Food & Drinks
The Valencian paella, made with rice, chicken, rabbit and greens, is the typical dish in Valencian gastronomy. Each village has its own variations and preferences because rice mixes well with so many different ingredients. However, the most popular specialities are the meat paella (with chicken or rabbit), the seafood paella and the mixed one. Among fishermen, a dish known as arroz banda evolved, so called because the rice and the fish are cooked separately, for the flavour to be taken in, and it is served with garlic and oil (all I olí).Rice done in the oven in an earthenware dish is also extremely popular among Valencian families, together with rice and beet, cuttlefish, cauliflower and spinach, among other ingredients. In the region of La Safor, a dish known as flideau is made. This is similar to rice with seafood, but noodles are used instead of rice. In some inland regions, the main dish is gazpacho (a cold soup of bread, tomatoes, garlic, salt, vinager and oil), served in the form of a shepherd´s pie - made of wheat flour and cooked over a fire. This dish is found in the regions of Requena-Utiel, Valle de Ayora, Canal de Navarrés, La Costera and Los Serranos. In Los Serranos, the visitor might also like to try what is known as the olla churra, made from pieces of pork and black pudding, and gachas (a form of porridge), so as to have a taste of the region´s plentiful meat. Speaking of meat, it is custom to cook lamb chops over the fire, together with varieties of sausage such as longaniza (long and thin), black pudding and chorizo (spiced pork sausage).It is from the world of traditional home cooking that the custom of frying chicken and rabbit garnished with tomato sauce comes, as does the popular hervido (a dish of green beans cooked with potatoes and served with an oil and vinegar dressing), eaten as the evening meal.
Valencia is a land of tasty sweetmeats and bakery products. There is bread of all sizes and flavours, panquemados (toasted bread), Valencian doughnuts, turnovers, coconut cakes, anisette rolls, almond rosegons, egg-rings for Easter, Epiphany rings, and so on, all available at the many bake houses and confectioner's shops. As for drinks, a special mention must be made of orgeat (horchata), made from earth almonds, which is server as a cool refreshment, and natural orange juice mixed with cava (Catalonian wine similar to champagne) to make a drink known as agua de Valencia. Wine production is notable, as shown by the existence of 75,000 hectares of vineyards. The main cellars are to be found in Requena, Utiel, Llíria, Villar del Arzobispo and Tuéjar. Quality cava is also made in Requena.