Málaga’s traditional cuisine is rooted in the homes of humble people, who cooked what they produced in their backyards or pens, caught in the sea, or poached. Thus, they created a form of cooking that’s closely related to the fat of the land, its history, its way of living.
Far from the idea that cooking consists in preparing food for subsistence eating only, it’s now considered as an art. As such, it’s part of society’s cultural heritage. Visitors are invited to delve into the smells and flavours of Málaga’s cuisine, tasting traditional dishes like “ajoblanco,” “ensaladilla malagueña,” “porra,” or Frigiliana’s aubergines with golden syrup.
Málaga’s food is also famous for its soups and stews. “Gazpachuelo” is one of the best known. Originally prepared by sailors in winter, it’s evolved into many different versions. The “viña AB” soup, for instance, adds hake, prawns, clams, and a trickle of amontillado.
Other traditional stews are Álora’s "perotas” soup (a tasty, hearty dish including all the foods grown in Málaga’s gardens), the Spanish oyster thistle soup, and the hearty “berzas malagueñas” (cabbage stew). You can get them in most bars or restaurants in every town or village. They’re a good way to warm yourself up after a day in the sierras or a cultural tour in town.
However, the most popular dish from Málaga is “migas,” a humble stew that can take almost anything in: vegetables, pork, fish, oranges, and many other ingredients. When it has sausage, black pudding, peppers, and loin, it’s called “plato de los montes.” “Ventas,” that is, family-run inns by all of the back roads across the province, are the best place to try your “migas.”
Marine cuisine is ever-present on Málaga’s tables. There’s no Málaga without “pescaíto frito” (deep-fried fish), horse mackerel soup, dogfish soup, anchovies in vinegar, stuffed squid, or anchovy skewers. You can savour a huge variety of seafood and fish dishes all along the coast.
But please don’t fill your belly; leave some space for desserts and sweets. “Borrachuelos” (their name means “little drunken fritters” because their dough takes wine and anisette) are the Christmas sweets par excellence in Málaga. Antequera’s “bienmesabe” (a sort of almond pudding), “meloja” (a jam made with fif honey and dry fruit), hasty pudding with nuts, and egg doughnuts are some of delicious choices to bring a great meal to a close.
(c) Turismo Costa del Sol/www.visitacostadelsol.com