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Make the most of Valencia’s culinary delights.
As true foodies will have quickly found out, Spain, like Italy, is a country of wonderful regional culinary diversity. While the Andalucian’s sip a ‘Fino’ (dry sherry) in the heat before eating fried fish, the northern Asturians drink cider with their hearty ‘Fabada’ (bean stew). So what does Valencia, recently cited as the ‘Best city for summer 2011’ by BBC Travel, have to offer?
Firstly, bearing in mind that Valencian summers are hot, a must-try traditional drink is ‘Horchata’ (made from tiger nuts, sugar and crushed ice). It’s guaranteed to cool you down after wandering around the town’s historic centre. Horchatería de Santa Catalina (horchateriasanta catalina.com), covered in lavish pictorial tiles, is the place to go. Order a typical finger-shaped farton bun to go with your drink.
Secondly, remember that Valencia is Spain’s rice-growing centre, and paella, invented here, is the region’s signature dish. Head for old-fashioned, beachside La Pepica (lapepica.com), which has been serving up superb paella since 1898. Despite the fact that former diners include, amongst other celebrities, Ava Gardner and Antonio Banderas, you can eat here for around £30, although the mouthwatering seafood paella with fresh lobster may cost a little more.
Finally, wind down with an after-dinner drink that won’t break the bank in the Café Negrito at 1 Plaza del Negrito in the lively Barrio del Carmen district. Chill out ‘alfresco’ and try one of their cocktails or coffees laced with something stronger in this Bohemian cosmopolitan meeting place that serves drinks until the early hours.