If you are thinking about Spanish specialities, most people assume paella is the signature dish across the country. While this is certainly one of the best meals you can have in the Valencia region (where the finest Bomba rice is grown), there are lots of other delicious dishes to sample if you are travelling around the Alicante area.
Here are our top seven, all of which go excellently with a glass of local wine…
1- Denia Prawns
Prawns from Denia are a distinctive shade of red, best cooked by frying them with a dash of olive oil and a clove or two of garlic. There are several chefs in the area who prepare them especially well, but you can usually find Denia prawns on the menu of the many tapas bars around the Costa Blanca.
2 – Salazones
Salazones are portions of salted fish – usually tuna, cod, anchovies or even octopus. These can have a very strong flavour, so we recommend trying them as a tapas plate first (although you will almost certainly be ordering a second plate).
3 – Esgarrat
We hope you like fish! Esgarrat is another local speciality involving seafood. A small portion of cod is served mixed with sweet red peppers, garlic and olive oil to create a delicious starter or tapas dish.
4 – Alcachofas de Almoradi
Artichokes are a popular crop on the Costa Blanca – you’ll probably notice them growing in the local fields, particularly in Almoradi. This has inspired many of the town’s favourite dishes, including steamed artichokes and stuffed artichokes. In spring, Almoradi even hosts a week-long artichoke festival.
5 – Olla Churra
Olla Churra (or Olla Xurra) is a type of stew, comprising various meats and sausages mixed with beans and vegetables – sometimes with potatoes or rice as well. It’s hearty and full-flavoured (and one of the few traditional local meals that doesn’t contain fish).
6 – Arroz a Banda
Arroz a Banda is a local rice and fish dish, which some people actually think is more delicious than paella. Rice is cooked with peppers and garlic, together with bits of fish and fish stock. Find out if you prefer it to the conventional paella we are so familiar with.
7 – Turrón
What better way to finish off a delicious meal than with something sweet? Turrón is a type of nougat, made from almonds and honey. It is one of the region’s most popular traditional treats, although the recipe varies slightly across different areas. The Jijona version (from where Turrón is believed to have originated) is known for being particularly soft, while the Alicante nougat has more “bite”.