It's true. When we talk about Valencia, we inevitably talk about paella, Spain's most popular dish. But this region's culinary repertoire is actually very broad. Shall we taste it together?
This region, on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, comprises the Castellón, Valencia and Alicante provinces, all of which are home to gastronomic delicacies. One of those is PDO extra virgin olive oil, made exclusively with native olive varieties, such as Farga, Serrana, Morrudas, Villalonga and Blanqueta.
This region also has the optimal climate for growing fruit and vegetables, and is a leader in Spain in the production and export of fresh products such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, artichokes (which bear the PDO Alcachofa de Benicarló seal), garrofó (a type of green bean used in traditional paella recipes), and several other fruits. There are also other products that have a European Union quality seal, such as the persimmon from Ribera del Xúquer, cherries from Montaña de Alicante, and grapes from Vinalopó.
The Albufera in Valencia is a natural park where the three varieties of Valencia's famous rice is produced: Bomba, Senia and Albufera. There are fishing ports on the coast where fishermen catch everything from Vinaròs king prawns to Denia red prawns, two types of seafood that are very popular among leading chefs from the region. Another product from the sea with strong ties to Valencian cuisine is mojama de atún, a very delicious salt-cured tuna.
This area also has a longstanding tradition of growing almonds, which are used to make a nougat confection with unmistakable ties to Valencia: turrón (IGP Jijona and IGP Turrón de Alicante). What many people may not know is that the Valencia region is a major producer of chocolates and bonbons and is home to companies that export their products to many markets around the world.
Text: Rodrigo García / @ICEX
Translation: Samara Kamenecka/@ICEX.