The dishes to look out for, Alicante Spain’s vegetable garden
Orchard to Plate in Alicante is fantastic. The natural conditions and the mild Mediterranean climate are almost perfect conditions for a variety of crops, such as olives, wine, rice, almonds, dates, pomegranates and many other kinds of vegetables and fruits.
In a region where rice is a cherished crops there are course there a vast variety of rice dishes. Paella is the term used in Valencia for the rish dish of all rice dishes. In Alicante the people would rather use the word “ arrozes”, which would include a variate y rice dishes. Some Rice dishes that are typical for the Alicante region that you might not have tried are Arroz a Banda and Arroz con Costra. If you have a sweet tooth you should also try the rice pudding Arroz con leche. This is a typical dessert that would be included in the three-course lunch meny
Rice dishes the base and from Orchard to Plate
Most recipes start in the same way, you make a base (‘sofrito’) with onion, tomato and olive oil. Depending on whether you live on the coast or in the mountains, the shopping list for ingredients varies – artichoke, beans, peppers, rabbits, snails, octopuses and mussels are some of the possible ingredients.
An important feature of a real homemade rice dish that you “take a bit of what you have at home ” or growing your vegetable garden. Good leftovers of chicken, sausage or meat are also used, all in the sign of sustainability and no waste. The distance from Orchard to plate is not far away.
The rice and the “denominación de origen ( DO) “in Valencia and Murcia
When you are in the supermarket look for the Spanish rice that has a “DO”-label. This rice is considered of superior quality and carries specific characteristics typical to the region. In Valencia you have several DO protected rices in the Valenica province such as
- A rice named Senia. A great rice for any Mediterranean Rice dish
- The Bomba rice which is great for cooking a paella on an open fire, as it resist high temperatures
- In Albufuera they grow a rice which can absorb high humidity but still keep a good texture in the grain
Villa Balea is closer to Murcia than Valencia and the closest rice with a DO -label is the Calasparras brand.
Calasparra is situated in the Murcia region (about 1.5 h drive south of Villa Balea) to see the DO rice grown there (the region has been producing rice since the 1400s!) The Calasparra rice matures more slowly than other types of rice and absorbs a lot of liquid making it perfect for dishes like paella.