The need of an antioxidant and vitamin D boost led me to Valencia for the La Tomatina Festival in Bunyol.
As they say, when in Valencia, do as the Valencians. Eat Paella. So we were definitely planning on sampling what the locals declare to be the original and the best.
First stop was La Pepica, probably one of Valencia’s more popular restaurants situated on the promenade of Malvarosa Beach – so famous, that even Ernest Hemmingway, the author used to dine here!!
We ordered the squid ink Paella which was very tasty, and offered us plenty of photo opportunities and laughs as we posed for the camera with black bits of rice left between our teeth. Clearly Sangria fuelled.
We weren’t laughing so much though, when our very substandard and rather expensive “Seafood Platter” arrived with not much more than a few prawns, langoustines and a couple of sad looking oysters on a tray. Where was the fish? Where was the squid or octopus? I was gutted!
Not to be defeated, the next night’s meal at Tapelia was the highlight for me. It was a friend’s birthday, so I had made a conscious effort to do some research and pre book for a guaranteed good meal.
Not a good first impression though. Firstly they couldn’t find my reservation, and then they said I couldn’t possibly have made a reservation with them as none of them spoke English!! Well who on earth was I having a Spanglish conversation with and confirming the address with then?? Hmmm.Thankfully it was a Tuesday night so plenty of tables for 3 available. Phew!
We ordered a couple of starters to share:
- An obligatory tomato and mozzarella salad – in case this was the last time we were ever going to eat tomatoes after La Tomatina the next day – YUM.
- Ox Carpaccio in a citrus vinaigrette with parmesan and rocket – OK
- And a foie gras puff with apple sauce and caramelised onions – LUSH
Mains weren’t as adventurous but tasty, grilled calamari, local fish served with cous cous, and a baked sea bass ordered amongst the table. Now I have no idea what we were thinking, but we also ordered paella too!!
Iberian Secret was the name of the dish. Iberian pork, porcini mushrooms and truffle oil. DELICIOUS!
Sadly the secret about this dish was that they gave us a 3-person serving when we specifically asked for two. Stuffed to the rims of our Gourmet Belly, we left half the serving untouched. I am totally going to food hell for that 😦
Overall a really good meal though. Food, wine choice and ambience were all absolutely perfect, so get there the next time you are in Valencia.
Did You Know?
- The pan used to cook Paella is called…A Paella? I scored a point for that in a pub quiz recently 😉
- Many Paella atrocities have been committed elsewhere in Spain. The rules to authentic Valencian Paella are as follows:
- Never use stock – only water, then saffron
- A 2-person size is the minimum size practical. Single portions are likely to be frozen and reheated
- Be dubious if the paella arrives in under 20 minutes, it wouldn’t have been cooked to order
- And Paella is traditionally only eaten at lunchtime, never in the evening.