It’s amazing what a difference a few hours’ driving south from Tarragona can make. Crossing into Valencia in late January was bidding Catalonian winter and its fierce chilling winds goodbye. As soon as we passed the delta of the Ebro River, almond trees were all out in splendid bloom, from white to dark pink and all shades in between.
We had set out for a brief foray into the region of La Safor – also known as Costa Azahar or the Orange Blossom Coast. It stretches south of the city of Valencia and before touristy Costa Blanca. The past glorious week was more than enough to convince M and I that there indeed was a more benign and welcoming climate for us: for me especially, as with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, winter is becoming increasingly challenging. We were enjoying 22ºC at mid-afternoon – just about summer. Sun and warmth and almond blossoms – and the heady perfume of orange blossoms soon to come. Ahhh… Valencia promises bliss.
And the food! The food! There is a vast variety of paellas that do not find their way into restaurants, being made exclusively at home. As everyone knows, Valencia is the homeland of paella. And I’ve already been promised by a new-found friend, also a keen cook, to be taught how to prepare these zealously guarded seasonal dishes.
Watch this space, my friends. We’ll be cooking Valencian in no time at all. Or more precisely La Saforian….