Gastronomy in Seville is as rich as diverse: old recipes that has been passing through generations, mixing traditional and modern cooking; delicious dishes can be found in every town of the province, in which outstanding wines are produced in their wineries. These elements raise Seville gastronomy up to the first level. In Seville there are excellent national and international food restaurants, but it is the “tapeo” the real brand mark of Seville’s gastronomy. If the visitor wants to really get to know this brand mark, he or she will need to taste the wide variety of tapas available in bars and taverns. Fried fish, here known as “pescaíto frito”, is almost an obligation, specially anchovies, puntillitas, and marinated dogfish.
The tapas scene is one of the main cultural attractions of the city: people go from one bar to another, enjoying small dishes called tapas (literally “lids” or “covers” in Spanish, referring to their probable origin as snacks served on small plates used to cover drinks). Local specialities include fried and grilled seafood (including squid, choco (cuttlefish), swordfish, marinated dogfish, and ortiguillas), grilled and stewed meat, spinach with chickpeas, Jamón ibérico, lamb kidneys in sherry sauce, snails, caldo de puchero, and gazpacho. A sandwich known as a serranito is the typical and popular version of fast food.
Typical desserts from Seville include pestiños, a honey-coated sweet fritter; torrijas, fried slices of bread with honey; roscos fritos, deep-fried sugar-coated ring doughnuts; magdalenas or fairy cakes; yemas de San Leandro, which provide the city’s convents with a source of revenue; and tortas de aceite, a thin sugar-coated cake made with olive oil. Polvorones and mantecados are traditional Christmas products, whereas pestiños and torrijas are typically consumed during the Holy Week.
Bitter Seville oranges grow on trees lining the city streets. Formerly, large quantities were collected and exported to Britain to be used in marmalade. Today the fruit is used predominantly as compost locally, rather than as a foodstuff. According to legend, the Arabs brought the bitter orange to Seville from East Asia via Iraq around the 10th century to beautify and perfume their patios and gardens, as well as to provide shade. The flowers of the tree are a source of neroli oil, commonly used in perfumery and in skin lotions for massage.
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