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As is to be supposed, the gastronomy of the Sierra de las Nieves is based on the richness and variety of the local produce and the vast quantity of fruit and wild products from the mountains. Meat, seasonal fruit and vegetables of all kinds, olives, almonds and figs, cereals and an endless selection of beans and pulses, are served with asparagus, mushrooms, edible thistles, an infinity of aromatic plants, or wild fruits and berries, and of course the prized and highly tasty pieces of game. History, tradition, ingenuity and even, at times, necessity, have been able to combine all these excellent raw materials to obtain results that are “finger-licking good”.


Sierra de las Nieves offers almost all of the dishes typical of universal Mediterranean cuisine in which the omnipresent olive is the basic ingredient. Salads, scrambled eggs with asparagus or mushrooms, pork-based charcuterie products, and goats’ cheese are usually found in the first course. The traditional thick soups, hotpot, casserole, the different soups or cold gazpacho in summer are the main alternatives when it comes to choosing how to begin your meal.

For the second course, roast or stewed meat, whether pork, baby goat or lamb, flavoured with herbs from the Sierra, are predominant, although there are also some well-known recipes using fish from the nearby coast.

To finish, as a sweet, there is a rich variety of tarts, pastries, sponge cakes, fritters, patties, honey-fritters, biscuits, all home-made and based on almonds, chestnuts, walnuts and honey from the region.

But out of all of this great variety of dishes, many of which are common to the cuisine of Malaga, Andalusia or the Mediterranean, there are some plates that are special and exclusive to these villages. Dishes and recipes that demonstrate the special culinary know-how that has been handed down from mothers to daughters, thus conserving the preparation and presentation of their completely home-made origin. These dishes, which until recently were only to be found in the homes of the locals, appear more and more on the menus of restaurants, permitting visitors to become more familiar with the flavours of the Sierra de las Nieves.


The first example could be olives in marinade. In some of the villages of the Sierra de las Nieves the table is never laid without putting a plate of olives split and dressed in the traditional way. The variety that is cultivated in the villages is the olive known as “manzanilla” which, once split and sweetened in brine, is then dressed with olives, fennel, thyme and pieces of red pepper. Alozaina and Casarabonela are large producers of this variety of olive for preparing this way, although they are also to be found in the rest of the villages.

Also worthy of mention are the soups. Almost all the villages have their own typical and traditional recipes, one of which is based on the bread left over from the day before. The various added ingredients, special to each village, give the soup its own personality. The best known are the so-called “sopas hervías con espárragos”, (soup with asparagus), soup Mondeña (from Monda), “caldo pon cima” in Alozaina, soup of “los siete ramales” in El Burgo or corn (on or off the cob) soup in Istán. In many cases, the custom is for these soups to be the only dish served for lunch, accompanied by bits of cucumber, onion, melon and even oranges.

Another special dish is the pipeo, very typical and traditional in Casarabonela, although is also frequently found in other nearby villages. The main ingredient of this dish is the tender young broad beans, which are cooked together with lettuce and a number of other fresh products from the kitchen garden. The result is inevitably delicious.


Also frequent in the range of first courses is the gazpachuelo from Málaga, which contains breadcrumbs, rice, potato and also some pieces of fish, depending on the variety.

Whilst spicy chorizo sausage, morcilla (black pudding) and salchichón are traditionally made from parts of pork in the butchers’ shops of all the villages, the most emblematic is the morcón. A large pork intestine is filled with pork loin to which is added the filling of the black sausage or the chorizo, all cooked together. The result, apart from being spectacular, is extremely succulent.

Also originating from livestock activity, is a very special dish served on holiday occasions. The caldereta is a casserole in which bay leaves, pepper and wine give a special touch to the goat meat, often served with potatoes. In Yunquera this stew is never absent from the table in any feast day or celebration worth mentioning.

Game dishes are particularly appreciated. Rabbit and partridge, casseroled or roasted, retain the flavour of the mountain through the use of a wide range of aromatic herbs used in the recipes. Several restaurants specialize in these dishes.

To accompany these dishes, or simply to drink while having tapas, the ideal is the mosto wine from Tolox or Yunquera. These young wines, will very low alcohol content are still produced entirely by traditional methods on hand-worked wine-presses, and are stored in large barrels in the wine-cellars of the old bars still found in the villages.

Sweets and desserts also have their own personality. Some of the better know are the almond desserts from Guaro. Tarts, little doughnuts, sponge-cake and biscuits made in the same way for centuries, have as a basic ingredient this fruit that is so widely cultivated in the area. Fresh goat’s cheese accompanied by cane sugar from the Sierra is another of the most traditional and popular desserts.



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Association for the Rural Development of Sierra de las Nieves

Edificio Sierra de las Nieves, Paraje de Río Grande-Las Millanas, s/n - 29109- Tolox (Málaga) - Phone: 952 48 28 21 - Fax: 952 48 29 44