Huelva and its Andalusian gastronomy: seafood, top range ham, strawberries and treasures from the sea and the land
Huelva province, thanks to its privileged location, combines sea and mountain, a true paradise for the palate that will capture your senses. So, here’s an Invitation to get to know the Andalusian city in the company of seafood like the famous white prawns and exquisite hams that are perfectly complemented by vegetables dressed with fabulous oils and paired with spectacular Condado wines, topped off with the best strawberries in the world.
To know the gastronomy of the Huelva Costa de la Luz is to combine land and sea with tourism and pass through Ayamonte, Isla Cristina, Isla Canela, Cartaya, Punta Umbría or Matalascañas. It is to drink up the Huelva coastal ambience and its local essence. It is worth making a stop on the way and trying the most traditional products from these coastal zones, especially those from the sea. These are fishing enclaves also home to tourism, but with a local gastronomy that will pleasantly surprise you, both for its excellent ham and for the quality of its seafood.
Endless flavours that will delight the most discerning palates. A unique culinary experience that you can enjoy in a setting of unparalleled beauty.
Cured Ham and company
So, why is its ham so irresistible? No one says no to a ham tapa, do they? In Huelva, as well as being an Andalucian tapa par excellence, the ham also has its own name: Jabugo. Made from black Iberian pigs who live freely in meadows and feed on acorns, its taste, colour, appearance and texture have made it a popular delicacy on tables across the world, and the only one of its kind. We recommend you try it while you’re in the region. It’s delicious freshly cut and accompanied with a good wine; the best of the best.
In addition to this delicious ham, visitors to Huelva can also enjoy top quality pork loin, chorizo, salchichón and especially the region’s traditional morcilla sausage. Morcilla is an essential ingredient in vegetable based soups and stews that are prepared in homes and restaurants. Other dishes that stand out include the broad bean dish called habas enzapatás, the Lenten soup called potaje de vigilia, chick peas with spinach and many other delicious casseroles. Regional vegetables and top quality olive oil make it possible to prepare dishes such as gazpacho and salmorejo. In addition to excellent garden produce, you can also enjoy amazing seasonal mushrooms, particularly the traditional gurumelo. Meat and game also have a significant presence on Huelva’s tables, the exceptional leading players being lamb and pork.
Delicious seafood of the region
Let’s not lose sight of the tasty treats that come from the sea. Man cannot live by ham alone! Indeed, in Huelva, seafood occupies a place of honour in gastronomy. Perhaps the best known and most renowned species is Huelva white prawn; one of a kind and probably one of the best in the world. And let’s not forget that Sanlúcar de Barrameda prawns, famous the world over, are fished in the same province and can be enjoyed in the Andalucian capital’s many bars and restaurants. Another species that visitors must try is lobster, which achieves authentic excellence on Huelva’s tables. Furthermore, the presence of the Atlantic Ocean guarantees the supply of top quality fish. The enormous variety available creates all kinds of dishes and very special recipes, such as skate with paprika, tuna with tomato (and many others ways), sargo in onion sauce or grilled, sword fish, sardines a la pimientilla, rice with clams or cockles and delicious traditional molluscs from the Andalucian Costa de la Luz.
Baked goods from Huelva, like those from the rest of Andalucia and most of Spain, have a strong Arab influence, which can be seen in the habitual use of dried fruit and honey to make desserts. Cocas are traditional in many of the province’s localities, such as Lepe or Ayamonte, among others, and places are known for delights such as rosco de nueces (walnut ring-shaped pasty), torta de Pascua and mazapán de castañas (chestnut marzipan). All the specialities can be found in the cake shops and bakeries of the city of Huelva. Finally, Huelva province is also home to some excellent white wines and liqueurs of the highest quality.
Who has not heard of the delicious Huelva strawberries? Huelva is the cradle of the strawberry par excellence in Spain. Not for nothing does it produce over 99% of Andalusian strawberries and practically 97% of Spanish strawberries, figures that undoubtedly make this province the cradle of the strawberry.
