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IAN & SPAIN

WELCOME TO MY BLOG. HAVING LIVED IN SPAIN FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS I HAVE TRULY MANAGED TO IMMERSE MYSELF IN THE LOCAL CULTURE AND FEEL TOTALLY INTEGRATED. I WILL BE WRITING ABOUT MY PASSION FOR SPANISH FOOD AND DRINK AS WELL AS ITS CULTURE, PEOPLE AND PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO LEAVE A COMMENT.

Food,Wine,Food and more Wine
12 April 2013 @ 01:12

 

                             

 

This Sunday was one of those afternoons that make Spain really worthwhile! Fantastic weather plenty of food, plenty of wine and plenty of laughs. In Valencia’s converted riverbed was the local wine and artisan food fair held here every year and a must for anyone who appreciates good food and great wine or just wants to get legless…there’s quite a lot of walking to do :)

Actually, as you may know, my soft spot is olive oil and my reason for going was initially to participate in an olive oil tasting session. However unfortunately this year the olive oils on show weren’t anything worth jumping up and down for, good, but nothing special, so unfortunately nothing to recommend this time on that front. Feeling greatly let down by the poor turn out of “extra virgins” it was time to move onto other culinary delights and I can assure you there were many worth mentioning.

10 euros bought you a ticket that was valid for 4 glasses of wine and 4 tapas, so all in all it wasn’t bad at all considering the quality and variety of the food and wine on offer. So we bought a couple of “tickets” per person and we set off on our afternoon walk. Green tickets were for food and red tickets were for wine but after having eaten as much as we could, we soon started trading green for red!

The atmosphere in the fair was wonderful, fresh food being served at the stands and eaten immediately while you stood around a converted wine barrels for tables and washing it all down with fantastic wines from the region. Naturally we had to try most of them, reds: Shirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo etc. Whites, Rose´s and dessert wines, but of all the wines we tasted there were two clear winners. The general consensus was (and we had a few experts amongst us) :

 
Best white wine in the fair :  "BAHIA DE DENIA"  from Bodegas Xaló (sweet/dry)

 

A wonderfully fruity wine without being too sweet although it is made from the Moscatel de Alejandria variety normally used for dessert wines this wine was incredibly similar to an Albariño from the Rias Baixas. Very well balanced, fresh,delicate  and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Highly recommendable for drinking on its own or with seafood.

 

Best red wine in the fair : "TRILOGIA" from Bodega Los Frailes (organic)

   

Grape varieties : Monastrell 70%, Cabernet Sauvignon 20% and Tempranillo 10%

It is aged 12 months in Hungarian oak barrels and only the best pre-selected grapes are used.

Notes: Intensive dark black cherry color. Powerful and elegant on nose with aromas of black and red fruits, dark chocolate enriched by toasty and spicy notes. Full, powerful attack,refined tannins. In the mouth, fresh herbs and ripen fruits, coffee and well-structured with refined notes of liquorice and spicy flavours. Very persistent. This complex wine matches very well with any red meat dish, cheese, lamb, or game dish. Really wonderful, a true competitor for any renowned Ribera del Duero.

I must also mention a fantastic liquor made by Bodega's Xaló. It was their raisin dessert liquor "Riu Rau". It was pleasantly different to anything I had tried before, not too sweet but a wonderful balance between sugar, alcohol and moscatel raisins which are sundried on their land. However it wasn't cheap by Spanish standards for a liquor, around 11 euros a bottle, but worth every cent. We didn't actually pay anything while tasting but we did crawl home with a bottle! I highly recommend it. It would make a great ending to a meal.

     Riu Rau

Apart from wines and liquors we also managed to try some excellent artisan beer. To be honest I was really surprised to see the number of small artisan breweries that have popped up around the region in the past couple of years. Some really great beer miles, better than anything you'd pick up at your local.  Moving away from alcohol now..although we never really did...the fair offered a wide range of food produce such as organic cheese, Cati Cheese had the most magnificent stall, farmers who produce their own milk and make exceptional cheeses of all descriptions and have won numerous World Cheese Awards. Also on display were cured meats and sausages from Requena, clochinas (valencian mussels), homemade chocolate from the centenary chocolate factory in Sueca, "Comes" and so much more. Being a Valencian fair, rice and paellas weren't a miss. The Valencian School of Rice (Escuela Valenciana del Arroz) were showing off their skills and new recipes. We tried a baby calamar and "young garlic" (ajos tiernos) paella as well as a pork and wild mushroom paella, both were out of this world and cooked to perfection. I am seriously thinking of doing a specialist rice cooking course there, they are real professionals. By this point we had eaten, drunk, eaten again and then repeated the circuit several times, only each time we went round it seemed to get longer and longer, not sure if that was the eating or the drinking or just the sheer number of people there...no.. it was definitely the drinking. With nothing left to try, we returned to Xaló to finish up with yet another raisin dessert liquor and finally a coffee, which wasn't from Valencia funnily enough but was just what we needed for the trip home.

    

   


So next year if you're in Valencia this time of year you must pay a visit to the food and wine fair, a great afternoon out, just make sure you've got someone to drive you home or that the hotel isn't too far away!



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5 Comments


Sandra Piddock said:
12 April 2013 @ 09:24

I'll definitely diary that for next year Ian - and make sure I get there before you! Sounds like you had a good try at tidying up all the leftovers.

We've only been to Valencia once, on a day trip, and although we spent around 6 hours there, it barely scratched the surface. We said next time we visit, we'll book a hotel for a few nights, so that's what we'll do.

When we were there, there was a football tournament going on in the river bed. Very boisterous - and some very good football as well, seeing they were only amateur teams.

Thanks for a great post - it was almost as good as being there.


eos_ian said:
12 April 2013 @ 11:53

Thanks Sandra, I'll see you there next year! It was a great afternoon. Valencia really does have a lot going for it.


ray said:
13 April 2013 @ 23:40

Ian, thanks for making my mouth water ! Can you tell me if the fair is on the same date every year ? We hit on it by chance about 4 years ago, and loved it. We stay in Valencia 3-4 times a year - and always manage to be there either the week before or the week after the fair. This is despite searching for the date of the fair on the Valencia tourism site. Last year we even asked for a date through the artisan website - no result. Needless to say we will be in Valencia on the 20th April this year -so missed it again! I suppose we will go and check out the horses from Andalucia instead.


eos_ian said:
15 April 2013 @ 12:05

Hi Ray, thanks for the comment. Unfortunately the dates change from year to year but normally always held in Abril/May. It is usually advertised on the Comunitat Valenciana tourism site, Valencia council web site or the "Feria de Valencia" as the main fair is actually in the trade fair centre, sample products are to be found in the river bed.
here is one link

:http://www.valencia.es/ayuntamiento/agenda_accesible.nsf/0/106CBE1EF9966B9BC12576F800258CD7?OpenDocument&lang=1&nivel=4&bdOrigen=


ray said:
21 April 2013 @ 15:21

Thank you Ian, I've saved the link and will try to get it right next year !


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