Travel Tips: Six Christmas gifts with Andalusian flavor

Would you like to give gifts with the flavor of Spain this Christmas? Here are some ideas, from marine-flavored olive oil to history-themed wine, all with a distinctively Andalusian taste.

1) Arbequina & Plankton Olive Oil, Castillo de Canena

Angel Leon is Andalusia’s only three-star Michelin chef, for his restaurant Aponiente in El Puerto de Santa Maria, a pretty seaside town in Cadiz province. Known as Chef del Mar (Chef of the Sea), he makes extraordinary culinary creations from fish offal, seafood and even plankton, the tiny algae which are essential food for all maritime life.

Now one of the region’s most renowned olive oil producers, Castillo de Canena of Jaen province, has partnered with Angel to create an arbequina olive oil with sea phytoplankton, the first olive oil with marine microalgae. The microscopic plant life is rich is Omega 3 oils.

With a strong, salty flavor of the sea, this bright green-colored oil is perfect for adding the finishing touch to to raw fish dishes, such as ceviche and tartare, and seafood rices, as well as sauces. Since the plankton is of vegetable origin, the oil’s ingredients are also vegan, so perfect for adding a dash of seaweed taste to vegetarian sushi, for example.


2) Esferas de Plancton Marino, Veta La Palma

Another way to add a marine flavor to your cooking is to use elements which are small but visually arresting and bursting with taste: spheres. Ideally for garnishing a dish, you can get spheres made of olive oil or wine, but these are made from plankton.

Produced using the same microalgae grown in Veta La Palma, an estate in Doñana National Park, for the olive oil mentioned above, in a “marine vegetable garden” , these esferas have an equally intense aroma and taste; they are also available in a (culinary) cream form.  This choice will without a doubt make it on to the «unique culinarary gifts» list.

3) Milla Zero, Colonias de Galeón

As we mentioned in an earlier blog post this year, 2019 marks the 500th anniversary of Magellan’s Round the World voyage, which departed from Seville. To commemorate this fifth centenary, a family-run winery in a town nearby has come up with a fruity red called Milla Zero.

Bodega Colonias de Galeón is located in Cazalla de la Sierra, north of Seville – a region famous for wine production since Cervantes’ time. Milla Zero is 50% French Cabernet and 50% Shiraz. Its label ingeniously traces Magellan’s voyage from Spain to South America, through the Magellan Straits, on to the Philippines, and returning to Seville in 1522.

Either of these wines would make excellent gifts for your family, friends and colleagues.

4) Nave Trinidad Manzanilla en Rama, Barbadillo

Staying with the Magellan theme, but moving to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, the port from where the explorer’s fleet of five ships set sail across the ocean, we have a manzanilla en rama. Made by Bodegas Barbadillo, this is a sherry which is taken straight from the barrel, without being filtered or clarified, and therefore has a unusually intense taste and golden color. Its name, Nave Trinidad, refers to the flagship of Magellan’s fleet, one of the four which sadly did not complete the first-ever circumnavigation of the globe.


5) Flor de Sevilla Gin, Tanqueray

Ask many people what food they associate with Seville, and the answer will be the oranges, which glow golden on the trees from December. They’re as much a part of the city as the Giralda or Plaza de España, and are a special bitter variety which is used to make orange marmalade. So we couldn’t miss out on this fabulously zesty gin, made with Seville oranges.

A botanically-based spirit with a bittersweet citrus burst, Tanqueray’s gin is a little taste of Seville for gin lovers.

6) Tentiles tableware

Finally, in case you think we’re only about gastronomy (though that’s largely true), we bring you these beautiful items themed around original azulejos, ceramic tiles made in the Triana barrio of Seville. Tentiles is owned by an art historian who is an expert in restoring historic tiles. Having helped to create Triana’s Tile Museum, she designs these exquisite pieces herself. Without a doubt, they will make excellent gifts!

The store has a colorful collection of mats, trays, aprons and other goods to brighten up your kitchen with Andalusian shades of vivid yellow, blue and green – tempered glass plate mats and drinks coasters are useful for entertaining,  while fabric items such as cotton tea towels and aprons have designs based on rare tiles dating from the 17th century of sturgeon (the freshwater fish which produce caviar). All are pretty enough to decorate as much as be practical. If you’re visiting the city and want to check out their store, it’s at Calle Gamazo 12, near Plaza Nueva.