1º Concurs Nacional de Coca Tradicional y Creativa de Oliva. VÍ Vid Reports.

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Friday 18  May,  a day that will go down in the town of Oliva´s history as the day Gastronomy arrived big time. For a town not short of traditional dishes based on the rich supply of local ingredients, the town has its local competitions for stuffed peppers (pebrers farcidos) and putxero allied to the Moors and Christians fiesta and of course enjoys a range of paellas and arroces using ingredients from the sea and the mountains which surround the town.

Oliva now officially has its own National Competition for Coca´s, an everyday , even humble item  which claims to be the origin of Napoli´s feted pizza!  Why not? The figatell from the nearby Ribera is the forerunner of the hamburger. Both are part of a rich tradition of dishes exported around the Mediterranean by traders, pilgrims, conquerors etc.

Today the coca is available in just about every bakery across the Valencian Community , served for almuerzo, as a snack and baked in many houses as well. Its spiritual home though is La Safor and Oliva specifically.

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Top, Miquel Font Sempere below, Coca, and cider.

For this, the first edition was organised in no small part by Miquel Font Sempere , colleague in the new Gastronomy Press Association on behalf of AGACO, the Amics Gastronomics dels Cocs d’ Oliva . Nor had he stinted in attracting Official Guests to give Government level support for the initiative! The town’s mayor, David Gonzalez and the Director of Tourism Mirea Morera could count on the presence of Enric Morera ( Presidente Corts Valencianes) the Autonomous secretary of Tourism, Francesc Colomer and the Director of Tourism in the Valencian Government Pilar Moncho.

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Team photo above with dignitaries bottom left and jury.

The jury was not short of its stars either with Michelin Star chefs Kiko Moya,’ l’ Escaleta de Cocentaina’, Manuel Alonso , ‘Manolo de la Platja de Daimus’ and Miguel Ruiz ‘ Baret de Miguel, Denia. They were joined by Juanjo Rausell, president of the Guild of Bakers and Patissiers, Paco Alonso TVEE and gastronomy critic, Pep Romany chef at the Coqueria Pont Sec de Denia and Cova Morales , gastro blogger at COMOJU.

The Coca itself is a mini pizza  base of foccacia style bread, which is either served round , oval or rectangular.

 

 

 

The entrants began by making and proving their dough before baking commenced, each taking their turn. Some included the ingredients in the bake, others dressed the bases later.

Traditionally the coca  is served with toppings of sobrasada and honey, or tomato and cheese, or onions caramelised  with olives and anchovies but there are many variations with spinach or chard, peas or baby broad beans with morcilla …..well, whatever you like and in this edition participants were free to produce whatever took their fancy! As the photographs show there were no two alike!

 

 

 

Flour for the base was provided by sponsors Moli de Pico, professional ovens were provided by COTEPA and other sponsors included Vinolivo, Bodegas BOCOPA, Dulcesol, Papes Escivá.

15 restaurants and or bakers were selected to participate having submitted photographs and recipes for the entries. They were;

  • Forn Artesa Sergio de Alginet,
  • Restaurant Mar Sala de Cullera,
  • Restaurante Oasis de Oliva,
  • Restaurant Gastrobar a l’Albade Alginet,
  • Restaurant Saez de Vallada,
  • Pasteleria de Vimar de Oliva,
  • Horno La Safor de Gandia,
  • Tapas La Xara de Xara,
  • Restaurant d’ Alma de Sanet i Negrals
  • Restaurante Avenida 2.0 Massamagrel,
  • Restaurante Altamar del Grao de Gandia,
  • Pa i mes, Forn de Pa de Playa de Gandia,
  • Coqueria de Orba,
  • Tempura bar de Denia and
  • La Seu de Denia.
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Clockwise, the ovens and ingredients with preparation by Nando of Mar Sala, Cullera.

