souvenir

    Valencian souvenirs: don't buy more falleras magnets

    6/5/20 10:59 AM

    The gifts that visitors can acquire to remember the city range from food to ceramics, art and textiles. With a bit of good taste, the success of Valencian souvenirs is assured. 

    However much you take in your heart, you can also put a little piece in your pocket. The aim of the souvenir is to give you back the good memories of your holidays or to tell someone how much you have felt their absence during your holidays (e.g.). But for it to be effective, it is essential to choose well and not buy at first sight. In the city centre, especially in the area around the Cathedral and the Barrio del Carmen District, but also around the great monuments, such as the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, you will find shops with a wide range of products. Before embarking on your adventure, here is a map of the route. A list of suggestions to get you away from the classic fideuà magnet and the flamenco / fallera figure.  

    • Food. You have been told that Valencia is paella. Well, it turns out there's a lot more. Obviously, you can buy a bag of rice, and even better if it has the stamp of the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), but you may be interested to know that the Valencia Region has many other certified products. This is the case of oil, oranges and tigernuts (chufas), as well as Benicarlò artichokes, the persimmon from La Ribera and the nougat from Xixona. You can find many in the municipal markets, especially the Mercat Central, but also in specialist shops, such as the adjacent Original CV. The city also has a love affair with confectionary that will delight sweet tooth lovers, whether they opt for the tradition of buying sweet potato pastissets in Horno de San Bartolomé or dare to try the fun proposals of the Utopick chocolate shop. 
    • BeveragesIf we talk about D.O., it is impossible to forget the wines of Utiel-Requena, whether they are from large wineries or small producers. There are historical shops in the city, such as Navarro Bodeguero, which dispenses hundreds of local items, or Bodegas Baviera, a house founded in 1870 that is worth a visit in itself. They also operate as liquor stores, with products as characteristic as mistela, cazalla or Agua de València (Valencian Water is a cocktail made from a base of cava or champagneorange juicevodka and gin, as well as distilled varieties with the most typical products, such as tiger nut liqueur. València is also a city of artisan beer, with brands such as Tyris, La Socarrada, Abadía, Zeta or Altura de Vuelo. Although you can buy them in different shops, some specialized stores are Las Cervezas del Mercado, in the Mercado de Colón, or La Boutique de la Cerveza, with imports from all over Spain and abroad. 
    • Ceramics. The tradition of ceramics is deeply rooted in the Valencian people, with such important pottery centres as Manises or Paterna, where the 'socarrats' are traditional. The Region is the birthplace of such important firms as Lladró, with a shop in Poeta Querol street, or Porcelanosa, in Colón street. However, it is also possible to buy cheaper souvenirs at the Community's Craftsmanship Centre, near the IVAM, or in the historic shops of local producers. The Plaza Redonda, which holds a flea market every Sunday morning, concentrates most of them: the historic Casa de los Botijos, Colla Monlleó or Chez Ramón, among others. And by the way, pay attention if you visit the city in May. In the Plaza de la Reina the L'Escuraeta Market is held, which lavishes the baked clay containers. 
    • Contemporary art. As you well know, the tour of museums always ends at the same point, and it is none other than the shop. The Librería Dadá Bookstore is a true temple of art, which can be found in both the Muvim and the Ivam, with a wide repertoire of catalogues, books, magazines, fanzines and prints on design, architecture, comics and photography. The city also has galleries that give a boost to new creators, with two clear examples in the Ruzafa District, such as Espai Tactel or Pepita Lumier, the latter dedicated to the world of drawing and comics. A very original proposal is that of Atypical Valencia, a gift shop especially linked to design, where there are illustrated T-shirts of the mascletà, construction games of the Miguelete or cut-outs of fallera, which raise the concept of the archetypal souvenir to a higher category. 
    • Clothing. The textile industry is a faithful reflection of Valencian history. Silk weaves a rich commercial legacy, as the Lonja (Silk Exchange) states, and is still indispensable in the regional fallera costume. Beyond the spunbonded fabrics, the usual gifts are the Manila shawls, the delicate dressings and the peinetas combs, which are sold in such famous houses as Rafael Català or Tejidos Dalila. In a less expensive price range, another typical accessory is the espadrille, which can be bought in shops such as L'Espardenyeria Valenciana or near Plaza de la Merced. You may have heard of the 'Calle de las Cestas', whose real name is Musico Peydró, but it owes its nickname to the wicker products on display in its shops and street stalls. Although basketwork is the main attraction, there are also bags and shoes made of esparto grass. 
    • Sports. In a city as active as this one, sports symbols are also a local identity. Valencia has two football teams in the first division. Valencia CF has its official store in the Mestalla Stadium, but also a megastore in the middle of the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. You can find equipment, boots and balls, but also a robotic arm that hands out screen-printed shirts. The Tenda Granota of the Levante UD club also has an enclave in the stadium and near Colón Market. However, football accessories are not the only ones that can make a good gift: the taronja (orange) clothing of Valencia Basket, the biker accessories of the Ricardo Tormo Circuit or the sailing accessories that are on sale in the Real Club Náutico de Valencia (RCNV), but also in other shops of the Marina, are characteristic. 
    • And what about the classics? If you still prefer fridge magnets, mugs with drawings and postcards, take a walk around the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, the Plaza de la Reina and the Plaza de la Virgen. You will have no trouble finding unique examples of Valencian souvenirs, whichever is more striking. A must see is the Tienda de las Ollas de Hierro (Iron Pot Shop) which, with over 200 years of history, is still the oldest in Valencia. Don't let its name fool you, because it preserves pieces of all the shops it has housed, from haberdashery to silverware, but especially religious imagery and Fallas handicrafts.  

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