By now, you've surely noticed that spring is making its appearance in the city.
As it is every year, our most universal festival is followed by the season when everything seems to begin anew.
The gardens pull on a brightly coloured cloak, and from L'Horta, that other large green space that so epitomizes this region, produce begins to arrive, offering definitive confirmation that the cold weather days are numbered.
Foods from the land are accompanied by those of the sea and prime quality meats, the stars of this season’s feasts.
In spring, Valencia’s tables undergo a complete culinary revolution.
Come with us on a tour of one of our most highly prized culinary treasures: our seasonal produce.
Opt for seasonal produce
20th March marks the start of spring, when market stalls again begin to feature such popular Valencian spring produce as fava beans, green garlic, carrots, leeks, artichokes, lettuce, radishes and beetroot.
Now, you might be thinking that these products are available year-round, but now is when they are at their very finest.
Also to come are fruits such as mandarins, grapefruit, strawberries, apricots and plums. But now, a brief aside.
For we cannot fail to mention that of the many designations of origin and protected geographical indications our comunitat has to offer, no fewer than eight are held by some of our fruits.
Loquats from Callosa d’En Sarrià, Ribera del Xúquer persimmons, Vinalopó bag-grown table grapes, cherries from La Montaña de Alicante and Valencia’s citrus fruits.
And we mustn’t overlook other produce that has also been singled out, including Benicarló artichokes, chufas (tiger nuts) and Valencia arròs (rice).
Now on to our meat and fish
The list is a long one, so we will highlight just a few.
First, we head over to the sea, where spring is the best time to sample clams, mussels and oysters. This is also the perfect season for shore and river crabs, as well as langoustines, lobster, prawns and octopus.
And if it’s fish you're in the mood for, you can savour sea bream, sea bass, sole, salmon, blue whiting and anchovies, among others.
Remember: they're all in season.
Moving on to meats, a reminder that spring is the time to tempt your palate with delicious dishes prepared with pork, rabbit, lamb (suckling and paschal), hen, chicken, wild duck, turkey, baby pigeon, poularde, veal and beef.
But wait, we don't want to miss the chance to remind you that spring is also the season when a range of artisanal honey varieties arrive to sweeten our lives.
You will find orange blossom, thyme, wildflower, rosemary, various types of lavender and lemon.
Keeping a good table
Whether you prefer to take action and go to town in the kitchen, or you'd rather just tuck right into a few of València’s delicacies, these are the dishes you’ll come across in the next few months.
Valencia’s spring dishes
Rice dishes: at this time of year, the perfect choices are paella valenciana (València-style paella), arroz a banda (rice cooked in fish stock), arroz negro meloso de pescado (creamy rice with squid ink and fish), arròs amb fesols i naps (rice with beans and turnips) and vegetable paella prepared with seasonal ingredients.
Esgarraet: the main ingredients in this fresh, delicious salad are roasted peppers, salt cod, garlic and oil.
Coca de tomate: this tomato flatbread can also be topped with other seasonal vegetables if you wish.
Clòtxines (local mussels) steamed with a squeeze of lemon, and if you like spice, add a bit of chilli pepper.
The dessert menu is also a long one, featuring:
Arnadí valenciano, a time-honoured dessert made with pumpkin, sweet potato and almonds. It is also known as carabassa santa or moniato sant.
Buñuelos de calabaza (pumpkin fritters), a typical treat during the Fallas festival.
Buñuelos de higos secos (dried fig fritters).
Panquemado (sweet bread).
Mona de Pascua (sweet bread eaten at Easter).
Coca de pasas y nueces (sweet bread with raisins and walnuts).
Coca de llanda (sponge cake) with a touch of orange, yoghurt and/or honey.
Sweet and savoury cocas de Sant Joan (flatbreads).
If you don't indulge your sweet tooth this spring, it won't be for lack of opportunity.
We have days and days ahead of us to celebrate the good weather and the appearance of items we have been missing for months.
It’s finally time to enjoy them! (Observing all safety precautions, of course.)