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Far too long no blog… but there’s always an excuse. However Andaluz, my new food & travel book, is now finished & in the capable (I hope) hands of my publisher. There’s a long wait before it actually appears, so in the meantime here’s a snippet about my last stop on the trail, the southwest corner of Spain.


I’ve travelled through this area in the past but it really won my heart this time. There’s something special about the sharp contrast between the verdant interior of cork-oak forests and rolling pastures, much loved by the fighting bull population, and the endless, seductively white sand that lines the coast virtually non-stop from Cadiz to Tarifa.

A day spent in Cadiz leaves you on a high – with all neuro-cobwebs swept away. This city is magical, luminous, breezy, packed with baroque and Andalucian gems, as well as possessing a distinct air of north Africa. Not least, it’s the oldest settlement in Europe, founded by the Phoenicians some 3,000 years ago. You get the picture – it is unique.


Last week I experienced a red tuna-feast. Or call it a fest, as it entailed a tasting menu of six little dishes, each one a metamorphosis of that old piscine stalwart – tuna. The degustacion took place at Hispania, a firm favourite of mine on the London tapas-bar scene (see my earlier blog), and in this case was courtesy of guest chef Mauro Barreiro backed up by Cadiz Tourism.


Over the years I’d hate to quantify the time and tempers used up getting lost in the labyrinthine city centres of Andalucia, all thanks to their Moorish lay-out built for heat and donkeys. Last week I found a much easier approach – a train. Above all, a luxury train with en-suite compartment, gourmet meals, top wines and all sense of personal responsibility lobotomised. Specifically, take Al-Andalus, a 1920s look-alike, full of nostalgia though ramped up with all mod-cons. After 8 years rusting away on a siding, it’s now back on track in refurbished splendour. So, how did it go? (click on title for more)