Aah, food… The great unifier. There will always be someone in the holiday party who prefers to brown by the pool an hour longer, another who considers a four-hour hike an afternoon walk, and that special one who is up by 6am ready for a workout “because it’s the holidays”. But at the table, we are one. This is why we are highly enthusiastic about what’s cooking in the Andalusian hills: seven personal chefs is what! A chef a day… One for every day of the week, with a variety of styles and skills to appeal even to the pickiest of culinary snobs.
The good people behind the bougainvillea-adorned private villas of El Pabellon de Caza and Andalusian Hills in the countryside of Malaga, Spain have taken it upon themselves to gather the best chefs in town for a delicious line-up right in your holiday kitchen. If you’re the kind who can’t stay away from the stove, the chefs will happily teach you their culinary secrets.
Gastronomic indulgences are not new to this estate nestled within orchards and gardens just above Costa del Sol. Resident chef David Palacios has been regaling guests for years with his elegant twists on traditional Andalusian cuisine, and is certainly part of the succulent seven.
Also on the list are the head chefs of two of Nerja’s finest restaurants: Oliva, for its inventive, picturesque offerings, and Sollun, known for making carnivores sing with its modern rendition of earthy Spanish classics like Iberian pork and offals.
Then there is the seafood. First by chef Abraham Garrote Costa, so in love with the sea that he picked up underwater fishing, then Carlos Sanz, who heads contemporary Japanese restaurant Kirei that has become a bit of a must in Malaga. Think succulent morsels of clam sashimi accented with a delicately balanced marinade.
And finally, the fusion fare. Yes, we hear your wary sigh, but let us assure you that this is not at all the awkward meeting of a local shellfish with a bottle of tamari. Chef Sergei Vera has been a bit of a nomad himself, and offers a well-informed repertoire that will take you from Europe to Southeast Asia via the organic route. Plus, he never says no to a good brunch. Chef Evelien van’t Hoog from Amsterdam enjoys marrying Mediterranean with Asian and loves a good seven-course tasting menu.
El Pabellon de Caza and Andalusian Hills were constructed with care by local artisans from the region using local materials. Their hand-moulded whitewashed walls, nuanced terracotta tiles, and Moorish details are the stuff of Mediterranean holiday fantasies. Enjoy a massage by the pool, or catch up on your reading in the cool of the veranda. During the winter months, the residence can be enjoyed indoors around the fireplace, or outdoors by the wood-fired bread oven. Languish under the sun, drink in the view, and by all means, feast!