The Valencian Community stands out for its rich popular gastronomy. When you think about the main dishes of this territory, it is inevitable to talk about rice, the most representative and traditional product of this community’s recipe book, but that is only one of the many delicacies offered by this place.
The Valencian rice
There are many rice recipes that can be found throughout the Valencian Community, as it is a dish that can be made by combining it with countless different products, such as seafood, shrimp, lobster, squid, cuttlefish, chicken, rabbit, vegetables and many more.
In addition to the traditional valencian paella, made with chicken and rabbit, these are some of the most popular dishes:
- Black rice: its name is because one of its ingredients is squid, whose ink is added to the dish
- Arroz a banda: you add saffron and spicy red peppers, so that it is yellow. This rice is usually taken with allioli (garlic mayo), and the fish is consumed separately.
- Rice with crust: it is cooked in a clay casserole, and, once already cooked, a beaten egg is added and baked, so it forms a kind of “crust”.
- Baked rice: cooked with broth, it is baked before serving.
- Senyoret rice: it may have different ingredients, but it is characterized by the fact that all the fish is peeled so that it can be eaten without any effort.
The Valencian Community is not a territory well known for its tapas, which are more typical in other areas of the country. Even so, this place hides authentic local culinary jewels to have in what is already a social ritual of the Valencians: the aperitif.
One of the most deeply rooted Valencian tapas is the esgarraet, made with salted cod, red pepper, garlic and olive oil, as well as the aspencat, made with garlic, pepper, eggplant and mojama.
On the other hand, there are the clochinas, which are orange and much smaller than mussels. Its preparation is very simple, only oil, lemon and a pot are needed, although garlic and pepper can also be added.
The All I pebre (garlic and pepper) is a much appreciated Valencian sauce to serve with fish dishes. There are many variants of it, the best known being the one with eels as an ingredient. The origin of this recipe is found in La Albufera, where the anglers of the area, taking advantage of the fact that at that time the eel was a very economical fish, gradually introduced it into their recipes.
Cocas are also very traditional throughout the Valencian Community. Made with flour, water and salt, they are a perfect snack as accompaniment to other Valencian tapas or as appetizer by themselves, depending on the amount of ingredients they carry. The simplest is coca with salt, but there are also tomato and tuna, sausage, anchovies, vegetables and all kinds of varieties.
The Valencian sweets
No particular cuisine is complete without a great offer of traditional sweets. The most popular of the Valencian Community is the turron (nougat) from Alicante, prepared with almonds. However, it is not the only Valencian delight. Panquemados, sweet coca, pumpkin fritters, arnadi, fartons and horchata are also popular.
The panquemado is a sweet that cannot be forgotten at the table on Easter days, although it is common to find it at any time of the year because of its rich taste. It is white, round and fluffy, a texture that contrasts with a burnt-out, roasted outer layer.
Sweet coca is a kind of cake prepared in mould with traditional and very common ingredients: flour, sugar, milk, eggs and olive oil. Some recipes include lemon grating, cinnamon or chocolate. It is the most typical and versatile sweet of the Valencian snack.
Pumpkin fritters are often consumed during the Fallas festivities. It is an exquisite sweet and very easy to make made with cooked pumpkin, flour, yeast, rising agents, water, oil and sugar.
The arnadi is a sweet made from pumpkin and sugar, presented in a clay casserole decorated with almonds. Its recipe sometimes admits variants like the sweet potato and is popularly known as “carabassa santa (holy pumpkin)”, as it is one of the typical Valencian sweets that are eaten during Easter.
Horchata is a refreshing drink made with water, sugar and tiger nuts from Valencia. It is the most popular drink and is usually taken in summer with fartons, which were originally made to dip in the horchata.
Here are some meals and typical products of this territory, which not only charms with its beaches, landscapes and monuments, but also with its gastronomy which has become one of the main attractions for visitors.