The future of Valencian Gastronomy does not lie solely in the hands of the many bars, restaurants, bakers etc. The educational system in Valencia with its network of Centres of Tourism which are the hostelery schools teaching the next generation are incredibly important and professional. Participants also came from students at the CEIP,Costa Azahar de Grau de Castelló, CdT Alicante, CdT Valencia, CdT de Gandia and IES Mediterranea de Benidorm.

Nor as the photograph shows would you be able to tell the difference between the professional entrants and the students!

During the competition there was a bar providing  Cruzcampo and which also dispensed Heinekens Ladron de Los Manzanas, a cider produced from the juice of sweet red apples and which had a superb balancing acidity,  plus there were  a range of cocas to fight the hunger off.

The event closed after the award ceremony with a picaetta for the contestants, dignitaries and press.

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Top Pa i Mes, Bottom (l-r) Seu de Denia, IESMediterranea Benidorm and Sáez de Vallada.

 

The winners were;

  • 1. Pa i Mes, ‘Coca de la Terra’.
  • 2. La Seu de Denia, Coca de Calabaza, Cochinillo a baja temperatura y arrope,
  • 3. Sáez de Vallada, Coca de la Vall d’ Albaida,
  • Prize for the best college went to IES Mediterranea de Benidorm ,’ Bollets de la Lloseta.’

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This is the winning Coca, ‘Coca de laTerra’, tomato, green pepper red and white onions, with sausage and black pudding, parsley and dressed with olive oil and salt.

So, Oliva joins Alzira, Sueca, Cullera and Alcudia with a winner and a competition worthy of the name of a National Concurso! Roll on next years edition!

FOTO PERFIL VIVID CON LOGO OK

 

 

 

 

 

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‘La Mafia Se Sienta a la Mesa’; VÍ Vid Goes Italian!

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The ‘family’ team at La Mafia.

Thursday 3 May was the day chosen by José and his team at ‘La Mafia se sienta a la Mesa’ to relaunch their recently renovated restaurant in Avenida Francia and with it their new menu, containing traditional ingredients associated with Italian cuisine.

With parking outside (if you time your arrival carefully!) the restaurant, at No 17, very close to the Barcelo Hotel is convenient for the City of Arts and Sciences, near the beaches and in an area of Valencia with a very wide choice of ethnic eateries. It enjoys a spacious boulevard setting outside terrace with under cover tables on a wide terrace between it and the road. Along with family, friends and clients members of the Valencian gastronomy press association were treated to an exemplary range of classic and modern plates from the Italian canon of ‘Cucina y Passione’ , inside .

Italian cuisine is of course very similar to Valencian with its feet in the Mediterranean sea and its head in the fields producing healthy  vegetables, herbs and fruits and feeding  the buffalo and sheep  producing cheeses and meat of exquisite flavour and quality. Many are imported directly from Sicily.

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We started with a selection of  ‘snacks’, focaccia bread with dried tomato and burrata cheese, (buffalo), carpaccio of sea bass with olive oil, a ‘tabla’ of Italian dried sausages and jamon iberico de bellota,  Gran Padano cheese with rocket and pesto, and little pastry parcels with a spicy sauce.

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The decor inside the restaurant has a decidedly ‘family’ theme with its pictures of mafia giants and  chairs named for  characters such as the American gangster  Al Capone and ‘Godfather’ Michael Corleone.

It also has one of the best menu’s  we have seen with pages lavishly decorated with pictures of the dishes and ingredients….although the wine list at the back was lacking in Valencian wines it did enjoy some good references.

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No Italian restaurant is complete without its meat dishes, pasta, risottos and pizzas. Next out was a Steak tartare, using beef aged for 45 days  served with the obligatory egg yolk, capers  and baby spinach this was incredibly tasty and tender. Two pizzas served on the thinnest, crispiest base followed, the first with truffle oil, meat, onion and rocket the second a mixture of cheeses. Nor was the flavour of Basil and oregano at anytime missing!

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The restaurant also has a selection of top spirits and mixers  in a well stocked bar.

