07 Jun 13

Don't miss your chance to sample great Gibraltarian cuisine

Gibraltar may be known for many things, from its iconic Barbary macaque monkeys and cosmopolitan atmosphere to a fascinating military history and the Rock of Gibraltar itself, but have you ever stopped to think just how intriguing Gibraltarian cuisine must be?

Gibraltar may be known for many things, from its iconic Barbary macaque monkeys and cosmopolitan atmosphere to a fascinating military history and the Rock of Gibraltar itself, but have you ever stopped to think just how intriguing Gibraltarian cuisine must be? Indeed, this is a part of the world where a wealth of foreign influences is keenly felt, and we wouldn't want you to miss them on your Gibraltar holiday here at Visit Gibraltar (http://www.visitgibraltar.gi).

As soon as you arrive here, as excited as you might be about the many other attractions and activities in the territory, you won't be able to resist the tantalising whiffs of great food emanating from the nearby bars, restaurants and cafes, of which examples include Al Baraka, Cafe Fresco, Burger King, Khan's, McDonalds, Smith's Fish and Chips and many more. As you will have sensed from that list, a holiday Gibraltar gives you access to well-known names from back home and more obscure and undiscovered eateries alike. 

Such a wide range of establishments really helps to create the relaxed, fun and harmonious atmosphere for which modern Gibraltar is so renowned. The main attraction, though, is obviously the food, and what food it is - with British and Andalusian Spanish influences being especially prominent. However, in keeping with the territory's rich immigration history, you'll also detect strains of the culinary traditions of Portugal, Genoa and Malta as part of a truly eclectic mix.

Maybe, for example, your holidays in Gibraltar are the perfect opportunity to try pasta like rosto or fideos al horno, savoury bread dishes like calentita or panissa, meat dishes such as rolitos or even an interesting piece of local confectionery - japonesa, or Japanese lady in English, which is a sweet fried doughnut with a creamy, custard-like filling? The latter tends to be coated in syrup or granulated sugar and is often enjoyed at tea time or as a snack, so you may find yourself chomping through quite a few of them as you leg it between the various attractions.

Other dishes that we would really urge you to give a go before you depart your Gibraltar accommodation include the spinach tart known as torta de acelgas, pinchitos - which are kebabs cooked over hot coals and made of spiced lamb or chicken - and, if you happen to be visiting at Christmas time, pan dulce, the sweet fruit and nut bread eaten at this time. Fish also plays a major part in Gibraltarian cuisine, not exactly surprising given the vicinity of the sea.

Such a rich food heritage is something that we'd advise you to think about, as you enjoy your meal in a restaurant near the many Gibraltar hotels, or get into a debate with someone in one of the traditional 19th century coffee houses in Casemates Square. But not too much... after all, here at Visit Gibraltar (http://www.visitgibraltar.gi), we know that there's always that next exciting dish to try.