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Tips on how to eat like a local in Comunidad Valenciana

If you want to eat one of Spain’s most famous dishes, this is the place to be. As you have probably imagined, we are talking about the paella. It is the most popular dish around here, and the valencianos really know how to make it. Even though you can have very good ones in many other parts of Spain, the Paella Valenciana is spectacular. Just make sure that you get a freshly made one, not one of the pre-made paellas.

Tips on how to eat like a local in Comunidad Valenciana
Panorama of Peniscola at sunrise.

Apart from the paella, you will find many other dishes that include rice, like Arroz al horno, Arroz a banda, Arroz negro, or Arroz al estilo Alicante. All this rice is grown in some of the wetlands that the region has, Albufera being the most famous one. If you want to find a good alternative to rice, it is also very common to eat Fideua, which is made with thin, short noodles.

Having so many kilometers of coastal regions, fish and seafood also play an important role in the Comunidad Valenciana. They are often one of the key ingredients in the rices or fideuás we have just mentioned, but you can also try them in a Suquet de Peix, a kind of stew. 

In the inner parts of this region, it is quite common to have Ollas, which usually combine rice, meat and veggies in a stew. They are perfect for winter.

And when we say winter, we are not referring to the cold and rainy winter we have in the northern part of Spain. This region has a mild winter and warm summer. With such good weather, it’s relatively easy to grow vegetables and fruits. About a quarter of all the produce here is oranges and citruses, followed by olive trees. But you can also find some other excellent fruits and vegetables like the Alcachofa de Benicarló (artichokes), las Cerezas from la montaña de Alicante (cherries), caqui from the Ribera del Júcar (persimmon), or the nísperos from Callosa de Ensarriá.

Tips and Tapas recommends:

Main dishes:
You can try Arroz al horno, Arroz a banda or Arroz negro (usually with calamares). Also, Suquet de Peix or an Olla.
Something you should definitely try:
A good Paella and/or Fideua. .
Something to drink:
Some of the best oranges in the world are grown here, so if you like orange juice, be sure to get some! Horchata, a very refreshing drink made from chufa, is another good choice.
Something sweet:
If you go there during Christmas, try turron. Otherwise, try a Fogaseta (a kind of sponge cake) and Torrats

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