It’s our final day with Uemura, the luxury travel designers. There’s something they just couldn’t let us leave Valencia without trying…an authentic paella.
With simple white plastered walls, a steep pitched thatched roof and a small jetty reaching out into the Abulfera lagoon, this modest ‘Barraca’ country house remains a romantic snapshot of how life once was here, close to Valencia and her rice fields.
Uemura had brought us to the home of paella – the protected wetlands of the Abulfera lagoon. It’s no understatement that the Valencians take their rice dishes very seriously and are reluctant to allow other Spanish regions to lay claim to what has become probably Spain’s most internationally recognised dish.
Winter this year in the Mediterranean is late… a warm autumn sun allowed us to lunch outside till late, at a beautifully set rustic table. We enjoying a wholesome feast of cheeses and ham; Valencian tomatoes and dried tuna; artichokes with quails eggs and of course the rice dishes. Two generous paellas were prepared and served without pretension yet with sufficient respect to make it clear it’s more than just another lunch plate.
Oh and the pudding? Well, that’s all about ‘chufas’ (tigernuts) – a curious product that’s pretty much loved here. They make pastes and ‘horchata de chufa’ milk from the nuts that grow underground, allowing cooks to create all manner of treats including this ice cream with soaked and fried bread.
It felt the perfect way to round off my Valencia Experience – each day had captured different aspects of what the city has to offer, from the striking architecture of the City of Arts & Sciences; the romantic stories of the Holy Grail in Valencia’s ancient cathedral; contemporary gourmet cuisine; adventure in the countryside; and of course the perfect paella.
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