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Valencia: Gastronomy

Sun and oranges, delicious seafood, vegetables and very good wines D.O. Utiel-Requena and D.O. Valencia ... those are catchwords characterising one of the finest cuisines of Spain. Also rice which is produced here in large quantities is a protagonist in many typical dishes. The Valencianos understood to combine those ingredients to perfect masterpieces, Paella Valenciana being the most famous example.

There are many variations of this recipe, and even experts cannot determine which one is the original Paella. Best known is what Valencianos call Paella Marinera: rice with saffron, sea-food and vegetables. Often is added chicken to it (Paella Mixta). The Paella which Valencianos use to call Valenciana is all different: it consists of chicken and snails (plus the base of course, saffron-rice and vegetables).

By the way, a really good Paella you cannot make at an electric range, but on charcoal-fire in a flat pan of impressive diameter, called Paellera. After all the ingredients have been added you cannot stir it around anymore. Only artists of cuisine neither burn the dish nor serve it crude - but then results are overwhelming.

Fideuá is similar to Paella, but the rice is replaced by a particular kind of noodles. Another speciality is Arroz Negre, "Black Rice", which debts its color to the ink of cuttlefish.

If you need a refreshment somewhen, try a drink called Horchata. It is made of the milk of a plant called Chufas (somewhat similar to rice) and is served ice cold.

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