Year of Grace, Day 232. Dining in the shadow of the Borgias

It is irrational I realize, but I felt a shade of trepidation dining in the city of Gandía, just south of Valencia, whose claim to fame is as the ducal seat of the Borgia family, or in its Spanish or rather Valencian spelling, Borja. Which, history tells us, had been infamous for all sorts of malevolence in medieval Italy, in particular for poison secreted in a ring, ready to hand for sprinkling conveniently into food. (Recent historians now allege all this infamy may have been grossly exaggerated, but not being a historian, I am not qualified to comment.)

So perhaps it was with enormous relief that our first visit to Gandía during its regular mercadillo or open market day (last Friday) ended without any mishap associated with food poisoning. To the contrary, we had a superb meal, prepared by a female chef (the first we’ve met in our 4 months in Spain), in L’Abadía (The Abbey), a lovely restaurant a mere minute’s walk from the Borja palace. Where can you dine on 5 courses, each one lovingly prepared from scratch, for 11 Euros (just a bit over 11 US dollars)? It was a fitting cap to an introduction to Gandía. We shall be back to sample more of Ana’s offerings and explore more of this alluring city.

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