Sanlúcar, located in the province of Cádiz, near the mouth of the Guadalquivir River, is a privileged city with a rich cultural and monumental heritage as it is located on the trade route to America. It witnessed the third voyage of Christopher Columbus and the port of departure and arrival of the Magellan and Elcano expedition.
In 2022 there will be the commemorative acts of the V Centenary of the First World Tour (1519-1522). Its environmental environment has as its emblem the Doñana National Park, which is accessed by crossing the Guadalquivir river, and the La Algaida e Pinar Natural Park, a sort of natural ring that constitutes one of the green lungs of Andalusia, declared by UNESCO. as a Biosphere Reserve in 1980.
To these attractions is added its rich gastronomy, with exceptional and exclusive products such as Prawns and Manzanilla, a perfect combination that extends beyond the Andalusian borders and is one of the reasons why thousands of tourists come to this place. At the end of last year it was announced that Sanlúcar would become the new World Capital of Gastronomy for 2022.
The appointment was made official on the occasion of Fitur, the International Tourism Fair held in Madrid from 19 to 23 January. The Spanish Capital of Gastronomy (CEG) distinction was created by the Spanish Federation of Tourism Journalists and Writers (FEPET) and the Spanish Hospitality Federation (FEHR).
The purpose of this initiative is to contribute to the dissemination of the gastronomic offer of the city that each year holds the title, to propose actions that help increase tourism figures (Sanlúcar receives more than 80,000 tourists a year) and to enhance the programs of gastronomic excellence. The gastronomy thus becomes a perfect complement to the complete offer for leisure and party, highlighting the Manzanilla Fair, the boarding of the brotherhoods of El Rocío or the famous horse races on the beaches of the municipality, declared of International Tourist Interest in 1997. The historical significance of Sanlúcar, a crossroads of cultures and an ancient port of American commerce, is perceived at every step that takes place in its urban fabric.
The palaces, noble residences, defensive buildings and historic gardens mix with ancient cellars, from which the soft aroma of Manzanilla is released. The Doñana National Park, in addition to promoting natural tourism practically all year round, is also one of the keys to the richness of Sanlúcar’s gastronomy. Phoenicians, Romans and Arabs contributed the ingredients to the indigenous cuisine. The Christian reconquest encouraged the production of wine, which after centuries of skilful work, was consumed in the admirable diversity of current wines, among which the singular Manzanilla stands out.
The gastronomic evolution does not stop there, as after becoming one of the main American commercial ports and hosting numerous expeditions abroad, Sanlúcar once again sees its kitchens enriched with all the variety of spices, fruits and vegetables that have arrived. on the Andalusian coasts, before many other places in the Old World. Peppers, tomatoes and potatoes have given their latest impetus to both local gastronomy and agricultural production.
Sanlúcar on horseback
Horse races on the beaches of Sanlúcar de Barrameda at the mouth of the Guadalquivir river, the ancient Betis, are the oldest in the country and have been held since 1845. They are the only races in which thoroughbreds have the opportunity to compete in a unique setting: a natural hippodrome over 6 kilometers long with the Doñana National Park and the sunsets in the background.
The flavors of Sanlúcar
The vast gastronomic offer of Sanlúcar is based on three important pillars: the products of its garden, those of its cellars and the fish of the Andalusian sea. Sanlúcar’s fish and shellfish, including shrimp, have a reputation that has transcended city borders. In Sanlúcar, the products themselves are as famous as the dishes prepared with them that form their culinary basis, rich stews with an authentic maritime flavor such as sour orange skate, monkfish with fried bread, galley soup, etc. . These dishes are generally washed down with the local wine, Manzanilla, as well as other types of table wine, which have a lower alcohol content and lighter color but have a unique flavor.
Sanlúcar de Barrameda is historically integrated into the Designations of Origin Jerez, Vinagre, Brandy de Jerez and Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda. The cellars of Sanlúcar enjoy the constructive singularity of those found throughout the Marco de Jerez. These are high and well ventilated cellars, supported by slender pillars which give them their characteristic appearance. The city has recently equipped itself with a new enotourist resource: the Manzanilla Interpretation Center (CIMA) which includes about twenty wineries in the city and which, located next to the food market, offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the elaboration process. and aging of this unique wine.
