The medieval city of Cordoba stands out for its peaceful co-existence of three religions—Islamic, Jewish, and Christian. While the spectacular architecture and cultural blend is a major draw for travellers, I’m here on a mission to uncover the amazing food of this Andalusian city. My initiation into the cuisine starts with two local favourites: Salmorejo, a cold and creamy soup made with tomato, bread, olive oil, vinegar, and garlic, served at almost every tavern and bar (it comes with small pieces of hard-boiled eggs and Iberico ham). The other is frituras that comes in three kinds: croquettes fried in extra virgin olive oil; eggplant slices fried in honey; Iberico pork fillet rolled in Iberico ham, coated with flour and eggs, and then fried in olive oil.
In just two dishes, and these ones at that, any gourmand can feel pinned to Cordoba. The following day at breakfast, I dig into toston, a toast generously sprinkled with fresh orange juice and olive oil, and topped with sugar and cinnamon. No butter or jam. To this, the cheerful waitress has a simple explanation: “The Romans brought the olives and the Moors introduced sugar, citrus fruit, and spices from the East.”
My guide Lourdes furthers my knowledge on local food by taking me to Salon de Te, a Moorish-style hookah bar, for a Bedouin mint tea. Beautifully decorated with patterned tiles, the bar has a spectacular courtyard surrounded by rooms, and offers a relaxed ambiance for evening rendevouz. If you’re in Cordoba for two nights, there is hardly any time to take a break from the gastronomic delights—there is so much to be experienced. Just after tea though, we feel the need to settle for some evening walk. A stroll on the banks of the Guadalquivir River brings us to a delightful stretch of open-air restaurants, most of which come highly recommended.