Tapas in Malaga: order like a pro!

When you go out for tapas in Malaga, how do you know what everything is? How can you order when you don’t know what the names are? We want you to order like a pro by knowing the most traditional tapas in Malaga.  Continue Reading →

The best fish in Malaga

If you want to taste the best fish in Malaga, you don’t have to spend much in fancy restaurants. We’ll show you how the locals do it to get the best fish and enjoy nice views in the process.

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Learn some history and work your appetite at Atarazanas (Market Hall)

The Malaga Atarazanas (Market Hall) is located in an old shipyard dating back to the 14th Century. It was built in Moorish Nasrid times, and construction began in 1354. The building itself is a great visit because of its history and architecture. The stalls inside, will make your mouth water… guaranteed! Continue Reading →

How to make (the perfect) Sangria

How to make (the perfect) Sangria

Many of you may not know this, but sangria is not a very popular drink in Spain. It is a staple drink that has been relegated to the past, and in current times not too many people have it. It’s one of those drinks that was present in all family gatherings when we were kids, but now is only ordered by tourists visiting Spain and wanting to get the “authentic” experience.

Now, many young chefs and cocktail gurus are trying to bring back sangria and are re-inventing the drink in order to make it appealing for younger generations.

We present you here with 2 sangria recipes to make at home and earn bragging rights. First, the recipe for a perfect traditional sangria, and a more modern one with a twist. So make them both and decide for yourself which one’s better. You can even change it up a bit, to make it more to your taste. The important thing is to keep the tradition alive and have fun in the process. 😉

(The perfect) Sangria

Red wine

Use only a good quality young wine like tempranillo or crianza

When making sangria – as with recipes for almost everything else – try  to use the best possible ingredients. Don’t use cheap red wine or canned fruit, or you’ll end up with a terrible, ready-made-flavoured sangria. The wine should be a young wine, like tempranillo or crianza, to avoid the astringence that older wines have.

It’s also very important to leave your wine resting with the fruit for plenty of time, so flavors develop properly. If you don’t wait long enough, you’ll end up with fruit that tastes like wine and not the other way around, which is the ultimate goal when sangria making.

Oranges for sangria

Oranges will make your sangria delicious and are a great garnish

Original Sangria Recipe

Ingredients:

1 litre good quality red wine (rioja works well)

330 ml of gaseosa sweet sparkling water (may substitute with Sprite)

100 ml of Cointreau or Triple Sec

1 peach

1 apricot

1 nectarine

2 lemons (the juice)

1 orange (for garnish)

2 tbsp of sugar

Lots of ice

 

Directions:

First start by peeling all the fruit except for the nectarines and dice it. Mix in a pitcher with the wine, sugar, lemon juice and liqueur. Let it rest for a couple of hours in a cool place, but not in the refrigerator. Add the gaseosa or sprite, the ice and a few slices of orange and serve.

Plenty ice is needed for sangria

Plenty of ice is needed for a great sangria

Sangria with a twist

Ingredients:

1 ½ litres red wine

1 lemon (cut in half and sliced)

180 grs frozen strawberries

4 oranges

2 cinnamon sticks

70 gr sugar

2 branches of fresh rosemary

Water

 

Directions:

Frist, place in a plastic container the frozen strawberries and sprinkle the sugar on top. Then, pour in the juice of 3 oranges, it should almost completely cover the strawberries. If it doesn’t, add water to complete. The sweet strawberry-infused water is going to add that extra flavour to our sangria. Cut the remaining orange in slices and put on top of the strawberries, add 2 crushed cinnamon sticks, the rosemary and cover. Let sit for 3 to 4 hours, until the strawberries have completely thawed and flavors marinated well.
Then, strain the liquid in a pitcher, add the slices of pitted lemon, the wine and lots of crushed ice. Serve and enjoy!

Vegetarian restaurants in Malaga

In these vegetarian restaurants from Malaga you will find from fruit smoothies, to Arabic desserts, to adaptations of typical Spanish dishes. All in convenient locations close to the city center and with a great atmosphere.

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How to buy cured ham: Get your money’s worth

So you’ve come to Malaga for holidays and you want to buy cured ham to take back home as gifts or just to treat yourself. But when you get to the supermarket or the butcher, you realize there are so many options and price ranges, that you find yourself lost and overwhelmed.

