I could tell you about a day filled with travel and long waits in airports, but I think it’d be much more interesting to talk about the amazing food I tasted in Valencia. I don’t know about you, but food is the most important part of any trip for me. And let me tell you, I feasted this weekend like there was no tomorrow. I was able to try almost every typical ‘Valencian’ dish, and it was delicious. Valencia is renowned for its fresh seafood and shellfish, and the hype did not disappoint. Here are three of the most typical dishes I got to try:
1. Horchata con fartones
Despite the name, don’t be fooled. Horchata in Valencia is nothing like creamy cinnamon-y Mexican horchata. In fact, the horchata was unlike anything I had ever tried before! It’s made from chufas (tigernuts), a type of root grown only in the western hemisphere. They then add water and sugar, creating a creamy sweet beverage that goes perfect with fartones, a type of pastry always eaten with Horchata. It’s long and bready, with a hint of powdered sugar dusted on top. Though the sweet taste of the Horchata left me with a bit of a stomachache, I’d definitely do it again.
The most famous dish in Valencia is the world-famous paella. Although you can eat it anywhere in Spain, it originated in Valencia. With Valencia’s amazing seafood, this dish definitely stood out among all the paellas I’ve had while here in Spain. The shrimp was so sweet and rich, completely different from what we call shrimp in the States. Paella is always made in a paella pan, which is cast-iron and slightly larger in size compared to regular pans. Even if you’ve tried paella, you’ll never know true paella until visiting Valencia.
Fideùa is another typical Valencian food, but practically unknown outside of the community itself. The only reason I was aware of it was due to a presentation I had given for a class before I left. Fideùa is really similar to paella. The only noticeable difference is that, instead of using rice, Fideùa uses ‘fideos,’ a type of pasta only found in Valencia. The dish was incredibly rich and delicious. I recommend squeezing a lemon over top as it brings out the tangy flavor.
In addition to these dishes, I also filled up on olives, Spanish ham, chorizo, octopus, croquettas, shrimps, sea urchin and other unique Spanish delicacies. It was definitely a gastronomical adventure!