In south-west Spain, Kevin Gould celebrates laid-back beach life, plus meat and fish delicacies, in the foodie hangout of Zahara de los Atunes
The Guardian.com–She is Sahara of the Tuna, and you come for her deserted beaches and crowded fish restaurants, and for her beach shack chiringuitos in which to boogie the hot night away. Here in Cadiz province, Zahara de los Atunes lies between Cape Trafalgar and Spain’s southernmost nipple at Tarifa, 40 minutes to the south. Where Tarifa is bliss for spliffed-up surfers and world-weary dreadlocked hippies, Zahara is more innocent, a let-it-all-hang-out family destination. It is also one that has carved a part in the heart of the Spanish food lover with its devotion to the red tuna (Atlantic bluefin tuna, famed for its rosy flesh) and the red-skinned Retinto cow.
In this land that so honours the pig, Zahara’s red tuna is granted the title “the ibérico of the sea”. As ever, Spain can leave the dedicated vegetarian feeling hungry – even the plainest of mixed salads here will include fat chunks of tuna, “for flavour!” we were told. Your pomaded open-shirted playa type tends to prefer Atlanterra, a slick purpose-built beach resort two kilometres south of town, but Zahara itself is Spain’s far south at her authentic, relaxed best.