We loved our trip to Spain. The tapas were particular memorable. And as travel food lovers Valencia is on the list.
Valencia is currently witnessing a food and drink revolution with the birth of ‘gastro tapas’ and the ‘gin and tonic’ trend that is hitting the city and many new gourmet restaurants in Valencia, a number of them Michelin starred.
Combine this with the more traditional gastronomy elements of the city such as excellent paella, a dish that originated here and local drink ‘horchata’ made from tiger nuts – it’s a must visit city for gastronomy aficionados.
For those that want to follow the gastronomy trail and seek out some of the new, quirky and traditional food and drink attractions in the city here are some of the highlights of the gastronomic culture in Valencia:
Many tapas restaurants have re-invented themselves, leading to the birth of ‘gourmet tapas’, probably best described as similar to the modern day tasting menu.
There are many tapas bars in the historic centre that offer ‘pintxos’ – a type of fast food tapas. This dish is typical in northern Spain and consists of a meat, fish or vegetable tapas skewered together on a piece of bread. Diners help themselves from the cabinets at the bar and pay at the end depending on how many ‘sticks’ or skewers they have on their plate. Great for those who like to look before trying.
Gin and tonic is suddenly the drink of choice all over Spain and Valencia is no different. Almost every bar, pub and café has a separate gin and tonic menu listing a wide variety of gins. It’s not cheap – averaging around €10 a drink – but a small price to pay to be in with the in crowd.
Visiting the Central Market, Europe’s largest fresh produce market is a must for the variety of food stuffs on offer as well as admiring the fantastic structure itself. There are around 900 stalls selling everything from freshly caught fish to whole sheep’s heads, sacks of colourful spices and brightly coloured oranges and lemons.
No visit to Valencia is complete without trying the local non-alcoholic drink, horchata. An unusual drink and unique to the Valencia region it’s made out of tiger nuts, sugar and water in which you dip large finger-shaped buns called fartons.
Handy for making all that Paella, Valencia has its own rice growing region, Albufera, not far from the city centre. La Albuefa Nature Park is home to a huge fresh water lagoon and claims to be the birthplace of paella, as well as being one of the most important wetland areas in Spain.
A great event for those looking for a restaurant in Valencia is Restaurant Week, which runs twice a year, usually in June and November. It’s a good time for food lovers to visit as chefs at participating restaurants across the city prepare special menus for diners. Priced at just €20 for lunch and €30 for dinner - it’s a great opportunity to taste some of the best Valencia restaurants.
Sophia Lopez is a Chef based in the US. She adores Spanish food and a trip to Valencia during Restaurant Week was a dream come true. She can’t wait to explore more of the Spanish cities.