On arrival in Valencia we were promised a real Valencian home-cooked meal made by our friend’s parents (lucky us!). When it came to what dish to cook they were in a real pickle because there is such an array of typical Valencian rice dishes on offer. In the end they decided on the father’s speciality of ‘Arroz al Horno‘ (oven-roasted rice).
We turned up at the house, a single flower and a variety of pasteles (cakes) in hand, to ‘meet the parents.’ The door opened in to the most typically Spanish house I have ever seen… dark wooden cabinets with crystal on show, family pictures and relics, and pride of place the dining table which I helped to set with the family crockery.
After our meet and greet and a sneak preview of the rice bubbling in the oven, we sat down and the main event was processed in with pride in a huge terracotta pot. Gala and I couldn’t quite believe our look as the father of the household served up the dish whilst reeling off (he loves to talk, warns his son!) the ingredients… pork ribs, two types of morcillo (black pudding), tomato and what we are pretty sure was swede (a definite lost in translation moment!). Oh, and not forgetting the most important ingredient in Spanish cooking… garlic!
When serving up, he was reluctant to give us garlic ‘porque los ingleses no os gusta el ajo no?! (the English don’t like garlic do they?)’ Gala and I, huge fans of garlic in any shape or form, quickly invalidated this presumption before missing out on the perfectly oven-roasted garlic bulbs! And with who lies the blame of this crazy idea about the Brits… someone ‘very posh’… Victoria ‘Posh Spice’ Beckham.
The meal was just perfect for the nature of our tour, eating local food with local people telling us stories of their region, their country and their past!