The global tourism market is expected to reach a value of €1,5 billion by 2027, garnering a 16.8 per cent compound annual growth rate between 2020 and 2027 – as reported by


The global tourism market is expected to reach a value of €1,5 billion by 2027, garnering a 16.8 per cent compound annual growth rate between 2020 and 2027 – as reported by


Travellers aren’t necessarily seeking to dine lavishly but rather to do so adventurously, immersing themselves in new cultures and trying locally produced foods and ingredients made with tradition and pride. Whether you are new to Andalucía or you simply wish to savour more award-winning cheese, wines, and other gourmet foods, why not book a culinary escape? Some manufacturers permit visitors to visit their grounds and preparation areas in addition to sampling their wares. Below are just a few suggestions that may inspire you.

Heading to Cinco Jotas: The Heart of Jamón de Jabugo

The name Cinco Jotas is synonymous with the finest quality, acorn-fed, 100 per cent Ibérico ham – considered a national treasure in Spain. Cinco Jotas, founded in the year 1879, invites those wishing to learn more about the different stages involved in making traditional Jabugo ham, to visit its installations. Begin your journey in the old, natural drying facilities (the heart of Cinco Jotas’ cellars), where various elements are united in the natural processing of hams – including the careful treatment of each ham leg. In days of old, ham legs were hung in this space for over six months prior to the tradition known as the ‘descent of the ham’ (bajada de jamón). On this occasion, a party was held to share the fruits of the makers’ painstaking labour and dedication with the village of Jabugo.

You can then head to the cellar called ‘Los Fundadores’ (The Founders) – a curing cellar in which thousands of ham legs hang for three years to achieve the perfect point of curation within natural temperatures and humidity levels.
Next, get ready to engage your competitive side, taking part in a fun interactive game in which you will be called upon to answer questions about the information your guide has just given you. Finally, enjoy a ham tasting session led by a maestro cortador (expert ham cutter) and, if you wish, head to the meadow (pasture), where you can see the pigs grazing on the bounties of the land. Within these scenic landscapes, it is easy to glean the importance of the montanera (the season during which acorns fall from the tree to nourish the pigs).

There are two tours to opt for. The Essence of Cinco Jotas tour lasts one hour and includes a guided visit to the cellars and a ham tasting paired with wine. The second, The Cinco Jotas Experience, lasts for four hours and includes the full experience (including the meadow visit).

There is no better way to end your day than with a little shopping. Cinco Jotas’ artisans (all of which boast over 25 years’ experience) will accompany you to the curing cellar shop to select the perfect ham.
Guided visits are available in various languages, but make sure to book beforehand.

Sipping Sherry at Bodegas Tío Pepe in Jerez

Jerez de la Frontera, ensconced in the north of the serene Guadalquivir river, is known as the cradle of sherry, an area that is home to acre upon acre of fields bearing albariza – an airily light, chalky soil that is ideal for growing Palomino grapes because of its unique capacity to trap water deep within it and to release hydration slowly over the summer so that the grapevines are nourished to perfection.
Jerez is also home to a plethora of bodegas – including Osborne, Caballero, Barbadillo, and González Byass, many of which offer unique tasting visits that highlight the areas long history and invite visitors to contemplate the beauty of its vineyards and witness the manufacturing and ageing process that take place within the bodegas.

If you have never been on a sherry tour, we suggest a pre-booked visit to Tío Pepe (belonging to González Byass and founded in 1853). Tío Pepe is arguably best known for its finos and its Soberano and Lepanto brandies, but it also makes a renowned range of amontillados, olorosos, palo cortados, natural sweet wines, and blends. The winery is also strong in wine tourism and offers various visits which invite guests to discover the history of the winery, contemplate the beauty of the Villa Victoria gardens and the vineyards, and step inside various bodegas (including the Lepanto brandy bodega).

There are three ‘simple’ tasting experiences to choose from: the five-wine, nine-wine, and tasting and pairing tours, respectively. The latter includes a tasting of five sherry wines paired with five gourmet tapas.
Those wishing a longer experience should opt for the Deluxe, Super Deluxe, or Cycling Tours. The Deluxe Tour features exclusive bottles from the Solera Exclusives Range (which have been stored for over 30 years), a viewing of venencia (the process from which sherry is extracted directly from the butt), and wine tasting with Andalucían tapas or a paired lunch. The Super Deluxe Tour includes breakfast, the discovery of the expertise that goes into the cultivation of Pedro Ximénez and Palomino grapes, exclusive access to the world’s largest sherry wine collection, and a paired lunch. Finally, the Cycling Tour comprises a pleasant bike ride through the most scenic areas of the complex, followed by a visit to the vineyards and cellars – where you can sip on three types of sherry.

Tío Pepe also offers bespoke tours for companies, organisations, and members of the press so if a special group occasion is coming up, this spot might be perfect for a celebration.
Tours are conducted in different languages and can be booked on Tel: 956 357 016.

Savouring Wine at Bodega García Hidalgo in Ronda

Miguel Ángel García Pereila, oenologist, founded Bodega García Hidalgo in 2006 in the fertile Guadalcobacín Valley, nestled in the Cruz de Ronda plain – a land that is bathed by the waters of the Guadalcobacín River. García Hidalgo is a family winery – one whose founders have taken great care to grow and care for the vineyards and to produce artisanal wines made using traditional methods and natural fertilisers.