VÍ Vid has no hesitation recommending ‘La Mafia se sienta a la mesa.’ and wish the team well. We will be back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

4º Concurso Arroz Del Senyoret, VÍ Vid Reports from the Ciudad de Bétera.

After our brief interlude as ‘concursantes’ VÍ Vid returnedportada senyoret to the competition scene on Monday 16 April to report on the fourth annual competition for professional chefs cooking Arroz del Senyoret. Once again the competition was held in the grounds and restaurant of Evenser Restauración on the Mas Camarena estate next to the Logistic Park just off the CV35 travelling out of Valencia City.

Just twelve participating restaurants cook off in this, a slightly more controlled competition than some held in the Valencian Community. This year the restaurants were:

  • La Mar Sala, Cullera (winners on 2 previous occasions)
  • Gambrinus, Siete Aguas, (winners of the L’ Alcudia Putxero and Alzira Espardenyà competitions)
  • Juan XXIII, Benefaio,
  • Nazaret, Puçol, (winners Putxero L’Alcudia and Arroz Caldosa, Llutxent.
  • El Raco, Meliana (winners Alli Pebre, El Palmar and Putxero L’Alcudia competitions)
  • La Vieja Fabrica, L’Eliana
  • La Plaza, Torrente (winners Arroz Caldoso de Llutxent)
  • Avenida 2.0, Massamagrell ( 2x winners Caza y Bolets de Bocairent)
  • La Granja, Sueca, (Strong promoter of Valencian rice dishes throughout Spain.)
  • Sequial 20, Sueca,
  • El Rossinyol, Naquera, (5x winners Fiduea de Gandia and 4x Paella de Sueca)
  • Casa Granero, Serra, ( 4x winners Arroz a banda de Denia, 4x champions Fiduea de gandia, 3x winners Paella de Sueca, winner Paella de Cullera, winner Arroz Caldoso de Llutxent and winner Arroz amb Bledes de Lliria.)

The restaurants are selected on the basis of their dedication to promoting traditional Valencian rice dishes collage senyoret1regularly on the menus and for working within the Valencian Community. The organisation provides the ingredients and the cooking space (each has a covered pergola style tent with a gas burner) whilst Dacsa provide the rice. The one free style element is the stock and competitors are free to include whatever seafood etc goes into its make up but are not allowed to use ñoras ( dried red peppers) or lemons to decorate the final contribution as these may help identify who has cooked them!collage senyoret2

The day starts with the traditional almuerzo for jury, press and competitors which this year was provided by La Mar SalaArrozSeñoret almuerzo with their trademark paella pan full of fried potato and onions, longaniza sausages and eggs and Granero with a huge  Sobrasada, fresh bread  and  traditional Requena style bollo. This year it tried to pour with rain to dampen the spirits but the wind dropped and the sun came out. Sponsors Cruzcampo beers and Murviedro20180416_142613 provided the beverages for this part of the event with Lanjaron water and Durban coffees accompanying the gala meal afterwards. The cooking is spread over three turns with four competitors in each between 12.30 and 13,15, all cooking an arroz for six in a 50cm paella pan. For this edition the ingredients were limited to gamba roja de Denia, Corvina (a firm white fleshed fish) baby cuttlefish and mussels. A sofrito is made in Valencian Virgin Extra Olive oil which has previously cooked the seafood and is infused with flavours , especially of the gamba shells and heads…….the seafood is peeled as this was a ‘gentlemans’ dish prepared to avoid soiling the hands whilst eating the meal. The gamba heads are sometimes reserved for decoration of the final plate. The rice is added before the stock with its special ingredients is added and the dish cooked to serve.