IThe shrimp. The king of the sea and of Sanlúcar gastronomy
The Sanlúcar Shrimp is one of the kings of Cadiz cuisine, one of the products of the local gastronomy that has crossed borders to conquer not only the palates of the thousands of tourists who visit the municipality every year, but also the kitchens of nationally renowned chefs and international prestige, which have included it in their menu as a flagship product.
Its scientific name is Penaeus kerathurus and it is a medium-sized, edible, highly prized crustacean of high commercial value. What does the Sanlúcar shrimp have that makes it so valuable? The answer is easy: its flavor, a property conferred by its habitat: the Guadalquivir River estuary. It is a crustacean that is mainly eaten fresh. Its meat is very valuable. Cooked, fried, or as part of any traditional fish stew, it’s always a good option.
At Casa Bigote, reference point of Sanlúcar gastronomy, winner of the Bib Gourmand award from the Michelin Guide and a Sole from the Repsol Guide, they bet on cooked or fried preparation.
Manzanilla a unique and very special wine
Manzanilla is another of Sanlúcar de Barrameda’s “named” products. The vineyards, divided into “pagos”, grow centuries-old on albariza land (a land north of Jerez ideal for growing grapes). Sanlúcar currently has more than twenty wineries, which feed either on their own vineyards or on the must of palomino grapes (white grape from which Jerez and Manzanilla wines are produced).
The Sanlúcar marinera, seafood products and stews
Sanlúcar cuisine is a cuisine linked to tradition. A cuisine of maritime origin that finds a prominent role in homes. The special way of preparing fish in the municipality deserves a separate chapter. Frying the fish, with the right tip, reaches an almost sublime point and allows you to appreciate the textures of the different species, from acedías, tapaculos, pijotas, puntillitas, cuttlefish or mullet…
Now these stews arrive from Sanlúcar all over the world thanks to the Senra family, who have innovated and introduced traditional seafood recipes in canning jars that only need to be heated to be consumed, bringing a little of the flavor of il more marine Sanlúcar.
The food market, the epicenter of Sanluqueña gastronomy
It is located in the heart of the commercial area of the Historical Complex of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. It is a municipal building occupying an area of almost 1,400 square meters, built in the 18th century and renovated three times, in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The business returned to this square in June 2018 and has remained the hub of the city’s commercial and food and wine activity ever since. It has twenty-four fish stalls, twelve butchers, ten greengrocers, three frozen foods, one spices, one olives, sweets …
What stands out most is the seafood, not only for the quantity, but also for the raw material it offers. The excellent raw material that the Sanluqueños placeros display daily in their facilities has transformed the country’s Mercado de Abastos into a reference place for Sanluqueños and visitors who take advantage of the passage through the city to stock up on the best delicacies of the territory and the sea.
The sweet Sanlúcar
There is no self-respecting food that does not end with a dessert and Sanlúcar, among its many gastronomic charms, offers us in this field a variety characterized by the artisanal character and the quality of its raw materials. The walls of the convents of the many religious orders that were established under the patronage of the Ducal House of Medina Sidonia, preserve a large part of these sweet recipes.
The desserts made in an artisanal way by the nuns of the monasteries of Madre de Dios – offered to customers through their lathes – or of the convent of Regina Coeli have allowed to perpetuate over time unique flavors such as egg yolks, tocino de cielo, donuts with almonds, shortbread, pestiños, white donuts, cocadas-, which have been making for more than 40 years and which dazzle those who try them.
Alpisteras are one of the most typical sweets of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, traditional of Holy Week and which derive their sweetness from a touch of syrup. The dessert continues with an artisanal ice cream, enjoying the city of two legendary companies such as La Ibense Bornay – which exported its ice cream to Dubai – or Helados Toni, where the third generation indulges the wishes of the little ones behind the counter.
Plaza del Cabildo: a stroll through the tapas cathedral
Epicenter of the city, the Plaza del Cabildo is the gastronomic emblem par excellence of Sanlúcar together with the Bajo de Guía. The typical shrimp tortillas of Casa Balbino are memorable. And of the delicacy with a taste of the sea, in another of the corners of this cathedral, you can taste the authentic potatoes of Sanlúcar, aliñás, with a little onion and parsley, a good oil, sherry vinegar, loins of melva and game is done: the flagship product of Barbiana. Another of the classics of gastronomy is the Bar La Gitana. The well-known manzanilla gives its name to a winery that has gradually become another of the references of this square, offering excellent fried ortiguille.