The towns that make up the Los Velez region have preserved all their customs and traditions. As a result, the recipes for its exquisite dishes have been passed down from generation to generation. The historical and cultural heritage unites these towns in the Los Velez region. However, each town has its own particularities that set it apart from the others.
The dishes that you will find in this region of Almeria are many and varied. They have evolved and changed throughout the years, forming a kitchen that is always stocked with the classic products of the Almeria province.
Gastronomy in the Los Velez region is nutritious, healthy and simple. Over the years, more than 500 recipes have been collected, many of which are common in different parts of the Almeria province.
In the classic gastronomy of the Los Velez region, very caloric foods predominate. This is because the winters are cold and various stews are common. The localities that make up the region have many wild animals, which are used to create different dishes. Some common examples are the porridge cakes, “gurullos” with rabbit, hare or partridge, and also pickled partridge.
In all the garnishes of the gastronomy of the Los Velez region, you will find a rainbow of bright colours due to the great variety of fruits and vegetables available in the region. You can rest easy, as you will be able to ingest all the vitamins your body needs.
You don't have to try the dishes at any particular time of the year. Whichever time you visit the Los Velez region, you will fall in love with its gastronomy. Even so, each celebration throughout the year is accompanied by unique and special dishes, For example, at Christmas, the “alfajores” with honey and almonds are a delicacy. Other sweet Christmas dishes are almond and wine “mantecados”. On the other hand, as a savoury dish for Christmas, rice with turkey is common.
Later, at Carnival, a typical meal is fried cakes (which are prepared with flour and yeast; they are usually eaten hot and accompanied by chocolate).
During Easter, the most typical dish is the gypsy pot.
Lent is a special occasion when meals change and the consumption of dishes rich in vegetables or carbohydrates that exclude meat is greater.
Some examples are chickpea stew with cod, swiss chard stew, fried “roscos” and wheat.
The “migas” are a very typical dish in the gastronomy of the Los Velez region. They are made from flour, water, salt and oil. This is a simple menu option and also serves to combat the cold. Formerly, “migas” were consumed as breakfast before one went to work, as they provided energy for jobs that required it. Today, many prefer migas for lunchtime; these are usually accompanied by dressings called “tajás”. The variety of “tajás” that can be used is wide, although the most common are fresh garlic, liver, tomato, dried or fried peppers, grapes, tangerines and bacon.
Another typical dish that has been passed down from generation to generation in the houses of the inhabitants of the Los Velez region is “gurullos”. They are a preparation containing a characteristic broth stew and a paste that has a rhombus shape. Generally, rabbit meat is added, although in certain parts of the province of Almeria the rabbit is replaced by octopus, partridge or cuttlefish. This dish is prepared slowly over a gentle fire.
Sausages and cheeses
The tradition of slaughter is part of the gastronomy of the Los Velez region. For example, the province of Almeria is known for its high-quality sausages and hams. The drying process for some sausages is carried out in Sierra de Maria-Los Velez.
All this activity entices people from various places to come together for these delicious products.
One of the key products in the diet of the Los Velez region is goat's milk. It is used to make different types of cheeses, as well as exquisite sweet desserts.
The confectioneries in this region have their own unique touch, with Muslim origins. The most common desserts are “mantecados”, fried “roscos” (made from a combination of oil, flour, water, lemon zest, orange juice, sugar and cinnamon), filled wafers (the tasty filling is made from a mixture of honey, almonds, cooked potato, anise and syrup), homemade chocolates, wine “roscos”, caramelised almonds and “alfajores”.
A traditional recipe that you should try is asleep “mantecados”. This is a delicious sweet preparation common during the Christmas season. It is called "asleep" because the dough is left to rest all night long before it is cooked the following morning.
We also have “hornazos”. These are made from oiled bread dough and are baked in the oven. They are commonly consumed during the month of June and are eaten on the route of the Virgin of the Head, which extends from the town of Maria to the Virgin of the Head Hermitage.