The Costa del Sol is known for many things: Sun, sea and sand are the usual three that holidaymakers are keen to mention, but one thing that they really shout about is the food. The area is known for blending the old and the new when it comes to cuisine, and there is a lot to experience in the more authentic, local restaurants.
If you really want to see the true Costa del Sol, there are few better ways to experience real Spanish culture than with a visit to a local produce market. The area has an abundance of them, though not all of them are food produce specific, and many of the opening times and days vary throughout the seasons – it's always best to check when you arrive so you don't venture out on a wasted journey!
For fresh fish and meat, fruit and veg, you will find that most towns will have a local Municipal Market, usually located near the heart of the old town - known locally as the Mercado Municipal. These local markets are usually only open in the mornings, generally between 9am and 1pm, with stalls displaying a great selection of fresh foods.
Each town will also have a specific day for their weekly "Rastro" markets which offer a combination of stalls, ranging from clothing to leather goods with a healthy dose of locally farmed produce too!
As with the majority of Spain, in Costa del Sol, be sure to expect a good punch of colour and flavour that's been perfected over hundreds of years. Whilst some dishes will have some modern touches, many of the region's favourites are old recipes that have been made time and time again – be sure to give something unexpected a try when you visit.
- Gazpacho Andaluz – This dish is a founding member of the gazpacho family, and is a soup-like dish made from tomatoes and dried bread that’s served chilled. Well-seasoned, this dish is refreshing and tasty, and is best served with freshly chopped peppers and onion.
- Tapas – Costa del Sol is no exception to the Spanish love of tapas. These small plates are full of different ingredients and different tastes which can be mixed and matched with others to create an exciting dinner atmosphere, or can be great if you just fancy a small plate for a light meal. You can read more about the tapas dishes that the area is known for in our Guide to Costa del Sol.
As an area that fully embraces the Mediterranean location, you can't help but associate the taste of their food with sun and holidays. On a warm summer's evening, just serving up the right kind of food can even make dining in at home into a treat that feels distinctly Spanish, especially if you've got the right recipes to hand.
Clams are a large part of the Costa del Sol foodie culture, as is the traditional dessert dish of Churros con chocolate. Follow these recipes and you’ll have two popular dishes to serve up that are sure to make any stomach smile!
For the Clams, you'll need:
- 1 kilo of clams
- 125g of plain flour
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 pressed clove of garlic
- Pinch of parsley
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Salt and pepper to season
This recipe is simple but delicious, relying on high-quality ingredients to achieve that authentic depth and flavour. With the clams, fresh is obviously better, and you’ll need to wash them thoroughly until they’re sand and dirt-free. Place them in a casserole dish or stew pot on a medium heat and stir in the onion, garlic and parsley. Cook for a minute or two, then sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper and turn the heat up. Once the clams have opened up and softened, the dish is ready to serve straight from the pot. Sprinkle with parsley to serve.
Churros con chocolate
For the Churros con chocolate, you'll need:
- 125g of plain flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 250ml of boiling water
- 50g of castor sugar
- 400ml oil for frying
- 100g of dark chocolate
- 25g of milk chocolate
- 115ml of milk
- 250ml of boiled water
Firstly, mix together the flour and the baking powder in a large bowl. Then, mix through the olive oil and water to form a dough. Once the dough has reached the desired thick but flexible consistency, leave it to rest for around 30 minutes.
After the dough has rested, heat the oil up in a sturdy frying pan and allow it to heat up – the oil should sizzle. Fill a piping bag with your doughy mixture, and slowly pipe in reasonable lengths into the frying pan. It’s important to keep a pair of scissors handy here so you can cut the dough when it’s at the right length!
Allow them to cook until golden, covering if necessary to ensure an even cook. Carefully remove the churros from the frying pan once cooked, and sprinkle the castor sugar whilst they’re still warm.
For the chocolate dipping sauce, you should melt the two types on chocolate together, and stir to combine. To loosen the chocolate up, add a little of the milk and stir, continuing until you are happy that the churros can be dipped! Serve the churros warm with the chocolate dip on the side, and enjoy!