The Gastronomy of València
Del Tros al Plat (from field to plate)
The high quality and the great variety of food in the region, together with the trend to balance tradition and innovation, makes our products truly popular, and an essential part of the Mediterranean Diet.
Valencian cuisine is characterised by a wide variety of delicious and healthy recipes, and its success lies in the use of natural products from both the sea and the land.
Throughout the Province, it is necessary to differentiate the cuisine of the regions that look to the sea, where seafood and fish predominate, from that of the interior regions, with more filling dishes where stews and recipes with meat abound, especially in the winter months.
València has always been linked to paella, but the richness and variety of its cuisine has much more to offer:
Fruits and Vegetables
Among the fruits, we have the famous Serra cherries, for which a special day is celebrated, the Cherry Day, the espeiegas apples, specific to the Rincón de Ademuz, the Kaki and the Persimmon of the Ribera del Xúquer (which has its own Protected Designation of Origin) or the yellow melons of Ontinyent.
Although without a doubt, the defining fruit of València and its regions is the Orange: its origin dates back to Muslim times, although its production as we know it today (the so-called sweet orange) dates back to the 18th century. The Comunitat Valènciana has a Protected Geographical Denomination that guarantees the quality of Valencian citrus production (not only oranges, but also mandarins and lemons) and which has helped to make the region the main exporter of citrus fruits in Spain, Europe and one of the most important worldwide. We can also find exquisite preserves and fruit jams, mainly peaches, in Jalance.
In the inland and unirrigated areas, a great variety of olives are grown: manzanilla, arbequina, picual, blanqueta, villalonga … which produce an extra virgin olive oil of prestige and proven quality.
Without a doubt, the star of Valencian cuisine is paella, whose original preparation is made with garrofó, tavella, chicken, rabbit and of course, rice, and is found throughout the Province. The town of Sueca has held the Valencian International Paella Competition for more than 50 years.
A tasty dish cooked in a very similar way is Gandia fideuà, in which rice is replaced by noodles, and meat by fish and seafood..
Fish and Seafood
A much-appreciated dish in this area is all i pebre, a stew made with potatoes, paprika and eels.
Valencians like to eat seafood, which is wonderful, almost natural, boiled or little prepared, grilled, grilled … Cuttlefish, squid, clotxines (not mussels) octopus, aladroc, sardines, hake and the extraordinary and incomparable quisquilla.
Meats and Stews
One of the most representative dishes of this area is l’Olleta. It is a watery dish, and includes vegetables, pulses and different meats and sausages, giving it an intense aroma and flavour.
In the Ayora valley and in La Plana de Requena and Utiel we can taste gazpachos, very similar to those of La Mancha, a kind of game stew (hare, wild rabbit or partridge) finely shredded, mixed with pieces of flatbread.
The sausages of Plana de Utiel-Requena are also famous, with the Artisan and Quality Sausage Show held in Requena and Utiel Gastronomy in Utiel, offering the visitor the most authentic assortment of their products: blood sausage, long cured sausages, chorizo, güeña, , salami and lean meats.
The Arrop i tallaetes is a kind of concentrated syrup -arrop- made of very sweet, dark and thick grape must to which the tallaetes (cut or slices), which are usually pumpkin, are added.
The Arnadí is made from pumpkin and sugar, although variants are known, in which the pumpkin can be substituted or mixed with other products (mainly the sweet potato).
A typically Valencian refreshing drink is tigernut horchata, mainly from Alboraia and the area around it, usually drunk partly frozen (always very cold) and in which fartons (soft, sweet doughnuts) are dipped.
We can visit the Comunitat Valènciana Wine Museum in Utiel, in the Bodega Redonda, headquarters of the Utiel-Requena Designation of Origin.
In Requena there is Feverin, the Requena wine fair, also not to be missed.
In the Hoya de Buñol-Chiva fine wines are made, included in the Denomination of Origin València, and some muscatels and mistelas that are produced in Cheste, Chiva or Turís are also worthy of mention.
In the Vall d’Albaida, we find a magnificent range of quality wines in the Fontanars dels Alforins wineries, as is the case in others located in the neighbouring towns, La Font de la Figuera, Moixent, Enguera and Ontinyent that have given new life to wine production.