On Costa Blanca, there is more to find besides beaches and different rice dishes in a beachfront bar. To feel it we have to taste its flavors and aromas on a gastronomic route, like the breezes that run through its streets. Those streets of Arab origin and organic growth with Mediterranean cuisine in their purest state and without typical topics.
Throughout our series of articles “A day in …” we have spoken about many things. Such as the culture, the people, the routes by bike, and the walks along the boulevards of the towns of Costa Blanca. So that you know the wonders of this “terreta”, as the locals say in the area.
On the Costa, Blanca time slows down. We need a panoramic view to understand that it full of nuances, a small oasis in our busy world. Today we want your palettes to travel and enjoy at the same pace as the rest of your senses.
The north of the province of Alicante is a strategic point when we talk about our gastronomic route. As we have already mentioned before, Dénia is a big favorite for us.
If we talk about Dénia, we think of a color, red. The red of the red shrimp, that delicious dish served on slate, with the smell of firewood and with a pinch of salt flakes, transports us to calmness and immediately makes us smile.
In Dénia we find Quique Dacosta, who delights all those who want to visit his realm with three Michelin stars.
His project “The Evolution and the Origin” supposes as he himself says “The origin is also a product. An argument that has always been present in our work and with which we have been accomplices. It is another compass that does not allow us to get out of this place. I have known this territory for its products. A mental map that has led me at the end to the towns, to its people. An intimate way to know my place, this place. Learn everything together, learn that the product responds to you as you treat it. It responds with romanticism if you treat it with affection. It responds with quality if you treat it with knowledge. For this, I believe in the innocence of the product. And from its innocence and its gastronomic scope, I can build this story that expresses elaboration to elaboration, plate by plate”.
Under his same direction, there is El Poblet, where Germán Carrizo and Carolina Lourenço have achieved another star. It is not only accessible for any pocket but eating here is necessary to understand the good work of expert hands.
The next stop on our gastronomic route is Jávea, between Cabo de San Antonio and Cabo de la Nao. It is one of the best places to eat fried fish, as its freshness and quality are the main assets of the product. With a few drops of lemon and accompanied by a glass of white wine. Obviously, from any of the wineries with Alicante Wine Designation of Origin, there is no need for anything else.
But not only fried fish stand out in Jávea, but any product of the sea is also a worthy representative of local cuisine. A cuttlefish on the grill, a paella with monkfish, salted anchovies …
In Calpe, we find the best snack bar on the Costa Blanca. Although it is not recognized with any culinary prize or Michelin star, it serves fantastic sandwiches with tuna and tomato from Muchamiel and pastry with tuna. (bocadillo de melva and coca de ceba con atun). It is the perfect food to take with you to the summit of the Peñon de Ifach. This big rock visible when you arrive at Calpe from any point. Once on top enjoy the food and the infinite Mediterranean blue from the sea below.
The gastronomy of Calpe and the fishing tradition of the town go hand in hand. As a result, it created a kitchen full of recipes composed mainly of fish.
We highlight the Llauna de Calp consisting of stewed fish with tomatoes and potatoes. The Conger eel they use in this dish gives this plate its traditional taste. We should not forget the senyoret rice. This is a peeled and clean seafood paella so that we do not have to stain our hands when eating it.
Benissa is known as the land of the octopus or “Polp i missa” as they say there. Its star dish, the polp putxero, is a traditional Valencian stew where the octopus enhances all the flavors.
Costa Blanca Interior
Another of the traditional spoon dishes is the “Olleta” from Alcoy. This stew is made with beans from Villena, bacon, bloody meat sausage (Morcilla), pencas, and cured veal. The best way to try it is with the Sierra de Mariola mountains in the background. Within Costa Blanca, we find different varieties of this Olleta, such as the olla de blat (wheat) or the Olleta Alicantina.
Costa Blanca South
Go further south and try the fideuá del Campello or the cauldron of Torrevieja. And if you drop by Elche why not try a dish that surely many will not know where it originates from, crusted rice. A simple paella that is covered and baked with eggs that form the characteristic flavorful crust.
Wines, with a guarantee of origin
We have named spoken about wine earlier and now it is time to talk seriously.
The grape of the Vinalopó with the guarantee of origin is the raw material that makes it possible to produce award-winning wines.
The municipalities where this grape variety is produced are Agost, Hondón de las Nieves, Aspe, Petrer, Monforte del Cid, La Romana, and Novelda. All the vines in these areas are covered by thin paper bags to protect them from insects and birds. And it helps to achieve a balanced maturity, free of oxidation and possible deformations.
The wines with the guarantee of origin “Vinos de Alicante” (Wines from Alicante) are characterized by their aroma. As well as their echo to Mediterranean fruits and their light and fresh texture.
Another fruit with a guarantee of origin is the loquat (nispero). This gastronomic fruit with its sweet and citric slightly acid aftertaste, is the greatest exponent of the Marina Baixa region, mainly Callosa d’en Sarrià. Here we can try it in every imaginable way since its annual nispero recipes contest is famous. We recommend using it to accompany grilled meats or as a base for any dessert.
Further, into the mountains of the Costa Blanca, there are many fields with mountain cherry trees. These varieties stand out for thick and fleshy cherries with an intense red that will leave you with a smile and a tinted tongue.
Only to mention the name of Paco Torreblanca would be sufficient to finish this Blog. But there is much more to tell about chocolate and pastries in Costa Blanca. Torreblanca, a native of Villena says that chocolate is the perfect food.
If we talk about chocolate, we talk about Villajoyosa, with some of the best chocolates in Spain produced here. Valor and Clavileño have free accessible museums where the manufacturing process and the quality of their chocolates are explained.
Inside we find Juanfran Asencio’s workshop where some people say it is probably the best panettone in the world. We do not know if it is true, but it is spectacular.
Further south in Xixona and Alicante, we find the cradle of nougat. Of Arab origin, there are two types of nougat made with native raw materials: soft nougat, natural from Xixona with the guarantee of origin “Turrón de Jijona” and hard, from Alicante, classic for its white wafers glued with pure honey.
Alicante is also the land of ice cream, where “Alacant ice cream” and “Jijonenca” have offered the best ice creams since the ’30s. We also find small artisan ice-cream shops such as Azul, La Neu, Masià, or Espi. Where ice masters offer new and daring flavors, combined with the tradition of classic flavors.
To use with desserts there are many digestives that we can find on the Costa Blanca. Such as the anise that is made in Monforte del Cid as a distillation of green anise or star anise. The coffee liquors, the muscatels, and the fondillón, a traditional sweet wine from Mutxamel and Sant Joan.
It would take a lifetime to get to know Costa Blanca in depth. But we know that you know places that we do not know yet. If you want to share your gastronomic experiences and favorite dishes of the Costa Blanca we would love you to tell us about it. Costa Blanca has its traditions always present while looking to the future and innovation. Its signature cuisine and its multiple Michelin stars are a clear example of this. Respecting memory and customs is the reason for being and the culture and way of being is a reflection of it. The author’s best cuisine is practiced there, but with respect to memory and customs. Learned during centuries of good work and good eating.
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