Every region in Spain has its own culinary specialties, along with amazing wine and olive oil (to mention a few), but Valencia is especially unique due to the local products only found in this region, along with the history of their origin!
Home to rice plantations, orange tree fields, and the ‘chufa’ (tiger nut), Valencia has a few delicacies which locals will say you can only find the “real version” in Valencia! Make sure you try them all during your stay.
Rice was originally brought over to Valencia by the Moors (who ruled parts of Spain between the 700s to 1400s) due to the luscious land perfect for rice plantations, known as Albufera. Out of this rice comes many rice dishes, but the most famous is of course Paella! Many people might not realize it’s from Valencia since you can find paella all over Spain, but Valencians will argue authentic paella can only be found here in this region for a few reasons. Apart from Valencian chefs, paella in Valencia is made only using the rice grown from Albufera in Valencia, it is cooked using the wood from local orange trees (which somehow affects the timing), and they use water from Valencia which is different than other parts of Spain due to its location and proximity to the sea. So, don’t miss out on the real deal!
Agua de Valencia
Agua de Valencia, literally translated to ‘Water of Valencia’, is a typical Valencian cocktail made of juicy local oranges. Apart from the Valencian oranges, this sparkling fruity drink is made up of cava (Spanish sparkling wine) vodka, orange liquor, and sugar. You can find people drinking agua de valencia at most bars, especially in the summertime, and usually in the form of a pitcher to share!
Horchata + Fartons
Although nut milk has become increasingly popular in the last few years, this vegan milk has been around in Valencia for years in the form of a sweet icy beverage! Horchata is made from tiger nuts (chufa in Spanish), a type of tuber full of health benefits, which makes for the perfect afternoon pick-me-up! Tiger nuts, also originally brought over by the Moors from Egypt, are only grown in Spain in the Valencian region. Horchata is typically served for the merienda (the Spanish version of afternoon tea around 5 or 6pm) along with fartons. Fartons are sweet bread-like pastries topped with sugar — dip them in the horchata like the locals for a sweet treat! You can find many typical old-fashioned Horchaterías around Valencia, or even find it at kiosks on the street.
To find out more about Valencia and the typical customs, check out our Blog.