Spring is coming and bringing along sunny weather ideal for a culinary trip to Albufera, a freshwater lake in the south of Valencia next to El Palmar village. The lake is part of a natural park with its unique flora and fauna, especially rice and eel – two elements that are strongly influencing the cuisine of Valencia. Find out below what local Spanish food you shouldn’t miss while visiting the area.
Albufera is a home for almost all the ingredients necessary to prepare Valencia’s traditional dishes – rice, fish, sea food, fruit and vegetables. However, one specimen deserves more attention than others – the eel, a resident of Albufera since thousands of years ago.
All i pebre
All i pebre is the first eel dish to try in Albufera. Except fresh eel, it contains garlic, paprika, chilli, potatoes and olive oil. You can order this meal in any restaurant in El Palmar.
Espardenyà is very similar to All i pebre, but includes other kinds of meat as well – mainly chicken or rabbit. It’s a rather new meal, invented at the beginning of 20th century. There’s even a legend about its origin. In the past when groups of workers were arriving every day to work in the rice fields near Albufera, they were bringing their own ingredients to prepare lunch. One day the workers gathered to prepare their lunch together. Some of them brought ingredients for Paella, others brought eel to prepare All i pebre. Later they realized they forgot to bring rice for Paella, so they mixed all ingredients together creating a strange mix that they decided to call Espardenyà.
Albufera is a paradise for vegetarians too. Small family farms are producers of lettuce, delicious tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, onions, garlic, cabbage, zucchini etc. A tasty salad is a great companion for Paella.
For All i pebre and all the rice dishes try the restaurant Casa Angel in El Palmar. They have special offers if you book a table via their website.