 

As with all of these competitions the use of colorants, various levels of pimentón and saffron and the secret ingredients in the stock ( or fumet) affect both the colour and depth of flavour of the finished dish. The jury had a very difficult job deciding which was best in this edition, all the dishes are available to try once judging is complete and it is one of the pleasures to try the different styles  and discuss them with fellow judges and press colleagues. Between La Mar Sala, possibly the lightest, through to the very powerful stock from Gambrinus all were superb! On this occasion the jury consisted of  Juan Carlos Galbis (master ricechef), Fernando Navarro (Goya Gallery Restaurant), Ana Iniesta y Lucia Roselló (Evenser Restaurant) Oscar Corrons (gastronomy critic,) and  Carlos Abad (President of the  Más Camarena Association).

The winners of this fourth edition were:

  • 1st, Restaurante Sequial 20,
  • 2nd,Casa Granero de Serra
  • 3rd, Restaurante Rossinyol de Náquera.
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The prize giving followed the gala lunch which this year consisted of ;

  • Baby broad beans in a creamy sauce with Jamon,
  • Little gem salad with a vinaigrette of red summer fruits,
  • Arroz del Senyoret, ( Evenser Restaurant, Mas Camarena),
  • Turron Ice cream ( La Menorquina)

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Once again this competition showed variation and excellence in one of Valencia´s favourite and most popular seafood rice dishes. Sequial 20 can be added to the list of prize winners and VÍ Vid can recommend any of the above restaurants as providers of an excellent experience if you wish to try the authentic dish!

FOTO PERFIL VIVID CON LOGO senyoret

 

 

 

VÍ Vid Competes in the DACSA Paella League.

In March 2017 Dacsa, one of Valencia’s leading rice producers held the first ‘Paella League’, a competition ostensibly for amateurs and VÍ Vid were very happy to attend and report on the first day of the event   https://wp.me/p7dfvi-Hq . Paella is the heart and soul of Valencia, loved in its varying forms by all, cooked every weekend by Valencian families and everyday in restaurants and bars across the community.collage dacsa

In what proved to be one of the most enjoyable days we spoke to organisers, judges  and contestants alike and you could not help but be impressed by the seriousness underlying the spirits of everybody who was selected on that first day. So, when Dacsa announced they were continuing with the league and creating a new competition for 2018 VÍ Vid could hardly ignore it and we resolved to enter our own team, under the name of ‘El Desafio Ingles’ , or, the English Challenge.el desafio ingles

The rules this year are broadly the same as last. 100 teams of three are selected from those who apply for the first day and a further 100 for the second day at the end of the month. Of these, 10 winning teams from each ‘semi-final’ are selected to cook in the Grand Final in May.   Much to our amusement, and pride, we were indeed selected to cook on the first day and we invited Graham Mitchell, a close friend who has a mastery of the blowtorch,  to cook  with us.  The paella is cooked in the traditional way over a fire of orange wood and Graham´s job was to ensure the fire was low when required and raging when needed to boil the stock and cook the rice for first part of the cooking period.20180415_115431

The sense of excitement was palpable as we arrived in Almassèra, home to the Dacsa Stadium and unbelievably we found parking spaces close to the entry ( there is a lot to carry). We joined the queue of contestants waiting to register, shuffling up the street , turn by turn as the teams entered the competition area.  Inside, registration completed, we headed for bay 81, our ‘home’ for the next few hours and unloaded the cooking equipment, the  ingredients, our almuerzo, supplies of drinks etc! The area contained three chairs, the wood to cook the paella over and a table on which to unload and then display our entry later. Time seemed to fly by, announcements came over the tannoy with rapid regularity…reminders of the rules and the time in which to cook and then suddenly the countdown had finished.

 

 

 

As the fires were lit and got going the other side of this competition emerged. This is the part where the teams introduce themselves to their neighbours, find out which ‘regional version´of the Valencian paella they are cooking and start swapping almuerzo with each other. This is also the point at which you discover it is not purely an amateur IMG-20180415-WA0030competition, but one where local bars and restaurants have a surprisingly high representation albeit using an ‘alias’ as a name! Our neighbours were from Manises, (cooking the traditional variety) The Ribera Alta, (cooking a version with red peppers) whilst we cooked a traditional version from the Camp de Turia which has snails in it. Across the aisle were a team including policemen and an army officer using artichokes in their paella ( permitted when the Lima beans are not available). As we got on with cooking ours,  more and more competitors came for a sneaky peek at their neighbours efforts and there was genuine shock when some of them realised there was an ‘English’ speaking team amongst them!

