Paella, the Best Way to Enjoy a Gastronomic Tour of Valencia

 
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VALENCIA on the Mediterranean coast of Spain is the country's third largest city. This busy port and capital of Turia is a POPULAR DESTINATION FOR TOURISTS LOOKING TO EXPERIENCE THE CULTURE OF THE REGION. Valencia is also famous for being the birthplace of one of Spain's most iconic dishes, THE PAELLA.

Paella, the Best Way to Enjoy a Gastronomic Tour of Valencia

A recent trend in travel is active GASTRONOMIC TOURISM. This offers a more complete experience than regular gastronomic tourism, giving you the chance to learn about the local cuisine, its ingredients and how to make a particular dish rather than merely eating it.

Active gastronomic tourism is a great way to discover the culinary heritage of a region at a much deeper level. The travel company My First Paella organises a specialised Valencia paella cooking class which will allow you to experience far more about the famous Spanish dish than a trip to a restaurant would ever do.

All the COOKING CLASSES ARE LED BY WELL-KNOWN LOCAL CHEFS WHO WILL TEACH YOU EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HOW TO PREPARE, MAKE AND SERVE AN AUTHENTIC PAELLA. Meat, fish and vegetarian versions are included in the tutorial but non-traditional ingredients such as sausage are not allowed.


EXPLORE VALENCIA WITH PAELLA

Your day will start with a visit to the atmospheric RUZAFA MARKET. Here, you have the chance to experience a traditional Spanish market as well as buy the ingredients you will need TO MAKE YOUR FIRST PAELLA. You can also enjoy another Spanish tradition at the many tapas stalls. There are several versions of tapas including mussels, ham and potato omelettes which are all served with a refreshing sangria.

Next, it's back to the kitchen for a masterclass where you will learn how to prepare the ingredients you bought at the market. You can choose whatever vegetables, meat or fish you want for making your first paella but only ones that are in line with traditional spanish paella recipes to help you become familiar with the local cuisine.

After you have made your first paella you then get to eat it along with a salad of fresh ingredients from the Ruzafa Market, followed by a delicious dessert of "coca de llanda", which Valencia is also famous for. The meal is accompanied by a choice of Valencian wine and beer or soft drinks and concludes with coffee, "mistela" and "cazalla".


DISCOVER THAT VALENCIA HAS MORE TO OFFER THAN JUST PAELLA

There is plenty more in Valencia to keep you busy once you have learned how to make a paella. In the city centre and not far from My First Paella and the Ruzafa Market is the CITY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES which is a good place to visit next. This modern entertainment, architectural and cultural complex is Valencia's most popular tourist destination and is designated as one of the Twelve Treasures of Spain.

The site includes EUROPE'S LARGEST AQUARIUM, THE OCEANOGRAPHIC, which represents the different aquatic environments of the world and is home to over five hundred species of sea creatures as well as wetland birds.

There are several other venues at the area to visit. THE AGORA is a covered square used for concerts, sports and exhibitions. L’Hemisferic is a 13,000 square metre combined cinema, laserium and planetarium. L'Umbracle features an outdoor art gallery of sculpture amongst a landscaped walk through thousands of plant species indigenous to Valencia.

If you want to discover more of Valencia's rich history head for the OLD TOWN. Sites of interest here include the VALENCIA CATHEDRAL, THE QUART TOWERS which once protected the city from attack, the SILK MARKET AND THE PLAZA DE LA VIRGEN which was once the site of the ROMAN FORUM.

The bell tower of the MICALET (TORRE DEL MICALET) in the PLAZA DE LA REINA offers spectacular views of Valencia and is popular with visitors and locals. Construction of the tower began in 1381 and was completed in 1429. It's more than two hundred steps and seventy metres to the top of the tower, but once there you can see all of the city's main monuments.

A great way to end your visit to Valencia is by relaxing on one of the port city's BEACHES ON THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA. LA MALVARROSA, LAS ARENAS AND LA PATACONA BEACHES all have vibrant nightlife along the boardwalks which will keep you entertained as you enjoy the amazing sunset.

Also worth a visit if you like nature is the ALBUFERA NATURAL PARK. It's one of the finest examples in Spain of a salt lagoon. The Moors called it the Mirror of the Sun. Spanish writer Vicente Blasco Ibáñez featured the Albufera in his novel Reeds and Mud about the lives of the peasant fishermen who lived in the area, which has made it one of the most recognized places in Valencia. Incidentally, La Albufera is also where the rice used to make the paellas named after the city of Valencia is grown.
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