As a native of coastal Spain, co-founder of Cúrate Trips, and a true Spain aficionado, Felix Meana knows a few things about Andalusia. In his mind, there are 5 (almost 6) topics that guests should understand, plan around and look for in travel itineraries.
Of course, these are all covered (plus more!) in the Curate Trip to Andalusia, led by our friends and experts Valeska and Fernando at Paladar y Tomar.
At the top of the list, and probably the most well known, is Seville or Sevilla. When Felix thinks about Andalusia, he thinks about a version of Spain that is stopped in time. There’s no better place to experience this feeling than in Seville. With influences from the Spanish, Romans and Moors, and Jews, the city center is bursting with history and interesting architecture. Seville, and surrounding southern Spain, is known for warmer weather, and sometimes a slower pace of life. Meana likens this to the southern United States. The city is located along the Gualdalquivir River, and is often referred to as the most beautiful cities in Spain.
Stroll the Plaza de Espana, tour the Catedral, or visit the Alcazar (castle) of Seville - it’s still in use by the Spanish royal family!
Proximity and Connection to N. Africa
With the tip of southern Spain reaching to the strait of Gibraltar, the proximity of Andalusia to North Africa is a major influence on the history of the area. According to Felix, the best place to experience this is Cordoba, the old capital of the Al-Andalus. Over time, the passage of cultures across this city shaped it into the exciting, exotic, multi-cultural locale that it is today. As Curate Trips notes, Cordoba is the only city to have four UNESCO-protected historic sites: The Great Mosque of Cordoba, Cordoba’s City Center, Medina Azahara, and the Festival of the Courtyards which happens in May.
The Sherry Triangle
The Sherry Triangle, composed of Puerto de Santa María, Jerez, and Sanlúcar de Barrameda is a must-visit destination, according to Meana. Sherry is a completely unique style of wine-making, starting with the science behind the soil. White, lime-rich Albariza soil is low in organic matter, and too poor of soil for more standard agricultural applications. However, the three varietals of Sherry grapes grow well: Palomino, Moscatel and Pedro Ximenez. Perhaps the most interesting departure from typical wine making that can only be experienced in the Sherry Triangle of southern Spain is the solera, a system composed of a series of casks that hold wine of different ages, blending them progressively to reach different sherry type and flavor profiles.
The Best Jamón in the World
As witnessed on the Cúrate Trip to Andalusia, the world’s finest ham awaits you in Jabugo, in the heart of Sierra de Aracena Natural Park and Picos de Aroche, a UNESCO-protected Biosphere Reserve. It’s here where the black-footed, 100% Iberico pigs roam through the dehesa, munching on acorns that lend a signature nuttiness to every bite of jamón. For those who truly want to experience Andalusia, a visit to one of these world-renowned producers is a must!
At Cúrate, Cinco Jotas is the producer of all of the whole jamón we purchase, you can also find the fresh pork from the Iberico pigs on the menu! Tours of Cinco Jotas are exclusively granted to travelers affiliated with Cúrate!
Unmatched Access to Seafood
Perhaps most impressive and delicious, is the wealth of seafood that Andalusia infuses into the market from the confluence of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Felix particularly highlights the diversity in the number of shrimp and prawns, the impressive bluefin tuna, and the freshness of the anchovies and sardines, staples in the Andalusian diet. Meana recommends a visit to Cadiz to witness this beauty and freshness of Andalusian seafood first hand.
Andalusian Olive Oil
The sixth highlight, and perhaps the most precious, according to Meana, is the treasure of Andalusian olive oil. Right there with Spanish jamón, Spanish olive oil is one of those products that creates a sense of great pride! The Spanish golden liquid, olive trees are part of Spain’s landscape, and that couldn’t be more clear in Andalusia. The yield from one province alone, Jaén, accounts for 50% of the olive oil consumed in Spain, and 20% of the olive oil consumed globally.