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Beautiful plates from Sollo Photo: Aleksandra Oljenik
Beautiful plates from Sollo Photo: Aleksandra Oljenik

Malaga - A gastronomic epicenter

Sometimes, the world’s capitals get all the attention when it comes to fine food and top restaurants. Venture further afield though, and you’re in for a real treat.  

While the Malaga region may not boast as many ­Michelin stars as Catalonia and the Basque country, its proud food culture, based on authentic recipes passed down through the generations, combined with high-quality locally sourced produce, has made it the food hub of southern Spain. 

Malaga Wine Museum

Situated in an historic building from 1839, in the white village of Mijas, this wine museum is far more interesting than its sister in neighboring Malaga. Specialists are on hand to teach you everything you need to know about how to taste a wine. Short tastings of local wines are available to all visitors at a small cost, while groups of eight or more can book a full wine-tasting course.

Malaga Wine Museum

Calle San Sebastián, 14, Mijas

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Sollo Photo: Aleksandra Oljenik

Sollo

Restaurants don’t get more local than Sollo, which sources more than 90% of its produce from its own aquaponics system, which is a recirculating aquatic environment. Named the Spanish “revelation” of the year and awarded a Michelin star in 2015, Chef Diego Gallegos promises to treat you to an unforgettable dining experience, with his impeccably crafted 22-course tasting menu.

Sollo

Av. del Higuerón, 48, Fuengirola

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Mainake Vinos & Gourmet

Apart from offering one of the most comprehensive selections of local wines and gourmet products on the Costa del Sol, Mainake, in central Malaga, also arran­ges tastings of wine, vermouth and champagne, as well as group tastings of creative tapas, expertly coupled with ­local wines.

Mainake Vinos & Gourmet

Calle Victoria, 45, Malaga

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Photo: Aleksandra Oljenik

Tinto de Verano

If you thought sangría was the local tipple of choice in these parts, think again. While sunburnt tourists can typically be spotted knocking back this sugar-laden cocktail in beach bars along the coast, locals tend to prefer a simpler version of the drink known as Tinto de Verano. Literally translated as “the red wine of summer” it consists of one-part cheap red table wine, and one part gaseosa (or soda). The preferred mixer is a mild, low-sugar, carbonated lemonade, although rum can also be added.

La Donaira

Nestled in the foothills north of Ronda, La Donaira biodynamic farm offers a wide range of activities. From sustainable agriculture workshops to equestrian tourism experiences, you can choose the level of activity that suits you best. Visitors seeking a more laid back stay may prefer to spend their time at the natural outdoor pool, the spa, or relax in the stunning grounds that surround the farm. For many, the most memorable aspect of a stay here is the spectacular gastronomic offering, with meals expertly prepared by La Donaira’s onsite chef and made entirely from the fresh, seasonal produce of the farm and surrounding areas.

Finca la Donaira, El Gastor, Cádiz

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Mercado Agroalimentario de Coín

Open on weekends, there’s no better place to pick up your weekly groceries than at the farmers’ market in Coín, just under an hour west of Malaga. The market – made up of local farmers and producers – offers the finest seasonal fruits and vegetables, along with locally produced meat, cheese and honey.

Mercado Agroalimentario de Coín

Póligono Industrial “La Trocha”, Coín

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ZoZoï

Your first thought upon arriving in Marbella may not be to find the nearest Belgian restaurant, but ZoZoï’s creative menu, based on carefully selected, fresh, seasonal produce, has made it a firm favorite among visitors and ­locals alike. Don’t miss the secret interior patio, where you can ­enjoy specialties such as the free-range chicken roasted with ­yogurt, or the mouthwatering barbequed ribs, under a canopy of green leaves in Marbella’s delightful old town.

ZoZoï

Plaza Altamirano, 1, Marbella

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Arte de Cozina Photo: Aleksandra Oljenik

Arte de Cozina

It doesn’t get more authentic than this rustic-looking eatery situated in the ancient town of Antequera, about an hour inland from Malaga. All the food is prepared with genuine love and passion by Chef Charo Carmona, who creates delicious, hearty reinterpretations of traditional, local recipes, many of which were passed down from her mother and mother-in-law. “In the past, daughters learned to cook from their mothers and grandmothers, but that isn’t the case any more. We serve the dishes that people have always eaten in these parts, keeping the recipes alive for the next generation,” says Chef Charo. The produce is all local, seasonal and, for the most part, organic.

Arte de Cozina

Calle Calzada, 27-29, Antequera

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Casa Rural Ahora

Casa Rural Ahora describes itself as a combined farm stay, organic restaurant and natural health center. Situated close to the delightful Alcornocales ­Natural Park, it provides a healthy, relaxing experience, with a focus on good food. The culinary offering is traditional yet creative, and made entirely from local, mainly organic produce, much of which is grown onsite. Meanwhile, the rural spa offers massages, clay baths with magnesium salts, a sauna and ozone Jacuzzi – a ­regenerative experience for the body, mind and soul.

Casa Rural Ahora

Calle Lepanto, Finca la Vega, El Colmenar

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Photo: Aleksandra Oljenik

Bodegas Pérez Hidalgo

Seven stunning hectares of vineyards provide the setting for the famous Álora wine, named the best red in Spain by the Spanish Guía los Supervinos 2017 (2017 Super Wine Guide). Bodegas Pérez Hidalgo’s oak-aged Vega del Geva Crianza, stands out especially as a reference, with its complex wild red fruit flavors. Contact the winery to arrange a visit, set up a tasting or arrange an experience that combines wine and gastronomy made entirely from the products of the land.

Bodegas Pérez Hidalgo

Avenida Virgen de Flores, 15, Álora

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Spain Food Sherpas

Ever wanted to cook a real Spanish tortilla de patatas, but not known how? Spain Food Sherpas offer accessible, fun tapas cooking classes, where participants learn to cook classics like gazpacho and tortilla. The gastronomic masterclass also includes a visit to the superb Atarazanas Food Market and to a traditional “ultramarinos” grocery store, where fresh ingre­dients are purchased for later use in the kitchen.

Spain Food Sherpas

Calle Lazcano 8, Malaga

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D’Oliva

Andalusia produces close to half of the world’s olive oil and, while much of it is shipped to Italy and bottled as Italian extra virgin, some of it remains here. D’Oliva’s olive oil tasting workshop, available in Spanish, English or French, introduces you to six premium extra virgin olive oils, teaching you when to use each one, and enabling you to distinguish between high-quality and lesser olive oils.

D’Oliva

Calle Nueva, 9, Marbella

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Text: Isabelle Kliger

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