Magazine article The Spectator

Tasting New Traditions in Andalucía

Magazine article The Spectator

Tasting New Traditions in Andalucía

Article excerpt

Lara Prendergast finds delicacies amid the dilapidation in Andalucía

There was much talk about the anti-austerity party Podemos when we visited Andalucía in June. It was hot and sunny, and the orange trees smelt wonderful, but at the same time, youth unemployment sat at 49 per cent, second only to Greece, and that seemed to be what people wanted to chat about.

Podemos, which means 'we can' in Spanish, does seem to have generated some hope for bright but frustrated young things, many of whom have given up hope of ever finding a professional job. In Seville, a story was doing the rounds about a low-paid receptionist job that had received 2,000 applications, although tales like this were apparently not unusual. Faced with little hope of finding an office job, many young Spaniards have turned their hand to more traditional pursuits, the results of which may be of interest to travellers looking for something a bit different.

In Seville, the graphic artist Miguel Brieva has made a name for himself with his drawings that focus on the economic crisis, which he exhibits around the city. Others are reverting to older skills such as blacksmithing or flamenco music. David Ciudad, who previously worked as a marine biologist, has set up a cookery school in an old outbuilding. He combines this with tapas tours of the city. He's called his enterprise Not Just A Tourist -- and it takes you directly to his pick of the city's top places to eat, drink and be merry. In the Triana neighbourhood -- which he compared to Brooklyn -- we dined on meaty cuts of pork, marinated carrots and small vials of fino sherry. Later, we dived into a bustling bar in the pottery district for plates of salt cod, quail's eggs and Ibérico ham. As jobs go, his must beat being a receptionist.

What's more, many are using technology to support their endeavours. In David's case, sites such as TripAdvisor have helped his small business to flourish. In Linares de la Sierra -- a pretty whitewashed village in the Huelva region with a population of 300 -- Arrieros, the restaurant, is thriving. This is partly thanks to a WhatsApp group that helps the owners Luismi and Adela speak directly with producers in the area, to find out what is available. It's a simple idea, but it means that local producers can avoid going to market -- often a costly undertaking -- and the restaurant can offer food that is seasonal, cheap and delicious. …

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