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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.

CostaDeLaLuz+aloe+cactus

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.

Spain+Cadiz+cathedral+back


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.

Mauro+Barreiro+chef


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)