 

 

 

The good nature between the teams quickly established itself and eventually crunch point was reached and the teams concentrated on whether their stock was strong 20180415_132755enough, the salt content was right and the time for putting the rice in and achieving a 20180415_132748perfect cooking was reached.                                                                                                Interplay between the teams at this point stopped unti the clock had run down, the Klaxons had announced the end of cooking time and the judges were commencing their rounds.20180415_131156

At this point the most common comment is ‘que buena pinta’ ( or ‘how good that looks’) .                      The paellas are lifted from the fires and displayed on the tables with an Official number and the judges visit each bay, talk to the team, pass on their comments and leave. At which point family and friends are allowed into the area to share the paellas with the teams, the inevitable post-mortem discussion takes place (everyone there is a total expert of course!)20180415_131817

For the record our effort was highly praised for its flavour by the judge, but we didn’t paella dacsa terminadamake it through the selection to the final because we had not produced quite enough ‘socarrat’ the golden crunchy bit on the bottom highly prized in Valencia.20180415_140348

The event was co-sponsored by Vicente Gandia wines, Alba Palitos, Coca Cola and Amstel, the latter two particularly welcome on a day with temperatures in the 30’s before the fires were lit!    Exhausted we sat and ate our entry with juez dacsa okfriends and then found the energy to pack up and depart the gladiatorial arena.                                                                         Kippered, knackered, heads held high and a bit wiser we resolved to have a go anotherDacsa Winners 2year and can only thank Dacsa for a well organised day and a hugely fun competition. We hope to report on the final at the end of May.portada vivid

 

Marina Beach Valencia, VÍ Vids Unforgettable Experience

Situated on the Las Arenas beach, a privileged location by the city´s port, The Marina Restaurant is Marina Beach Clubs great gastronomy challenge, the reference leisure and restaurant complex in Valencia.

Sebastian Gros, the French Executive chef with more than 20 years experience is responsible for designing and executing a project based on the best Mediterranean produce and Valencian traditional cuisine with a cutting edge.

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With two years of activity the Marina Beach Club has established itself as one of the best, is the only one of its type in Valencia, a city which has experienced an unprecedented culinary and cultural ‘take-off’ in recent years. It is precisely this cultural pride which led the Recaba Group, responsible for the Panorama Restaurant located on the Marina, the upcoming 5* Grand Luxury Hotel on Las Arenas Beach and a surprising and impressive restaurant in the city centre to launch this all-Valencian project. Of all these interconnected propositions it is the Marina restaurant that best represents the regions rich cornucopia making excellent use of its pantry and demonstrating that haute cuisine can be framed in a beach club atmosphere.

 

 

NATIVE  PRODUCT AND RICE WITH OWN HALLMARK

The menu is a road-map of authentic Valencian cuisine, with selected products and age-old cooking methods, to discover hand in hand with Sebastian Gros, the Executive Chef.

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Born in the city of Oyonnax, close to the French Alps and where his grandfather ran a Michelin-starred restaurant, Gros arrived in Spain after developing part of his career in equally starred restaurants in his native country, such as Chez Roger, Château Eza or Le Rivage But it was in Valencia where he decided to settle, captivated by the climate, the Mediterranean  and the potential of its emerging culinary level.

Now, Marina has a team of 24 people and has renewed its offer under the following premise. the fresh and seasonal product as the protagonist, and the traditional recipes reviewed -without skimping on creativity  Thus, we find dishes such as “esgarraet” with quince all-i-oli, artichoke roses with honey and truffle vinaigrette, various  scrambled egg dishes  (with crayfish, prawns and leeks) and other ‘straight  from the sea’ appetizers, such as mussels, clams or cuttlefish, in different elaborations. The Valencian imprint can also be seen in the tomato salad of El Perelló which is served with tuna loin or in the Mediterranean sea bass ceviche with granita of ‘Agua de Valencia´.

