All about the gastronomic capital of Spain in 2022

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Sanlúcar de Barrameda witnessed Christopher Columbus’ third voyage and also the port of departure and arrival of Magellan and Elcano’s expedition. It is right now, in 2022, that the anniversary acts of the fifth century of the First World Tour (1519-1522) reach their climax.

Doñana National Park, one of the most important wetlands in Europe, can be reached from Sanlúcar by crossing the Guadalquivir River. Also nearby are La Algaida Natural Park and Pinar. This is a kind of natural ring that forms one of Andalusia’s green lungs. UNESCO declared it a biological reserve in 1980.

To these attractions you can add the rich gastronomy of the city and its surroundings. Excellent and exclusive products like shrimp and Manzanilla play an important role in this. Thousands of tourists visit the area just to enjoy this perfect combination for the taste buds. Sanlúcar receives about 80,000 tourists a year.

The world capital of gastronomy in 2022

At the end of last year, it was announced that Sanlúcar would become the new world capital of gastronomy in 2022. The nomination was made official at Fitur, the international tourism fair to be held in Madrid in January. The Spanish Gastronomic Capital Award (CEG) was created by the Spanish Association of Tourism Journalists and Writers (FEPET) and the Spanish Hospitality Federation (FEHR).

Enjoying the local gastronomy thus perfectly complements the range of activities and festivities in the area, with emphasis on the Manzanilla fair, the fraternity’s embarkation for their journey to El Rocío during the famous pilgrimage ‘La Romería del Rocío’ or the spectacular horse races on the municipality’s beaches . These were declared events of international tourist interest in 1997.

Historical significance

With each step you take in Sanlúcar, you will feel the history of the city that served as an important transit port after the discovery of the American continent and the ensuing trade. The palaces, the aristocratic mansions, defensive buildings and historic gardens are a fascinating combination of ancient vineyards where you can smell the soft aromas of Manzanilla.

Donana

Doñana National Park is not only a key to tourism in Sanlúcar, but its gastronomic richness also contributes significantly to this. Phoenicians, Romans and Arabs contributed their ingredients to the indigenous cuisine. Christian Reconquest stimulated the production of an admirable diversity of wines, including the unique Manzanilla.

The gastronomic development did not stop there, because with the countless overseas expeditions from the city, Sanlúcar once again sees its kitchens enriched with all kinds of herbs, fruits and vegetables that were hitherto unknown. Peppers, tomatoes and potatoes gave their final impetus to both local gastronomy and agricultural production.

Horse racing on the beach

The horse races on the beaches of Sanlúcar de Barrameda have been held since 1845, making them the oldest in Spain. They are also the only races where thoroughbred animals have the chance to compete in a unique environment: a natural racetrack across the beach over 6 kilometers long, with Doñana National Park and beautiful sunsets in the background.

Taste of Sanlucar

Sanlúcar’s extensive gastronomic offerings have three main pillars: products from the kitchen garden, from the bodegas and from the sea and the estuary. Sanlúcar’s seafood, including shrimp, has a cross-border reputation. They are even as famous as the dishes made with them. These include hearty stews with an authentic sea flavor such as stingrays in orange sauce, the traditional galera soup (with seafood), etc. These dishes are generally served with the local Manzanilla wine.

Manzanilla a unique and very special wine

La Manzanilla is one of the products with Sanlúcar de Barrameda as ‘surname’. The vines, spread over ‘pagos’, have traditionally grown on albariza soil. Sanlúcar currently has more than 20 wineries, fed by their own vineyards or by must made from palomino grapes.

Wineries

Sanlúcar de Barrameda belongs to the wine region ‘Jerez, Vinagre, Brandy de Jerez’ and ‘Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda’. Sanlúcar’s wineries all have tall, well-ventilated cellars supported by slender columns in characteristic shapes. Visit one of the bodegas. This is almost always combined with a wine tasting.

Manzanilla Interpreting Center

The Manzanilla Interpretation Center (CIMA) was recently opened in Sanlúcar. This includes 20 wineries and is located next to the large indoor food market. It allows visitors to get to know the process of preparation and maturation of this unique wine.

Shrimp

The king of the sea and of Sanlúcar’s gastronomy is ‘langostino’. This Sanlúcar shrimp has since conquered many nationally and internationally acclaimed chef kitchens, which have included the shrimp as a star product in their menu. The scientific name is Penaeus kerathurus. The Sanlúcar shrimp gets its special taste from its habitat in the brackish water of the Guadalquivir estuary and is consumed mainly fresh. Baked ‘a la plancha’ with a little garlic and olive oil. The highly valued meat is also prepared or baked as part of traditional seafood stews.

Bigote House

Try some of these dishes at Casa Bigote. This restaurant is a reference in local gastronomy and winner of the Bib Gourmand award in the Michelin guide and listed with a sun in the Repsol guide.

The market

The food market is the epicenter of Sanlúcar’s gastronomy. You will find it in the heart of the shopping area in the historic part of town. The building has an area of ​​almost 1,400 square meters and dates back to the 18th century. What stands out the most is the fishing area with 24 stalls.

Paradise for sweet tooth

Many typical desserts and pastry products in the area have their origin within the walls of the monasteries of the many religious orders that were founded here under the patronage of the Dukes of Medina Sidonia. Taste sweets traditionally made by the nuns of Madre de Díos or from the monastery of Regina Coeli. Think of ‘yema’, ‘tocino de cielo’, almond donuts, shortbread, ‘pestiños’ and ‘cocadas’ made for more than 40 years. During the holy week, the shop windows of the very traditional ‘alpisteras’ dominate the shop windows.

Plaza del Cabildo

The heart of the city for the inhabitants is Plaza del Cabildo. Together with Bajo de Guía you have the gastronomic epicenter here. At Casa Balbino, the typical shrimp tortillas are a must try and in another corner of the square try the traditional potatoes from Sanlúcar marinated with onions and parsley, good oil, sherry vinegar and some melva fillets. Another gastronomic classic is Bar La Gitana, named after the famous manzanilla.

Gaden Bajo de Guía

The Bajo de Guía area, with Doñana in the background and more than a dozen restaurants overlooking it, is the golden mile of Sanlúcar’s gastronomy. The fish auction was once held in this fishing district after the arrival of the boats. It is now one of the most attractive places in Sanlúcar for the quality and freshness of its products.

On the menus of the restaurants here, including Mirador de Doñana, Avante Claro, Poma, La Lonja, Joselito Huertas or Casa Juan, there is no shortage of seafood stews like monkfish with fried bread, ‘sopa de galera’ or seafood salpicón.

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