In Huelva province there are many villages that have a relationship with this delicacy, municipalities like Palos de la Frontera, Moguer, Isla Cristina and Lepe. So, if you visit these localities, you will get an idea of what this fruit means in the province.
Interestingly, numerous restaurants use this fruit in its menu. One example of this is La Patera restaurant in El Rompido, whose culinary proposal includes dishes as delicious as strawberry salad with tomato and parmesan or crumble with chocolate soup and berries. It’s incredible!
Condado de Huelva DO
According to the historian Águeda Rocío Moreno, the first wine consumed on the American continent was from the locality of Villalba del Alcor. Furthermore, Juan Ramón Jiménez, poet and Nobel prize recipient, literally drank wine from his beloved Moguer. We are sure of this because he also left a record in his work Platero y yo when he writes in the chapter Elegías that: “come September, if the devil does not dampen the mood, this cup fills, to the brim, of orange wine and spills over almost always like a generous heart”.
There are just two examples of how important wines are for Huelva province, within which is the importance of the Condado de Huelva Denomination of Origin.
Condado primarily produces white wines, although it has some reds and rosés that are quite delicious, one of which we must mention in particular, which also has its own seal of quality: Condado de Huelva Orange Wine.
The Condado de Huelva Denomination of Origin groups the wines produced not only into Moguer, but also into La Palma del Condado, Hinojos, Bollullos Par del Condado, Almonte, Lucena del Puerto, Villarrasa, Palos, Trigueros, Beas, Bonares, Gibraleón, Chucena, Manzanilla, Rociana del Condado, Villalba del Alcor, San Juan del Puerto and Niebla.
Andalucian and Huelva traditions
And now a word about the riches we can find inland. The Andalucian tradition can be strongly felt in Huelva when we eat salmorejo, gazpacho or any dish garnished with the delicious produce from its garden: broad beans with garlic, lemon, vegetable soup or meat and vegetable stews, and the most traditional cuisine based on game.
For drinking in Huelva, which is a land of excellent grapes, we recommend its high quality white wines and liqueurs. Its olive oils and vinegars are also starting to win awards and an interesting gap has been opened with regard to other international products, with Huelva’s products coming to rival those from other Spanish communities in categories such as oranges, asparagus, oils and other garden produce that is having a greater impact. We end our culinary experience with a good dessert and tears of joy: torta de Pascua, polea, huevos nevados… join the queue!
CALDERETA DEL CONDADO
From the Huelva countryside, specifically the Palma del Condado municipality, comes this succulent recipe for suckling lamb accompanied by ham and streaky bacon. This dish must be slow cooked so that the suckling lamb does not disintegrate while cooking.
REVUELTO DE TAGARNINAS
Golden thistle is also a very typical dish in Huelva. This simple recipe has prawn, ham and egg as its ingredients. This surf and turf combination makes for an authentic gourmet dish.
RAYA AL PIMENTÓN
Skate is a cargilaginous fish that, though it does not enjoy much prestige, is truly exquisite. Making this humble dish with skate bought at the port fish market, practically freshly caught, transmits all the flavour of the fishing village.
COQUINAS DE HUELVA AL AJILLO
Garlic clams is one of Huelva cuisine’s most classic recipes and, whether it be a tapa, small plate or main course, appears on the menus of most of the region’s restaurants and tapas bars. The only difficult part of this excellent dish lies in getting all the sand out from inside the clam.
A perrunilla is a convent sweet that could be defined as a kind of tea pastry or biscuit, but that is made with the unmistakable style of Andalucian cuisine. Pork fat, eggs, flour, lemon peel, spirit and powdered cinnamon are the ingredients of this simple and delicious recipe.
Where to stay
If you want to enjoy Huelva, there’s no better option than Fuerte Hoteles, which is why we recommend that you stay at the Hotel Fuerte El Rompido, which enjoys a spectacular location that dominates the entire natural landscape of the River Piedras. Added to this is an Andalucian aesthetic architecture that is in harmony with its environment. Here you can enjoy an 8.7-mile-long virgin beach and also have the Sierra de Huelva nearby, where you can make use of all the open air trails, helping you to stay in shape while being in nature.