Thursday, 4 August 2016

El Puerto de Santa María - Sherrycountry's foodie destination

El Puerto de Santa María is a typical Andalusian small town which impresses with its restaurants.

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El Puerto de Santa María is a small town located about a 20 minute train ride from Cádiz (one way ticket approximately €5, for timetables please see here)

What makes it special, are those two first letters in its name: El. They are courtesy of a royal decree that even capital Madrid can't boast.

During the Arab conquerors' era the town was known as Alcanatif; port of salt. Reason was that was the salt trade already Phoenicians and Romans were famous for. 

After the Reconquista in 1260 Alfonso X renamed the city in the honour of Virgin Mary. The city held a very special placein his heart and he tells of his swollen feet being healed after a visit to his church here.

(See, this was about 600 years before the invention of compression stockings, after all...)

Located on the banks river Guadalete the town's port has played a significant part later in the history, too: this is where Columbus set sail on his second trip to America in 1500.

These days El Puerto de Santa María is...well, very similar to all the hundreds of others Andalusian small towns. 

Its main attractions consist of churches and old palaces: much like Cádiz, this used to be home to several wealthy merchants who made a fortune with trade between Spain and America.

One of the landmarks is Antigua Lonja, the old fish market, which the locals call El Resbaladero. Not that it houses a market any more, mind. Pubs, yes. 

There is a small market in town and though rather charming, it's got nothing on its Cádiz counterpart.

The little streets surrounding Mercado de Abastos de Concepción are full of small tapas bars - perfect for lunch. The other option is to sample the delights vendors sell around the market. Right now snails, caracoles, were in season. 

They have absolutely nothing to do with their French cousins, cheerfully floating in a sea of butter, garlic and herbs - the taste has without exception been nasty.

The terraces of small tabancos serve as a reminder of what the town lives off (in addition to tourism, that is): wine. 

El Puerto de Santa María forms the third corner in the Bermuda triangle that is Sherry country. The other two? Jerez de la Frontera and Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

And hey - I doubt anyone's managed to visit Spain without running into this? You can read more about its colourful history on the blog over here.

The bull, a familiar sight on the Spanish roadsides is known all over the world, but it is here in El Puerto de Santa María where its story begins. 

Originally it was launched as advertizing campaign by Osborne's sherry house, but it soon became a national symbol. 

You can learn more about both Osborne's products and the story of the bull on a visit to the bodega, which is conveniently located less than 10 minute walk from the city centre. 

For blog's virtual tour of the bodega's cellars in all their glory, just click yourself over here.

For a foodie traveller El Puerto de Santa María is an interesting destination. Town is home to the only 2 Michelin star restaurant in the province: Àngel León's Aponiente (tasting menus not including the beverages start at €165)  

For a smaller budget an absolute find is El Faro del Puerto, also recommended by the Michelin guide and this is where we'll be feasting on the next blog post over here!

* The trip was organized in collaboration with Cadiz Tourism *



Jerez Alcazar 18      


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