Andalucía exudes palpable Spanishness: Passionate flamenco singers, graceful Andaluz horses, majestic sherry bodegas, humble tapas bars and enduring vestiges of a Moorish past. The past is persistent in Andalucía and the centuries of Christian, Jewish and Islamic coexistence are seen and felt in Sevilla, Córdoba, Granada, Málaga, Jerez and many white villages and mountain pueblos.
The food and wine of Andalucía have not always been tourism draws for the region. The attractions for most travelers have been the monument-laden cities whose exoticism has attracted scores to visit Sevilla, Córdoba, Granada and Ronda, and led 19th century Romantic writer Washington Irving to pen Tales of the Alhambra and Ernest Hemingway to spend time most notably in Ronda. Now, after beach and sun tourism and foreign second home colonies threatened to destroy authentic Andalusian culture, the cuisine included, a movement is afoot to re-evaluate and re-invigorate the many culinary traditions and the near moribund Andalusian wines from Jerez to Málaga to Granada. A locally led revival which owes little to outsiders coming in and declaring Andalusian food and wine worthy of international attention. It has been a home-grown effort to first value what has always been there and to then champion those chefs, food producers and winemakers who focus on quality. The story is still being written but suffice it to say that Andalucía is rising and there is no better time to take a trip before the "secret" is out.
Sample classic tapas. Sevilla's historic Santa Cruz and Triana districts are home to Spanish tapas at their best. Arrange a tapas tour in Málaga, Cádiz or Granada.
Visit artisan cheese and olive oil makers in the mountains near Ronda
Visit pueblos blancos: Ronda, Aracena, Arcos & Vejer
Visit private sherry bodegas in Jerez de la Frontera to sample VOS and VORS sherries.
Taste the ham. See acorn grazing Iberian pigs near Jabugo and sample jamón ibérico, aka Iberian caviar.
Discover flamenco. See an authentic flamenco performance in Sevilla or Jerez.
Cook with a Michelin-starred chef. Prepare part of your own tasting menu in the kitchen of a Michelin starred restaurant.
Take the high-speed train to Córdoba. Tour the Unesco World Heritage Mezquita followed by a traditional tapas lunch.
Taste local shrimp and tuna. Sanlúcar de Barrameda is famous for its gambas (and Manzanilla sherry), and Barbate for its net-caught bluefin tuna and mojama, or wind-dried tuna.