Spanish tortilla and a guide to Valencia
Hello everyone! It’s nice to be back! It has been a very busy time for both me and K, but we took some time off, relaxed, re-energised and now we ready to carry on! Nothing a Spanish tortilla and a flash visit to Valencia can’t fix.
I have never been to Spain before and I was very excited about this trip. Couldn’t wait to taste the delicious Mediterranean food, enjoy the culture, the sun and the natural beauty. I have travelled quite a bit in Europe and I have always chosen the big cities as a destination, but as I grow older (and wiser) I realise that if you want to have an authentic experience you have to take a risk and look beyond the obvious. So, we skipped Barcelona and Madrid and went straight to Valencia. And we were utterly rewarded for our choice.
We stayed at the district of Ruzafa instead of El Carmen and it was a wise choice. Ruzafa is young, fresh, artistic and lively! With hundreds of tiny bars and restaurants, we were never hungry or thirsty. Our apartment was just opposite Mercado de Ruzafa which was extremely convenient. Every morning we paid a visit for fresh fruit, bread, manchego and chorizo, best breakfast I had in a long time. We took our time browsing the beautiful produce and talking to people who didn’t speak not even one English word, but they were always so helpful and cheerful.
When in Spain cortados are not a luxury but the norm and Comic cafe serves by far the best coffee in Ruzafa.
And in the evening we wandered around the beautiful neoclassic buildings of Ruzafa for tapas and wine. Bar hopping every evening, we tried as much as we could before dragging ourselves to bed. Chorizo and cold Alhambra beer are a must. Funny thing I didn’t get not even one hangover and I am not famous for handling my alcohol…. Ruzafa is perfect for your evenings and if you want something more upmarket try vinoteca Tomas Huerta for a wide selection of wine and traditional Catalan food.
On our first day we walked along the greenway which runs along the old river and found ourselves in the futuristic City of the Arts and Sciences. We were amazed by the architecture and as proper geeks we spend the day in the Science Museum and the Oceanographic. It’s definitely worth dedicating a day of your trip. We had lunch in the sunshine (empanadas that we bought from the market), we sipped our cortados and tried the notorious Spanish ice cream. On our way back I was amazed by the way modern and traditional architecture merge in this city. Medieval and futuristic architecture not only coexist in harmony but the complement each other.
Next day was all about walking around the city. Ruzafa is the perfect location for this and walking is the only way to discover a city’s true character. So, we walked through the beautiful neoclassic buildings to El Carmen and straight to Mercat Central. Valencians don’t buy their groceries in the supermarket… No no no! They prefer the two big markets, one in Ruzafa and this bigger one in Carmen, where they find the best produce for their paellas and tortillas! And then straight to the seafood section where you can have two mussels and other fresh snacks for only 1 euro. You can also stop at the central bar for proper lunch and wine.
We wandered around the old city which reminded me so much of Athens. The little cafes and traditional restaurants are the soul of Valencia, where you find the local people chatting and laughing over a glass of wine or a cortado…
From there we took the tram and headed to the beach. Oh I just can’t describe the joy of seeing the sea! Shoes disappeared in seconds only to feel the sand and (freezing) water under my toes. We had a long walk, ignored all the touristic restaurants on the beach and headed to the north side for the old fisherman’s village. Here you will find smaller restaurants for paellas, less touristy and much friendlier. So it was time to try the famous paella while we are at the source. Paella has many variations but for me the mixed one is the best. Rabbit, chicken and seafood all come together for the famous Spanish dish. For coffee or smoothies and the best chocolate cookie you ever had visit Bonita and while you’re at it look around for the guy with the pig-pet. Although not the pink piglet you expect she is extremely cute and a character.
And last tip. While you’re in Valencia don’t forget to look for hidden street art and stare at the beautiful sunset. Even between the buildings the colours are spectacular and you will fall in love again…
Now back to reality and I am trying to recreate the memories… through food of course! Last Saturday we celebrated our time in Valencia with a spanish tortilla. Patatas, onions, chorizo and eggs chucked into a large is pure culinary heaven! Something tells me next week it will be mixed paella!
Your shopping list
5 tbsp milk
2 medium potatoes
1 big onion
good quality chorizo (to taste)
250 gr cherry tomatoes
Peel and dice the potatoes. Pour some oil in a medium pan to cover the bottom and heat. Add the potatoes and stir every so often for about 10 minutes and add the onions. Cook in low-medium heat while stirring for about 20 minutes or until they’re cooked.
Meantime, crack the eggs in a big bowl with the milk and gently beat. Add the chopped chorizo, the potatoes and onions. In the same pan add a little bit of olive oil and heat. When it’s very warm add the eggs mixture in the pan and turn on the oven. Lower the heat and leave to cook for about 10 minutes. Cut the tomatoes in half, drizzle a bit of olive oil,thyme, season and place in an oven tray. Use a soft spatula to check the bottom of the tortilla. If it has a light brown colour it’s cooked. Place the pan in the oven to cook the top and the cherry tomatoes for about 10 minutes. Serve the tomatoes on top of the tortilla and enjoy with a cold beer!