A place of meeting for several civilizations with a land blessed by its variety and exotic beauty, the Levante of Almeria is a region with major tourist and historical interest.
The area is a sample of cultural diversity, with beach and mountain landscapes, agriculture, livestock and tourism. This variety is also evident in the wide gastronomy offered, which combines the cuisine of the sea with mountain cuisine seasoned with fine spices.
On the coast, dishes with fish and seafood are the main courses, while in the mountains vegetable stews, “gazpacho” and “ajo colorao” are the stars of gastronomy. During the Muslim rule, the Arabs left a deep impression in Almeria, not only with their characteristic buildings, but also with the refinement of their food that transformed many customs.
The high agricultural development promoted by the Umayyad made it possible for the cultivation of new products unknown until now to the Europeans. The same products are incorporated into the daily diet of the population of the Levante of Almeria.
Being in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, the preparation of grilled fish and garlic fish with fine herbs is very common. The most popular fish and seafood dishes requested are mackerel, red mullet, monkfish, squid, octopus, cuttlefish and red prawn.
Special mention goes to the “galanes”. Many consider it to be the best fish in the area, and it can only be caught in the summer months. You can only taste it during the months of July, August and September. The best way to eat it is breaded and fried.
The seafood stews accompanied by pasta or rice delight the nose and palate of those who have the pleasure of tasting them. The freshness of the ingredients and the particular flavor of the species used makes them stand out.
The orchards of the mountain offer the best legumes and vegetables for the preparation of a great variety of pots, broths of peppers, “morunas” soaps, “patatas bravas”, potatoes in “ajopollo” and potatoes “a lo pobre”, accompanied by sausages, ham in strips or fried eggs.
The pot of wheat, the asparagus omelettes, the legs of pork with paprika, the partridge with vegetables, the “gachas” and the “migas”, are part of the diet of the mountains. Emphasized is the popular “gazpacho”, a cold tomato soup with cucumber, pepper, garlic, vinegar and oil, which finds its varieties in “salmorejo” and “ajoblanco” with beans or almonds. You can not fail to mention the meaty stew of “pelotas” and the “gurullos” with rabbit.
The sausages are always present in Almerian cuisine, and there are even tourist tours that allow you to participate and taste the making of sausages and cheeses.
As for the sweets, there is a great variety, and in the Levante of Almeria you can find cream tubes, puff pastries, “indalotes”, “papaviejos”, fried milk, “lagrimicas” and cakes with cabell d'Àngel.
Standing out as specialties of the area is the cake of the Order of Minims of Vera
and the “hornazo” that is made on the Day of the “Vieja” (right in the middle of Lent). It is a sweet bread elongated with a braid on top that buries a hard egg.
Although it is a very artisanal cuisine, the most demanding palates will end up pleasing and even surprising others with the mixture of flavors. You will find gourmet versions of each of these dishes in the more select restaurants in the area.
In the Levante of Almeria, the cult of good food surrenders even in the most humble homes. Food is an an additional attraction to the landscape that gives visitors a culinary tradition that will surely leave them satisfied.
Sitting at the table in any of the municipalities and towns that make up this Almeria region is a truly pleasurable experience. The diversity of smells, colors, flavors and combinations of dishes will delight and fascinate any diner.