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Almond – dry fruit which is part of traditional Malaga’s cuisine

Diputación de Málaga
15.	Almond Trees in blossom

Almond – dry fruit which is part of traditional Malaga’s cuisine

The most popular type is ‘marcona’ due to its size and flavour. There are a lot of them in Málaga

Almonds are the main kind of dry fruit which are grown in this province. Almond groves cover a surface of more than 16,000 hectares which result in production of 4000 tones of almonds.  Marcona, largueta and comuna are the most common varieties if almonds that are grown here, although guara has also been introduced recently.

The most popular and the one that appeals to most people is definitely marcona.  This kind is harvested before others in this area. It is big and round, and the province of Málaga is a plentiful source of them. They are the best for baking industry. Even though they are the most delicate kind, they are the tastiest one. The kind called larguetas is smaller and narrower, and it is commonly used as a snack or an appetiser.  Comuna, as a mix of different varieties, which is mostly used in cooking. Finally, there is guara, which blossoms later than others.

Recipes

Today, this dry fruit is the most important ingredient of some of typical traditional dishes in Málaga such as the soups ajoblanco and porra blanca (the latter one is thicker), young goat with rural gravy, small-spotted catshark stew or, for example, meatloaves in almond sauce.

It is also important for the baking industry in the villages in the Guadalhorce and Guadalteba Valleys, in La Axarquía, and so on. Therefore, we can see that the pie from Cártama (which can only be bought in Cártama), the biscuits from Ardales, 'farmstead bread' or 'pan de cortijo' (cookies made of almond and sugar in Cuevas de San Marcos), traditional biscuits mantecados and crumbly shortbread biscuits polvorones, are some of artisan sweets that can be found in the bakeries from the above areas.

Salty and sweet almonds can be also purchased in Málaga City. In the old town, there are still stalls where they are sold. There are plenty of places in the city centre where you can buy them as a snack in traditional paper cones.

Co-operative Almensur is one of the most famous companies which is dedicated to almonds production, and whose farmers harvest round a hundred thousand kilogrammes of almonds a year. Sometimes, this company from the Guadalhorce Valley even transforms almonds in other products, such as caramel-coated sweets or Christmas nougats.

Areas

Almond trees have decorated hills in the areas of the Guadalhorce Valley, Málaga Mountains or the higher area of La Axaquía for ages. There is a route which connects these areas with very varied landscape, but all dedicated to almond trees growing. From Periana to Ardales, there is a long route which can be used to admire wonderful scenery created by these trees in certain parts of the year.

Origin

The almond tree was probably introduced by Phoenicians, although Arabs were the people who used them most in cooking. Actually, from the period of Al-Andalus kingdom to nowadays, plenty of recipes of sweets and different dishes have been created with almonds as their main ingredient. Traditional Málaga's cuisine, as well as Andalusian one, cannot be separated from one of its main ingredients - almond, which has become one of the most rooted traditional products besides olive oil and wine.

Beautiful Landscape

This dry fruit not only has improved food industry in the last millennium, but it has also created beautiful landscapes, above all when these trees blossom between January and February, and colour the surroundings in white and pinkish shades that signal the beginning of spring. The connection that the province has with this fruit is also obvious due to traditional festivals which form part of the Unique Tourist Festivities in the Province. Some of them are Almonds Day in Almogía or Ajoblaco Festival in Almáchar, both in September. Other towns, such as Guaro, celebrate Day of the Almond Tree on the last Sunday of January when these trees blossom.

Purchase

If you would like to purchase almnonds form Málaga, you can do so through the producers which form part of the brand 'Taste of  Málaga'.