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Food & cuisine from Eastern Spain, Valencia and Alicante

Eastern Spain's cuisine is as varied as that of any Spanish region, but primarily it is a land of rice and its paellas and other forms of rice are probably amongst the most representative of dishes from this region of Spain.

It is the Moors we can thank for introducing rice to Eastern Spain in the 8th century. Its towns are full of history and inland the soil is fertile where a variety of crops abound - the area is particularly renowned for its oranges and of course the rice.

Rice (Arroz)

The Region of Valencia is sits on the Eastern side of the country, composed of the provinces of Castellon, Valencia and Alicante with Valencia City as its capital where it produces its very own type of rice - Valencian Rice (Arroz de Valencia). The best known of all its rice dishes is the paella mixta where the rice cooked with both seafood and chicken or rabbit and then scented and coloured with saffron. For some, a delicious variation of paella is the paella negra (black paella) which is coloured by the black ink from a squid. There is also Arroz Negra which is cooked the same way (See right).

You need a pretty strong stomach for the Paella Negra. Its not a dish that traditionally you might say was appetizing to look at.

Fruit & Nuts (Frutas y nueces)

Valencian Citric Fruits (Citricos Valencianos)

The entire region of Valencia produces a wide variety of oranges, mandarins, and lemons. Valencia produces approx. 125 million kilograms of mandarins, between 80 and 100 million kilograms of oranges and between 30 and 40 million kilos of lemons every year.

Valencia is also the birthplace of the soft drink horchata, made from something called a chufa which translates as "tiger nut" (grown all over Eastern Spain). Horchata looks like an off-white milk, smells vaguely of toffee and is served cold.

Wine

Valencia has three denominaciones de origen - Alicante, Utiel-Requena in the west of the province of Valencia, and Valencia, a scattered and varied area. Conoisseurs should try the fondillon from Alicante, a dark and treacly red wine that works best as a dessert accompaniment.

Turron

Valencia is the home of the most famous Spanish sweet: turron. It is made with almonds and traditionally eaten at Christmas. Thought to have been introduced by the Moors, turron is made by roasting the almonds then slowly cooking them with honey and egg white. There are two main varieties of turron, hard Alicante turron and soft Jijona turron, which is produced by grinding the almond and honey mix into a glutinous and smooth paste.

Culinary tours and food experiences

Tapas Morning Walking Tour of Barcelona

Combine gourmet food and Catalan culture on a two-hour morning walking tour of Barcelona, where you’ll discover its history and gastronomy. Not only will you get an overview...

Private Seville Tapas and Wine Walking Tour

Seville is the perfect place for discovering the cuisine and wines of Andalucia. The city itself is considered by many to be the best place in Spain for tapas. On this...

Cadiz Shore Excursion: Small-Group Walking Tour with Flamenco Show and Wine Tasting

When you arrive in the Cadiz port, experience the culture and beauty of southern Spain on a shore excursion with wine tasting. During this small-group walking tour, explore...

Private Malaga City Sightseeing Tour with Tapas

See the best of Malaga on this private city sightseeing tour. This half-walking, half-bus private tour is a delicious combination of Malaga sightseeing and dining....

Small-Group Barcelona Chocolate and Sweets Walking Tour

Indulge your taste buds with this chocolate and sweets small-group walking tour in Barcelona! Learn about the important tradition of pastries and chocolate in Spain as you...

Small-Group Tour: Traditional Food and Wine Day Trip from Barcelona

Discover the flavors of Catalan food and wine on this small-group day trip from Barcelona. Sample cheese and wine in a beautiful medieval farmhouse overlooking the mountain...

Small-Group Cava and Wine Trip from Barcelona

Enjoy a relaxing day in the Spanish countryside while sampling some of Spain’s best wines and cava (Spanish sparkling wine). On this day trip from Barcelona, visit with a...

Cadiz Shore Excursion: Small-Group Cadiz Sightseeing Tour, Jerez Horse Show and Sherry Tasting

When your cruise docks in the Cadiz port, discover the historical beauty of the city on a small-group panoramic sightseeing tour. See sights like the Cadiz cathedral and...

Barcelona Super Saver: Sitges, Freixenet Cava Wine Cellars and Montserrat Tour

Discover Barcelona’s exquisite surroundings on this combo day trip. First, tour the Freixenet cava cellars with your knowledgeable guide and learn the secrets of making cava...

Barcelona Gourmet Dinner on a Deluxe Glass-Roof Bus

See the sights of Barcelona in a fun and stylish way – on a gourmet dinner bus! Relax on a luxurious glass-roof bus that allows you to enjoy afternoon or evening views of...