Within Spain the gastronomy of Andalucia is not considered worthy of a seat at the top table. Having lived there for many years, I think this is a mistake. In understanding the food of any Spanish region, one must first look at the history of gastronomy there. Andalucia was for centuries the poorest part of Spain and people had to make do with whatever they could lay their hands on, or pick from the trees. Times have changed and, just as cities such as Granada, Seville and Jerez are now much wealthier places, the food on offer in Andalucia is in every sense richer than it once was.If you are buying your own ingredients then the local weekly markets are awash with fresh vegetables and fruit. You will also be well supplied with fresh fish, plentiful pork, great gazpacho and superb serrano ham. Dishes will comprise of some of the best produce grown locally. Olives, almonds, lemons and oranges are used in cooking or in refreshing salads. All along the coastline of Andalucia you will be served freshly landed seafood and fish. Sardines are always popular and can often be found being grilled on the beach itself outside frontline restaurants. The Moors ruled here for 800 years and Arab influence has left its mark on the cooking in the region. Kebabs, meatballs and the use of spices in cooking are so typical of what the Moors left behind. Tapas originated in Andalucia, and in the province of Granada, these often delightful small snacks are served free with your drinks in a bar. Alcohol itself is used often in the preparation of main meals. Especially Sherry from places such as Jerez and Sanlúcar de Barrameda.Serrano ham is air dried, cured ham that is a speciality of the mountain villages of La Alpujarra, high above Granada. People drive many miles to sample local ham and it is exported worldwide. The pig is omnipresent in Andalucia. Locals love pork and the chorizo and morcilla sausages are signature meat dishes in Andalucia.