Gastronomy in Malaga
Most experts on food from Málaga mention the simple ingredients, the variety of rich dishes and their delectable flavours. All these features are merely the result of preparing the city’s wide range of dishes by using the best natural products in the best way. Our cuisine, by the way, perfectly embodies the Mediterranean diet, as can easily be seen in its patently healthy qualities.
Pulses, vegetables, meat, fish and fruits are the basic elements of an increasingly refined cuisine. Olive oil features as an essential ingredient and in Málaga we find the highest quality oils some of which are marketed worldwide by companies that have made innovation and prestige their mark of exclusivity.
Today, the city of Málaga offers exquisite cuisine, blending what the mountains and the sea have to offer in its dishes. All the city’s produce combines tradition, innovation, quality and originating from nature’s best; these qualities distinguish Málaga’s cuisine as one of the country’s finest, which reflects the quality of life that permeates Málaga. Sampling traditional and local dishes or the most exclusive and sophisticated creations is a simple matter in Málaga.
Because of the importance of high-quality and prestigious centres such as La Cónsula School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management, leading chefs have come to Málaga, some of whom, like Dani García and José Carlos García, have won Michelin stars. The former has also become a great ambassador for Málaga cuisine, to the point that his restaurant, “Manzanilla” gives New Yorkers the chance to taste the best of our dishes in the heart of the Big Apple. Such successes merely demonstrate the quality of our diet, which has been declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
In recent years, our city has taken a formidable qualitative step forward in terms of variety and wealth of cooking styles. A series of newly-opened restaurants has positioned Málaga nationally as an important area for what has been called creative cuisine. These chefs have enriched the whole gamut of the city’s cuisine –from gourmet cooking to fusion styles– up to the point that today we can say without a doubt, that a new generation of restaurateurs offers a new side to the city’s cuisine.
Over 4,000 catering establishments, of which more than a thousand are restaurants, are concentrated in a city of just over 550,000 inhabitants, proving beyond a doubt that gastronomy has become an art in Málaga. This means that in the Historic Quarter with its ancient monuments such as the Alcazaba and the Roman Theatre, in the obscure streets of the old Jewish quarter or in the shade of the Picasso Museum and the Cathedral, almost three hundred restaurants offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy a cuisine with a long history. There is good reason why more than two thousand years ago the Romans made their famous garum (fermented fish sauce used as a condiment) in our city.
The pleasant climate the city enjoys has encouraged an old Málaga tradition: taking to the streets for tapas with a glass of fine wine or beer. This custom has stimulated the growth of a large number of wine bars and taverns where the terraces are thronged with locals and visitors simply enjoying life.
“Tapeo” is a wise custom that allows you to taste just about everything, and not out of gluttony, but, shall we say, out of culinary curiosity. “Variety is the spice of life” In this gastronomic field you will find everything, from the most traditional and perfect to the most innovative and imaginative tapas. It is not necessary to recommend any tapa in particular, since each establishment may offer a varied world all its own (no two Málaga salads taste the same). It is much better to let your intuition guide you. Or rather, your taste.
As a traditional Mediterranean dish, fried fish is one of the great gastronomic attractions of the Málaga coast. Typically found in beach bars and terraces, demand soars in the seasons of sun and sand. To be ideal for frying, fish needs several essential characteristics and the Málaga anchovy, the star species for frying, has them in spades. And along with frying, another masterpiece of Málaga gastronomy is the skewer, the traditional way to eat sardines in Málaga. Sardines are skewered on a stick and put on the fire, giving them a special and unique flavour.
As any grand city, Málaga offers a wide range of gastronomical highlights from other latitudes, the all-time favourites and others that are more exotic and perhaps less well known.
Finally, no one can leave Málaga without discovering a magnificent, often overlooked treasure. Málaga has the privilege of being able to offer one of the best menus of cakes and pastries in the whole country. Whether of local creation or imported, the sweet hands of our master confectioners are capable of giving form to true explosions of colour and flavour. One of the most pleasant moments you can spend in our city will be to try one of these marvellous treats on any terrace or simply eat it from a serviette whilst sitting on a park bench and watching the world go by.
The same can be said of our ice-cream parlours that offer creamy ice creams that extend the confectioners’ art to frosty realms and a host of flavours.