Costa Blanca's Crafts and Mediterranean Cuisine
Villas in Costa Blanca are perfectly placed to enjoy the rich culinary lineup based on fresh produce from the Local market gardens, the sea and the rugged hinterland.
THE LAND OF VALENCIA KEEPS ITS AGE-OLD CRAFT AND CULINARY TRADITIONS ALIVE
Costa Blanca hands it rich, age-old crafting traditions down from father to son. In local shops and specialized stores you can find folk art objects of exceptional beauty.
The towns of Paterna, Manises, Biar, Agost, Alcora and Onda are the birthplaces of ceramic wares, each with their own distinctive style. Gata de Gorgos, Vallada and Moixent produce original articles made from wicker, esparto grass, palm leaves and cane.
L'Olleria is famous for cut glassware and crystal, Elx for its original palm-leaf creations, and the towns of Morella, Monóvar, Novelda and Guadalest for their artistic textiles. In Jarafuel and Segorbe you can buy fine, handmade walking sticks, and for hot summer days, why not use an authentic handmade fan from Valencia or Aldaia.
Costa Blanca and the surrounding area enjoys its world-famous paella, the queen of regional cuisine.
But the culinary delights certainly do not end here.
Apart from this traditional dish combining products from the Land and the sea, each town and village has its own variation on the rice theme.
In fact, there are thousands of ways to prepare local rice: arròs negre (with squid), caldoso (stewed), al horno (oven-baked), a (a marinera (fisherman's style), con costra (with omelette topping), rossejat (with chick peas), etc. Then come the fresh vegetables from the local gardens, the huertas, and fresh fish and shellfish, plus game, 'free range' poultry, all used as ingredients for old recipes which have stood the test of time.
Restaurants offer dishes such as fideuà, gazpochos, sausages, all I pebre, cruet de peix, dried fish roe, etc.Fresh oranges, table grapes from Vinalopó, medlars from Callosa d'En Sarrià or cherries from the Alicante mountain orchards are good for dessert.
Or perhaps some turrón, arnadí, ice-cream or horchata from Alboraya.
To accompany fine meals, nothing better than some red and young rosé wines from Utiel-Requena, or 'cava' or sparkling wine, a sweet Fondillón from Alicante, or crisp white wines from the Alto Turia, plus fine traditional Alicante liqueurs known as herbero and café-licor.
These wines all have their 'denominación de origin': Alicante, Utiel-Requena and Valencia.
Rice can be prepared in an infinity of ways. Here are two possible recipes, one is the original paella, the other a fisherman's rice,
400 gr rabbit, 400 gr chicken, 250 gr green beans, 150 gr haricot bean seeds, 150 gr broad beans, 1 ripe tomato, 500 gr rice, 8 tablespoons olive oil, a pinch of ground red sweet pepper, saffron and salt, 2.5 litres water approx.
Preparation: In a paella pan for four, heat the oil and when hot stir in the diced meat, braise well and add the green beans, the broad beans and the haricot beans, continue cooking for about eight minutes and stir in the grated tomato, Stir a little and add the rice, ground pepper, saffron and water, when it starts to boil, season with salt. Serves 4,
Arroz a banda (rice in fish stock)
500 gr rice, 1 large onion, 1 ripe tomato, 4 garlic cloves, 8 tablespoons olive oil, saffron and salt, 1.5 litres fish stock,
To make fish stock: 1.8 L water, fresh rock fish, onion, laurel leaf, potatoes and ripe tomato.
Preparation: In a paella pan for four, heat the oil and fry the chopped onion, the sliced garlic cloves and grated tomato, Add the rice together with the saffron and then pour in the stock, When it starts to boil, season.