When in Valencia one must never miss to relish on three things: paella, orxata and oranges. Having mentioned this we are happy to say that Valencian gastronomic experience was a great delight for us as we were able try some of the authentic dishes of the region.
Starting with the fresh produce shopping at the Mercat Central in the early morning followed by leisure lunch, it is clear that the Valencians enjoy their mealtime, which extends to an average of 2-3 hours of tapas and paella. It is then followed by siestas in the noon or just cooling themselves with the glass of chilled orxata at the one of the many Horchaterias.
For those who do not know, the famous rice dish “paella” was originated in Valencia. A trip to Valencia is incomplete without trying the paella at the famous “La Pepica” restaurant at the Malvarossa Beach. One of the oldest places in the city serving the famous dish was also favourite place of famous writer Ernest Hemingway. The paella is served in massive pans and has distinct flavor of saffron with the good amount of freshly cooked vegetables and al dente rice. Downing it with the glass of freshly squeezed orange juice/cava and Flan (Crème Custard), enjoy the beautiful sunset by taking a seat at the beachside, just a perfect way to your day in the old city.
2. Orxata de Chufa and fartons
The favourite soft drink of the locals is very refreshing and a best companion while you are trudging through the old streets on a sunny day. Orxata is made from tigernut, milk and sugar and served ice-cold along with a delicious sugar-coated pastry called fartons, which tastes heavenly when dipped in the drink. There are several Horchaterias (orxata cafes) around the city but the best and the authentic drink is served at the Horchateria de Santa Catalina and the Horchateria el Siglo, both are located close to each other at Plaza Santa Catalina.
3. Tapas: Patatas bravas and Mushroom croquettes
After the tapas tasting in Madrid we were pretty much hooked to the idea of having light meals but being able to have variety of food items and patatas bravas was one of the favorite tapas we couldn’t stop relishing on. The Plaza de la Reina has some great restaurants, it looks a bit touristy but they serve some authentic Spanish food. We tried the bravas and mushroom croquettes at a pleasant little restaurant called Pico Fino in the square and fell in love with the place!!
4. Agua de Valencia
The famous cocktail of Valencia Agua de Valencia, also called as the “Water of Valencia” is a must try on your night out in town. The fruity cocktail is a refreshing mixture of orange, cava, gin and vodka, certainly the most recommended way to unwind after all the sight-seeing.
5. Hot chocolate with churros
The famous chocolatiers of Spain, “Valor” have their chocolateria at Plaza de La Reina overlooking the Cathedral. We tasted one of the sinfully yummiest hot chocolate here along with the freshly fried churros. Valor is famous for making 100% natural chocolates and you can definitely taste the richness of the chocolate with a single delicious sip.
6.Llinares ice cream
Having read somewhere about the Llinares ice-cream being the best ice cream makers in Spain while planning our trip, we were quite ecstatic when we came across their main store in Plaza Santa Catalina. The famous ice cream makers since 1930, not only serve the traditional ice cream flavours like chocolate, vanilla, but also some unusual flavors based on the Spanish food like tortilla de patata (Spanish omelet), turrons, gazpacho etc. You definitely feel adventurous while trying these flavours but we would say it is definitely worth it.
The list above is just a highlight on what we loved on our Valencian food trail, the city has a lot more to offer for all the foodies especially sea food lovers. If by any chance Vegetarians find it difficult in translating the Spanish food menu, we would suggest you to just say “sóc vegetarià” (I am vegetarian) in Catalan to the waiters and they definitely suggest the best veg stuff they can offer.