Cured ham cut in thin slices

Cured ham is better cut in thin slices by hand

I won’t tell you which one is better, since everyone’s taste is different. But since producers and marketers are so creative at making a product sound (or look) like something it is not, I can tell you what to look for when buying Jamón so you know exactly what you are paying for.

Jamón Ibérico de Bellota (Acorn-fed Iberian Ham)

This is the best and most expensive of the cured hams produced in Spain, with prices going well over 80€ per kilo. Now every package of cured ham claims that their product is Iberian, or mention Bellota (acorn) in color, but how exactly do you know these claims are true?

Let’s start by saying that Iberian ham is a breed of pigs from the iberian peninsula that is most recognizable by having black paws. So, just by being Iberian, a ham isn’t necessarily good. The same happens with acorn: the best hams come from pigs that are free-range, acorn-fed (bellota), others are fed a mix of grains in free-range (cebo extensivo), and others grains in a reduced, intensive weight-gaining matter (cebo intensivo).

Free range pigs fed with acorn

Free-range pigs exercise, so fat distributes better

Now when looking at Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, you have to read the package to see how much (or how little) that pig has been fed acorn, because undoubtedly, this will determine quality… and price.

How can we distinguish good Jamón from bad Jamón

First of all, good jamón ibérico comes from the areas of Salamanca, Extremadura, Huelva, Cordoba and the north of Seville. If someone is trying to sell you good expensive jamón, and the label doesn’t say it comes from one of those areas, walk away.

Good cured ham has thin strings of intra muscular fat

Acorn-fed jamón has lots of very fine intramuscular fat

Second, all whole hams have a color-coded label indicating, purity of race and what they were fed. I recommend you buy these as you can see this label. If you’re getting your ham from a well-respected butcher, they will cut/slice as much ham as you want and then vacuum-seal it for better transportation and storing.

A piece of Jamón with black label means that it comes from 100% Iberian pig and acorn fed. The red label means that the pig has at least 50%-75% purity of race and is free-range acorn-fed. Green label means that the pig has been fed grains, but in fields, therefore, it has had some exercise and intramuscular fat. Lastly, you will find white label, which means the pig has been fed grains in an intensive manner, without ever seeing a field or an acorn. Evidently this is the most common and cheapest ham, and it doesn’t mean that it is bad, but you better know your facts before heading to the store and spending a big chunk of money on a ham that might not be to your expectations.

Difference between Jamón and Paletilla or Paleta

Paleta or paletilla is the front leg of the pig. This piece has a different distribution of the fat. It also needs less time to cure as it is smaller, therefore flavors don’t develop as much as in ham. The jamón you buy has to have deep colors in the flesh, and small threads of fat. It should also have small white spots, this is crystalized salt which indicates a longer curation period.

Difference between good and bad cured ham

Grain fed jamón has little intramuscular fat

Since fat is what gives flavor to jamón, you want to see lots of it in small quantities in the flesh as opposed to big lines of fat between muscle. This is what jamón from grain-raised pigs would look like. Also, if you are given a slice to try jamón, test to see if the fat melts between your fingers, like chocolate would. That is what happens with fat from acorn-fed pigs. The fat from lesser quality jamón, will leave your fingers greasy, but will stay more intact.

 

Once you get back home and want to eat your jamón ibérico and indulge, remember to eat it at room temperature. If you bought it vacuum-sealed, you don’t even have to store it in your fridge, a dark, dry pantry will do just fine.

Malaga’s gastronomy: evolution or revolution?

Up until recently the city of Malaga was somewhere you had to look up on the map to get an idea of where it even was. It was merely a pit-stop on the way to the lazy Costa del Sol beaches. And to be perfectly fair, it was not exactly known as a Michelin-star destination. Continue Reading →

Ruta de las Tapas of Malaga, 2016

The famous tapas route of Malaga returns this November

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Ruta de las Tapas Memorables, Malaga 2016

Tapas route in Malaga from the 3rd to the 13th of November 2016 Continue Reading →

The 6 best Chiringuitos in Malaga

These are the basic characteristics of the beautiful lifestyle on the Malaga coast. The “Chiringuitos” are bars or restaurants on the beach.

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