If there was anything Spain could be proud of, it would undoubtedly be its gastronomy. Although it varies from region to region throughout the country, I cannot think of a place in Spain where eating is not a wonderful experience.
Today I would like to write about one of the places where, in my opinion, the people really know how to have fun. Of course, how to have fun eating and drinking as well.
I’m talking about Valencia, the place where people spend half a year building amazing huge doll statues (aka Falles) to burn them down in one night. Isn’t this simply living la vida loca?!
Anyway, the thing is that the smiling people here also cook very well; famous are their paellas and fideuàs, their orxata with fartons or their the fresh fruit and vegetables.
Orxata in Valencia
Orxata is what they call horchata in Mexico and you can find great orxata at a (Plaza de Santa Catalina, 6) with more than 200 years of tradition, take a look:
Another excellent spot: Orxateria Daniel (Avenida Orxata, 41, Alboraya, which is a nearby town). Yes, I know what you are thinking: There IS an avenue called orxata, you got it right.
Paella in Valencia:
You can find many types of paella in Spain but it really comes down to three varieties: Valencian paella, seafood paella and mixed paella. Valencian paella is made with Valencian rice and has green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck), snails, beans and seasoning.
A favorite spot of mine is La Pepica, a restaurant that has been around forever and is located next to the beach that offers good artisan paella, Valencian style.
Fideuà in Valencia:
This is a dish of thin noodles in rich broth this is prepared in the same type of large flat pan as paella with a base of either pork or cuttlefish to impart the rich taste to the broth. There is a restaurant called L’Illa, on Calle Escollera, 2 in Cullera (the town next to Valencia) that was the winner of a regional fideuà contest.
However, if you want to save some money and feel like being a little adventurous in preparing one yourself, you can trying cooking one at home. I cook it quite often and it’s not very difficult.
You just need some onion, a cuttlefish or little squids and some red and/or green pepper (as you wish), then the fideuà pasta and fish or seafood broth (note that this is the clue that carries the flavor). Then you can always adorn it with shrimps and mussels. Some people prefer it flat and others, with a lot of ornaments… whatever floats your boat!
Just two tips: Always serve with good allioli (garlic mayonnaise) and, unless you want the pasta to point at the ceiling, you need to sauté it a little before adding the broth, and when the broth is evaporated, you should ideally put it in the oven for about 2 or 3 minutes.
How about you? Have a special Barcelona restaurant that you would recommend?