The location of the vineyards – perched at 500m above sea level – lends the soil the characteristics it needs to produce excellent grapes. The vineyards contain Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot grapes, which are harvested by hand and placed into small boxes that are quickly transported. Only the very best grape bunches, those which have ripened to perfection, are chosen to make wine.

The bodega offers six different options for those wishing to pay the vineyards a visit. Option one includes a visit plus a tasting of three wines; option two includes three wines plus tapas from Ronda and seasonal products; option three features a visit, four wines, tapas, seasonal products, a tasting of ecological olive oil and homemade bread, paella, and dessert. Option four includes a tasting and a stay at the bodega, option five offers a stay at the bodega in an apartment or in double rooms with their own bathroom, and option six is a special tasting, catered to your tastes.

The bottles served depend on the dishes (if any) provided. Usually, a tasting of four wines begins with a glass of dry white Moscatel, followed by a Syrah rosé, a crianza red featuring three grape varieties, and finally, the bodega’s star bottle: Zabel de Alcobazín – a premium reserva bearing a mature tannin flavour with a warm finish and a matured fruity (blackcurrant/redcurrant) fragrance with a hint of cherry liquor.

All visits include time spent at the vineyards, production area, and wine barrel zone. Book your visit in advance or ask the staff for advice regarding the best tasting tour for you.
You can also check out the bodega’s products in their online store, which features white, red, and rosé bottles.

Experiencing the Melt-in-the-Mouth Goodness of Payoyo Cheese

If you read our feature on the mountainside paradise that is the Sierra de Grazalema, where pine forests, verdant hiking trails and stunning water features abound, then you may have already seen us waxing lyrical about the award-winning Payoyo cheese – itself meritorious of a drive up the winding road that leads to Ronda, then Grazalema. In between your hiking and swimming adventures, make it a point to try the many types of cheese made by Queso Payoyo, S.L. – a company founded in 1996 by Carlos Ríos Moreno and Andrés Piña Calle.

This association patented the name Payoyo cheese, which, they remind us, “isn’t a type of cheese, nor is it made with the milk of a determined breed of goats. It is a patented, legally recognised brand. Despite this fact, our cheese can be associated with the goat breed payoya-montejaqueña, though the latter was catalogued after we registered our brand. Previously, this goat breed was referred to as serrana.”

Queso Payoyo makes its cheese from goats’ milk, sheeps’ milk and a blend of the two. They also sell cheese in manteca, rosemary, wheat bran, and paprika.

Queso Payoyo has received 212 prizes (national and international), taking home 17 at the World Cheese Awards 2018/2019, celebrated in Bergen, Norway. The brand also received a maximum of three stars (for its semi-cured goats’ cheese) at the Great Taste Awards in London in 2018.

The company does not receive visits at its manufacturing installations for sanitary reasons, but it does have a finca in Grazalema called Las Hazuelas, where you can enjoy a group tasting session. In addition to tucking into an array of cheese types, visitors watch a video about the cheese-making process and view goats and sheeps in their pastures. Tasting experiences should be booked in advance so contact the friendly staff if you’re ready to try a flavour-packed, buttery cheese with a characteristic, irresistible flavour.

Tasting the Wonders of Award-Winning Extra-Virgin Olive Oil at Finca La Torre

Finca La Torre in Antequera has achieved great things in the world of olive oil production, having received impressive prizes and ratings – including a 100/100 classification at the renowned Flos Olei Competition for its Hojiblanca extra-virgin olive oil and the award for the best intense green fruity oil for this product at Sabor a Málaga 2021.

The company, founded in 1998 and built in an area that was once an imperial Roman city, produces its oil according to biodynamic principles, which are considered a step up from organic farming, since they involve optimal land care and soil protection and embrace natural means of pest control.

Finca La Torre offers two-hour tasting tours in English and Spanish. Guests can visit the vineyards, learn more about the process of production, and try different oils. The aim of these visits is to raise awareness about the elaborate process involved in making high-quality extra-virgin olive oil.

The visits comprise between one and 60 people and you can opt for breakfast or lunch if you wish. Breakfast consists of coffee, juice, infusions, water, and toast with olive oil and tomato. Lunch, meanwhile, includes a cheese platter with arbequina olive oil, tomato with Hojiblanca oil, and an arroz caldoso with meat. Dessert is a fruit brochette with olive oil and lemon and drinks include water and refreshments. Visits should be booked in advance.

Tasting Experiences in Marbella

Giving in to your adventurous side and taking an Andalucían road trip is perfect when you have a few free days but if our article has inspired you to savour a gourmet tasting closer to home, you might enjoy the wine and cheese tasting experience (featuring a selection of Andalucían artisanal products) offered at the nearby Anantara Villa Padierna.

D-Wine, located in the Azalea Commercial Centre (between the Golden Mile and Puerto Banús) is another spot that is perfect for a bespoke wine tasting with tapas or a fabulous gourmet meal, whipped up by culinary whiz Edmund Cicans (a Latvian-born Chef who has honed his craft for over 15 years at top establishments along the Coast). This establishment has a highly knowledgeable staff (including sommeliers) who can surprise you with outstanding bottles, as well as the biggest collection of Spanish wines in the world. After your tasting, buy a bottle or two for enjoyment at home.

If tapas set your heart on fire, meanwhile, contact Taste Marbella for a tour around the Old Town. This company offers three different tour options, all of which last for three hours and include food and beverage tastings. Tours number one and three are undertaken in small groups of 10 people maximum while tour number two (the Private Food Tours & Corporate Experiences tour) accommodates up to 30 people.