Never, ever drink Vino on its own if you want to fit in with the locals
Spanish drinking culture is complex. Spaniards don’t leave the house with the intention of having a skinful. In Spain, you go out to meet people, to eat and talk, and liquid refreshment is just a part of the process.
Beer isn’t considered alcohol in Spain. You’ll find it listed with the refrescos (fizzy soft drinks). Most Spaniards prefer draught beer to the bottled variety. It’s cheaper and you can select your quantity – anything from a cañita (around a third of a pint) to a tubo litro (a big, big glass).
Lunch is the most important meal of the day, and can last for hours, even during the working week. The culture involves meeting for a pre-lunch drink. It exists mainly as a way to ease yourself into the food marathon which will dominate your day.
The Spanish are justifiably proud of their wines. What you won’t see is groups of locals sharing a bottle. They don’t as a rule like to drink wine without food.
The exception is sherry, which ranges from the bone-dry fino to the deep, rich, sticky Pedro Ximenez, and there’s a variety to suit every taste in between.
At the ferias or town fairs everyone drinks fino or manzanilla. But a long evening’s partying can turn into a morning hangover, so the solution is rebujito – a sherry spritzer.
Mixing wine and soft drinks is commonplace in Spain. Everyone knows about sangria, that downfall of so many tourists. Locals prefer a simpler version: the tinto de verano. It really hits the spot in the summer heat.
We might look aghast at a Spaniard adding coke to his late-night whisky, but when the measure fills half the glass, you need something to slow down your alcohol intake. Collapsing in a heap would never do for a self-respecting local. And if he did, he’d miss the rest of the night and that fantastic, glutinous, hot chocolate as dawn breaks on the way home.
- Hiking and Walking
- National/State Park
La Alpujarra gastronomy embraces two native gastronomic sources – Moors and Christian. As game is plentiful and hunting is still a major past-time, venison, wild boar, partridge and locally caught trout, is often on the menu.
Typical fare is hearty, rustic and very rich in calories. Some of the typical dishes are: country dumplings, hot pot a la gitanilla, kid a lo cortijero, delicious Alpujarra soup (with almonds), papas a lo pobre (poor man’s potatoes) and sacromonte omelette. Pork and lamb dishes are also very popular. Perhaps the best know speciality is Jámon Serrano, the famous mountain-air-cured ham from Trevélez. Another speciality is black pudding.
All of this can be washed down with local wine from the Contraviesa, Albuñol, Albondón and Laujar de Andarax.
La Alpujarra also has a wide variety of cakes and dainties, again of Moorish-Andalucia origin, such as Pampaneira doughnuts, Morisco sweets and soplillos. You may often buy these from stalls in the local or travelling markets, and are nearly always to be found at local fiestas. The honey and jam from La Alpujarra is also delicious.
As little as only two years ago, most if not all, menus were only available in Spanish, but today, most restaurants and hotels have menus in English, French and German.