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Falling in Love with Gourmet Spain

Spanish cuisineIf food is the language of love, then Spain must be the most romantic place on earth; a country capable of producing such a dazzling array fruits, vegetables, olives and cured delicacies, tantalizing the taste buds with so many kinds of tapas, melt-in-the-mouth Jamón, sweet fresh seafood, and olive oil so good that other countries merely try to pass it off as their own.

This is a country which boasts not only some of the worlds best chefs, but a cuisine which has taken the world by storm, as trendy Spanish eateries spring up in major cities across the globe.  Its hardly surprising given the rich cultural influences of Spain´s chequered past, and the legacy we enjoy today is a delicious, wholesome and surprisingly creative cuisine that is as much a part of the deep culture of Spain´s different regions as it is respected by the rest of the world.

Food is also the one ingredient capable of enriching travel experiences like no other, which is why it plays such a huge part in what we do at Toma Tours.  “Typical dishes” from different regions of a country often have their roots in history, with recipes passed down through the generations.  The whole art involved in creating and celebrating those dishes can be as much of an experience as the eating itself – this is certainly true here in Spain, and there´s no better excuse to try some of it!

Andalucia is itself one of the most varied provinces in Spain, and so goes its food.  Here we have full-on village festivals celebrating such simple things as chestnuts, cured ham, cheese and even bread, and among our typical dishes you can enjoy all manner of fresh seafood,  tomato rich Gazpacho or Salmorejo, smooth olive oils from the countryside around Granada, Seville, Jaen and Cordoba, and of course one of Spain´s most notable exports, wine.  Not to be missed in Andalucia is the white wine from Cadiz which is just made for seafood, and of course the magnificent Sherry from Jerez.

We consider ourselves lucky to work with some amazing companies and individuals with a passion for gourmet Spain and Spanish culture, and we are always looking forward to sharing new experiences with our guests.  So I will leave you now with a favourite recipe of ours which is super easy to recreate at home, and is a dish that was mentioned more than once when we asked the question “Whats your Favourite Tapa?” on our Facebook Page


Gambas Pil Pil (Garlic Prawns)Spanish tapas

These tasty prawns are extremely popular in Spain, and rarely will you find a menu that doesn’t have them. Gambas Pil Pil is a really simple dish to make… but do be careful of the hot oil.

You will need either a heavy base frying pan, or one of those terracotta dishes you find in restaurants all over Spain (see image to the right for an example)


  • Olive oil
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic – finely sliced
  • A good teaspoon of paprika (smoked or sweet is fine)
  • A handful of raw prawns per person, shelled (and deveined if you prefer)
  • One fresh chilli, very finely sliced. Up to you if you include the seeds or not

Gambas Pil Pil Method

Here is where Gambas Pil Pil gets really easy! Pour about 1/4 inch of olive oil into your pan or dish, and heat over a medium / high heat.

Sprinkle in the paprika and stir well.

Throw in the garlic, chillies and prawns.

They will cook very quickly. So turn your prawns as soon as they start to turn pink. It will only take a minute or so. We have also successfully cooked this with cooked prawns – so if that’s easier for you… dig in!

Carry the pan / dish very carefully to the table and serve with plenty of fresh bread for mopping up that awesome chilli/garlic oil.

You may wish to have a heat resistant coaster or similar to place your pan on so it doesn’t burn your table.


with thanks to our friend Elle from Spain Buddy


TOMA & COE have several day trips with a delicious foodie element, including our Spanish Cookery days which always proves popular with our visitors to the Costa del Sol.  Our city tours and private itineraries always satisfy gourmet curiosities, so do get in touch at any time for more details.

For a more in-depth immersion into Spanish Gastronomy do check out our wonderful Andalucian Gourmet Cooking Holiday based at a country residence high in the Sierra de Aracena, Seville.

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