Oasis of taste to taste

With shelves cluttered with same brands, same boxes, same products, it is hard to find anything that is entirely unique. In numerous supermarkets you will hardly ever come across local specialities either. However, now, if you really want to go off the beaten track and look at local options, then you can head directly to Torremolinos that boasts a new 'gastromarket'.

The only permanent foodie market under the auspices of 'Sabor a Málaga' (Taste of Malaga) has opened its doors to the public in Plaza de la Independencia. However, the ambitious Torremolinos project seems to have been dependent upon many factors. Otherwise, why did it take more than two years to establish this gastronomic venue in the town?

Apparently, such delay made this year's opening inauguration coincide with the 10th anniversary of the brand 'Sabor a Málaga'. It was in 2011 that the Diputación de Malaga launched the brand for agri-food products of the province with an aim to promote locally grown agricultural and food produce and at the same time highlight the wealth of Malaga flavours and aromas.

Not to worry, as the proverb states, 'good things come to those who wait'. And over recent years, 'Sabor a Málaga' has become a synonym for something good and unique, and typical of the region. The most important thing is that finally, locals and tourists have access (by definition) to properly cultivated produce and products made according to authentic recipes. So now, 14 market stalls in Torremolinos offer, among other items, cheeses, wine, honey, olive oil, coffee, artisan sweets and desserts. But not the edible flowers that have been a sort of special pride of 'Sabor a Málaga', and actually a good example how foreign residents could contribute to local agriculture.

About two hundred different varieties of flowers had been cultivated in the Axarquía by two expats from Germany, Peter Knacke and Til Runge. Their business named 'Sabor y Salud' (Taste and Health) focused on the exclusive growing of edible flowers and aromatic herbs. Their produce was exported to France, for haute cuisine and restaurants of legendary Spanish chefs - from the Roca brothers to Arzak and Ferran Adrià. These two adopted Malaga sons considered themselves more than just gardeners, but "lovers of culinary experiences, taste, aesthetics and health". It is a pity the pandemic situation forced the Germans to shut down their business last year, thereby decreasing the diverse taste/flavour of Malaga.

Otherwise, local artisan providers have to compromise in order to make their products locally affordable long-term, and of course more attractive. Therefore, some classical products are often altered from their natural states to prolong their shelf life. Some artisan products look already more appealing by adding some colouring and aromas to classical ingredients, or they are just covered with chocolate and colourful icing sugar, or 'lightened' to reduce calories. All these factors definitely modify the genuine taste.

The products in the Torremolinos gastromarket are supposedly protected by the official branding, therefore it means we can congratulate ourselves on having an oasis on the Costa del Sol of taste and flavour, as well as health and quality.