For many, the “taste of Málaga” would be something akin to espeto (barbecued sardines), extra virgin olive oil, almonds, or a sweet dessert wine, for these are the region’s most famed exports. However, there are many less conventional flavours and curious gastronomical concoctions you may not be aware of – 7 of which we have hand-picked for you below…
In at number 1 is a slimy-sounding delicacy which was first produced by the Swiss chef Alain Jubin in his Andalusian wife’s hometown of Cuevas del Becerro, which lies 20km northeast of Ronda. This intriguing gastropod spread is made using Helix Muller snails and, at just 5 or 6 euros per pot, it might just be worth satisfying your curiosity…
Next up is flavoured gin. Seeing as the spirit is once again a fashionable tipple, gin producers all over the world have attempted to add an extra dimension to its appeal and prolong its renaissance. One such example is Ballix, a “premium” gin with an unmistakable mango flavour, which is sold in the Vélez-Málaga area.
The purple carrot, or zanahoria morá, was first propagated by Moorish settlers several centuries ago and, still enjoying huge cultivation in northern Málaga province, is one of the most prevalent tubers across the entire Iberian Peninsula. Many products have been derived from this variety of carrot, including gin, beer and preserves. A company called Esali Alimentación – originally based in Cuevas Bajas and now in Antequera – is a key exponent of its versatility and produces its own purple carrot balsamic vinegar.
Prickly pear schnapps
Prickly pear liqueur, or aguardiente de chumbo, is an homage to the mythical ojén liqueur first distilled in 1830 in the town of the same name just outside Marbella. Made using the fruit of the cactus plant and produced using traditional methods, the prickly pear schnapps has seen a decline in production in recent years due to a cochineal plague damaging cactus leaves, although it can still be found on the shelves of gourmet establishments.
Any foodie worth their salt will tell you that provoleta cheese is of Argentinian origin, however the Hormigo family in Coín have spent years perfecting a wide variety of dairy recipes using goat’s milk sourced right here in Málaga, of which fresh provoleta cheese is one.
Yes, Málaga’s goats get on the list again! This time, it’s their meat that is of interest… pork cold cuts like salchichón and chorizo are a household name all over Spain due to the meticulous rearing of Iberian pigs and unique seasoning, smoking and curing; but the Spanish Association of Málaga Goat Breeders – yes, it really exists – in the village of Casabermeja have dared to do the same with local caprine meat.
Coming full circle, snail eggs – or “white pearls of Andalucía”, as they are affectionately called – are one of Málaga’s most exclusive delicacies. They are produced from the eggs of the Helix Aspersa snail and are sold and distributed by one company in Villanueva del Trabuco, situated 50km northeast of the regional capital, as a genuine caviar substitute.
If none of these sound enticing, remember you will always be able to find a hearty slice of Spanish omelette and some patatas bravas in any traditional bar, so don’t worry about going hungry! Check out our Spanish cuisine page for more tasty Spanish dishes!