlook the wonderful champagne-like Cava wines such as Freixenet and Codorniu.

The most common way to order a beer is to ask for a tubo - about 300ml which comes in a straight glass. If you ask for a beer (cerveza) you will probably get a small bottle. San Miguel and Cruzcampo are both decent Andalucian beers. A clara is a shandy - beer mixed with lemonade or Casera (a local calorie-free fizzy mineral).

Local wine
Almost every village makes their own blend of wine. An acquired taste, but nevertheless very palatable, but be warned they are mighty potent. The better known in Axarquia are from Frigiliana and Competa, and taste similar to sherry.

Probably the best known drink of Spain. Traditionally made from a cocktail of red wine, brandy, lemonade and diced apple and oranges and ice. My own favourite is made with peaches. Most bars concoct their own formula and what at first might seem like a gentley alcoholic fruit drink can make you wobble after a jug of two. Years ago I came to Spain with my pregnant best friend who only drank milk in the mornings and sangria for the rest of the day believing this was a healthy option for her unborn son. When, on the last day of our holiday, a bar-keeper eventually confided the ingredients we were astounded at the number of spirits she had been sloshing back.

Tinto de verano
Summer Red is made from red wine, ice and Casera. It is very popular with the Spaniards as a thirst quenching drink on a hot day.

Sherry & Manzanilla
Andalucía is the home of good sherry which is produced nowhere else in Spain - the best known are made in the province of Cadiz around the city of Jerez. The main distinction in sherry is between fino (dry and straw-coloured with an alcoholic content around 15%), brilliant with tapas, and oloroso (sweet and dark with an alcoholic content of 18%). Combined with a sweet wine, oloroso results in a cream sherry. An amontillado is an amber, moderately dry fino with a nutty flavour and a higher alcoholic content. A manzanilla is a camomile-coloured, unfortified fino with a delicate flavour - great with seafood.

Spain produces many liqueurs (licores) which, after a meal in a restaurant, you may be offered 'on the house'. Generally served in a small glass, the most common being Pacharan (a red liquer made with aniseed and sloes), a favourite brand being Zoco, melocoton (peach) and Quarenta Tres (43).

Coñac (Spanish brandy) is popular and cheap. Mostly made in Andalucia in the sherry regions but also in Malaga and Cordoba.The famous Larios gin, very good, is also made in Malaga. Bacardi rum is produced in Malaga and Motril which are the only areas in Europe that grow sugar cane.

Non-alcoholic drinks:
Coffee in Axarquia is officially served in more than 20 different ways! Cafe con leche is about half water, half hot milk. Ask for grande or doble if you want a large cup, sombra if you want lots of milk, cafe solo for a short black or cafe cortado for a short black with a little milk.

Tea is invariably weak. Ask for milk to be separate (leche aparte) or you'll end up with a cup of milky water with a teabag thrown in.

Orange juice (zumo de naranja) made from freshly squeezed fruit is readily available and delicious.

For tap Water (agua) in restaurants ask for agua de grifo. Bottled water (agua mineral) comes in numerous brands, either fizzy (con gas) or still (sin gas).

Batidos are a flavoured milk drink or shake. Horchata is made from tiger nuts (chufa), sugar and water and tastes like soya milk with a hint of cinnamon. A good brand is Chufi.
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