The Gaditanian gastronomy

Spanish tapas

The Gaditanian gastronomy

Several villages have participated on the development of the current Gaditanian gastronomy offer. Cádiz is a 3,000 years old city with a strategic location where the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea join together. It was conquered by numerous civilizations and cultures which helped to develop and enrich its gastronomy.

The high number of products collected from the sea have an important impact on the traditional menu. Some of the most popular dishes are fried fish, cazón en adobo (also called ´bienmesabe´), urta a la roteña, red tuna of almadraba, or the different seafood collected in its beautiful bay.

Its sea has also participated on its history with products as natural salt. There are several saltworks in the province of Cádiz. A few hundred years ago its salt was used to preserve food in a lot of different places. The old Roman city Baelo Claudia located in one of the best beaches of Europe, Bolonia beach, is the best example of this activity. Baelo Claudia had a considerable importance as administrative center due to its location, close to the Strait of Gibraltar, but its main activity was fishing and the work generated by its saltwork. Garum was also produced in the saltwork of Baelo Claudia.

The most innovative product collected from the sea is natural algaes which are used as spices in multiple dishes. The purpose is give them a little touch of sea. Some Chefs with Michelin Stars already use this ingredients in their menus. Ángel León, chef in the restaurant Aponiente in El Puerto de Santa María is a great example.

Pork and, retinto and game meat are also important participants in the Gaditanian gastronomy. Pork loin cooked in butter, mechá meat, chicharrones, iberian ham, and other inlays produced with different parts of the port are delicatessen products for tourists and locals.

Dishes based on grilled rentinta cow and cooked game meats like deer or wild pig are also highly recommended. They are especially popular between the bars and restaurants of the villages located in the countryside like Benamahoma or El Bosque.

Vegetables and fruits produced in Cádiz are also part of the gastronomic culture of the region. Dishes as peppers or potatoes salad, eggs cooked with tagarninas, or berza are highly recommended. Olives, and olive oil are star products in the province also.
A salad of tomato, green pepper and onion called piriñaca, deserves to be mentioned too. It is most of the time used as an accompaniment for dishes with grilled fish. Another two fantastic dishes elaborated with vegetables are salmorejo and gazpacho.

There are also an extend number of fruits produced in the province of Cádiz. Between the most popular fruits it should be highlighted the prickly pear.

There are several fantastic sweet desserts elaborated in Cádiz. Pestiños, tortas pardas, amarguillos or tocino de cielo are excellent options to conclude a meal. It should be highlighted the alfajor of Medina Sidonia and the famous Cádiz bread.

In relation to beverages, the main designations of origin are Jerez-Xérès-Sherry and Manzanilla-Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

There are several wines produced under the designation of origin Sherry. They are commonly classify according to the way they have been elaborated, in generous wines (fino, amontillado, oloroso y palo cortado), sweet wines (pedro ximénez and moscatel) and the mix of both, which generates wines generous in alcohol (palo cream, medium and cream).

They are also classified according to the number of years they have been in barrels by:

  • Vinum Optimum Signatum or “V.O.S” (Very Old Sherry). When it is, at least, 20 years old.
  • Vinum Optimum Rare Signatum “V.O.R.S.” (Very Old Rare Sherry), when it is, at least, 30 years old.