<img height='1' width='1' style='display:none' src='https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=525854722307953&ev=PageView&noscript=1' />
EN ▾

Cart Panel

Home / Learn About Spain /  Andalucía


- by Don Harris

curemaster with hanging mohama dried tunaAndalucía is an amazing place rich in its monuments, warm and engaging people, abundant citrus fruits and fresh produce, and incredible variety of seafood. It is a virtual cornucopia of shrimp, langostinos and any fish one can imagine.

Where to start writing about Andalucía? With the fabled castles and wine bodegas, the city streets lined with orange-laden trees, the rugged snow capped mountains and endless beaches, or the olive groves which stretch beyond the horizon? Andalucía is a simply fabulous and romantic destination; it is a place of fervor and fiesta. After more than forty years of traveling there, our family still has places in Andalucía which we want to visit for the first time.

It seems many civilizations have shared our attraction to this sun-swathed portion of the Iberian Peninsula. In beautiful Cartagena, Medina Sidonia or Cádiz you will see evidence of Carthaginians and Phoenicians. Andalucía contributed significantly to the Roman Empire: it is the birthplace of Hadrian, and provided nearly all of the olive oil used in Rome. Greeks and Visigoths also left their marks there for over 700 years, and called it Al Andaluz.
glass of sherry and plate of fried fish on the beach
Standing on the shores of Tarifa, you are at the western boundary of many an ancient civilization. To your right, wind surfers ply the pounding waves of the Atlantic. Straight ahead of you, south across the gentle Mediterranean, you can see the mysterious mountains of North Africa, the land of Berbers and Moors. It is only eight miles way.

It was right here that the Muslims crossed over into Christian Spain in 711 AD and established the amazing culture of Al Andaluz, which, for centuries, was the envy of the Mediterranean Basin. The Moorish era came to a close in 1492 AD with the surrender of Granada to Fernando and Isabel, Los Reyes Católicos. They are buried overlooking the glorious Alhambra, a former seat of Muslim power, just as Columbus is buried in the great cathedral in Sevilla with its Giralda tower (formerly a minaret). Although we regularly visit these historic places, we find that simply standing quietly in the Mesquita, the Mosque of Córdoba, is a spiritual experience unto itself.

Most significant for us are the people: the garrulous and generous Andalucíans. They live a life of intimacy and warmth that spills over into just about every contact we have with them. They freely share their lives with one another – and with us. This is especially expressed in a seemingly endless series of festive public gatherings.
silhouette of osborne bull sign in front of sunset
Each city and village sets aside nearly a month to celebrate the Christmas and Three Kings' Day holidays. Not long after, the ancient city of Cádiz stages its fabled carnaval. Next is Semana Santa, Holy Week, celebrated in pious efforts of small cities, and the amazing processions of Granada, Córdoba, Málaga and Sevilla.

There are ferias to visit one after another from early spring until summer, such as the amazing Feria de Abril in Sevilla, the courtly Feria del Caballo in Jerez de la Frontera with its parade of exquisite Andalucían horses drawing classic carriages. At other times we enjoy a 'hometown' fair in El Puerto de Santa María, and later go to Sanlúcar de Barrameda to share the joy, the alegría, of the two other sister sherry cities.

Perhaps the most extraordinary experience our family has witnessed is the Rocío, a pilgrimage of up to a million people on Pentecost. On their way to venerate La Paloma, the Virgin whose image resides in the dusty town of Almonte, pilgrims converge on the banks of the Doñana National Park, which is a wildlife preserve. Many families with flamenco-dressed women of all sorts and sizes make the pilgrimage in rustic painted wagons, vans and carts, punctuating their journey with flamenco guitars and song – and lots of manzanilla sherry.


+ Add a Comment


"I visited Leesburg in Dec. and was unaware of your store. I have just found you and thank you for being online. I used to live in Mijas in the 70's & 80's and when I returned to the States I brought back soaps and gels, not knowing they were available here. I love Lavanda Puig shower gel, soaps, and Magno soaps.Thnx,again for being here!!!"
January 2011

"Me ha sorprendido encontrar una tienda con productos españoles en USA. Enhorabuena por el negocio, tiene todo muy buena pinta! Un saludo,Andrés"
September 2011

"Dear Andres, Thank you for taking the time to write. I am glad you enjoy many of our products. There are almost 1000 online. But of course if you come to Williamsburg again be sure to let me know. I would enjoy meeting you. Tu amigo, Don"

December 2011

"After living in Rota for three years, I am glad to have found La Tienda, to help me relive some of the best times of my life. Thank you for being here to have the foods that bring back so many wonderful memories of being in Spain. "
January 2012

"Dear Greg, It is amazing what a magical place Rota was (and still is). The atmosphere and cordiality of the people was unmatched, wasn't it? Nowadays it has flourished into a prosperous friendly ocean side town which offer much more than the Naval Base. You should go and see! Su amigo, Don "

"What a fabulous website! So much wonderful culinary information and products as well as one outstanding history lesson after another! As a Spanish teacher, I plan to incorporate much of this interesting history into my class curriculum. (And do a little shopping along the way!) Hope that's ok with you guys."
June 2014

"Dear Craig, By all means share with your classes! "

"Hello to everyone in LA TIENDA. I am from Rota, Andalucia, Spain. I am so happy to find your store, and your story, I been in the USA since 1989, I was married to a U.S. Marine. That is how I got here. Thank you so much for everything you all do for us. It is so nice to have a little bit of my country, so close by. Muchisimas gracias de corazon, hasta pronto."
September 2014

"Hola Manuela, it is nice to hear from you. Maine is a long way from home, and a far different climate too. So I'm glad we are able to bring you food from your home country. Have you been to Rota recently? There are now scheduled to be four new destroyers home ported there. My son Chris was born in Rota and now, many years later, he serves at the American Embassy in Madrid. We are delighted to have a chance to see him over there."

"Hola a todos,I live in San Fernando, a small town in Cadiz, Andalucia. I was looking up spanish companies in the USA, and I was quite surprised to see your shop...Congratulations, it's a real homage to Spain and to the people who contribute to a sustainable world. Thank you all! Un cálido saludo desde la Bahía de Cádiz."
January 2016

"Dear Angeles, yes I am very familiar with San Fernando including the fact that it has some of the great Flamenco singers. We lived in El Puerto de Santa Maria in the 1970s and have gradually added our favorite Spanish products. I think we have about 1000 now! Thank you very much for writing us. Abrazos"

"I recently moved back from Spain after leaving in El Puerto de Santa Maria for 3 amazing years. The people are lovely and the food is amazing. Spain will always hold a special piece of my heart. I miss it every day! "
June 2018

"Our family lived in El Puerto de Santa Maria as well, it is a wonderful place with very welcoming people!"

The Best of Spain