ROSAS DE ALCACHOFA

The taste of Gros for the sea and the mountain is evident in dishes such as calves sweet breads and grilled red prawn and in the wide variety of meats and fish that swell the menu. All this is accompanied with home baked breads (focaccia, brioche, rye, etc.) and finished off  with refreshing and sweet homemade desserts prepared by a chef patissier, such as tiger nut horchata, “valencianito” (orange juice with vanilla ice cream and Grand Marnier) or caramelized orange toast. Special mention should be made of the rice, whose elaboration is led by its own maestro, that of Juan Carlos Galbis, the first chef to receive a Michelin star in the city of Valencia

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Juan Carlos Galbis

and the son of the rice cook Antonio Galbis who has defended the original recipe of ‘Paella Valencia’ and whose work has contributed to its internationalization. In Marina the authentic version is served: with free range chicken, rabbit, snails, artichokes in season, green beans and garrofó (Lima beans) In addition, with  the advice of Galbis, the menu incorporates ‘Jornadas’  (or fortnights) of rice varying between dry and moist, traditional and creative. Among the highlights are ‘arròs dels bous ‘ (with red mullet, monkfish and cuttlefish), which takes its name from a peculiar technique of trawling with oxen, which emerged during the eighteenth century on the beach of Cabanyal and which died out at the beginning of the twentieth century.

In addition to its regular menu, Marina presents three different formulas to discover the full range of dishes:

* An off-menu with up to eight suggestions that vary each month.

* A menu of the day at a price of 19.50 euros that always includes a rice dish.

* A tasting menu of eight dishes without wine pairing (45 euros) or with pairing (65 euros) or with beer (55 euros).

To complete the gastronomic experience, the restaurant has an exceptional wine list – in which there are up to 180 references – inspired by Spain but open to the world, with numerous international labels.

EMBASSY OF THE VALENCIA BRAND                                                                                    Marina Beach Club, with 3,500 sqm and capacity for more than 1,400 people, is articulated in different areas intercommunicating.Marina Beach (6) The main building houses  ‘Sky’ (an exclusive terrace for private events) and the Marina restaurant, with a circular floor plan and  panoramic views of Las Arenas beach and the  port’s pier with a capacity for 150 diners. It has been designed and decorated by the architect Juan Ranchal and the interior designer Janfri.

OASIS ON THE SAND                                                                                                                       The experience continues on the large terrace that extends to the sea and that gives way to the infinity pool, open from mid-spring to early fall. Around it, high and low tables,  sofas and chill-out armchairs, sunbeds and rafia cocoons are distributed, ideal to enjoy the carefully selected cocktails  and premium spirits, as well as the Japanese snacks made by a sushi chef. In this area, a menu based on light and fresh dishes is served: rich salads,  “00” D.O. Santoña anchovies, Russian salad or sandwiches. These will coexist on the beachfront with the Mediterranean proposals of the ‘El Portet’ restaurant, where the fresh  fish, seafood and rice enhance a perfect summer day.

DEGUSTATION MENU “LOS 8 ACTOS DEL MARINA”

Tuna tartare, bed of wakame, Japanese seasoning and tile of nori alga.

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Ceviche in aromatized tiger nut milk (horchata) with passion fruit, freeze-dried baby tomatos and ‘Agua de Valencia’ granita. 20180410_150548_1523474295959_resized

Small bite of Galician beef steak tartar over airbag and iced cream mustard.20180410_152604_1523474104683_resized

Sea & Mountain (Sweetbreads and red prawns).20180410_155446_1523474095925_resized

Roasted octopus, cooked as “a feira”, over cream of sweet potato.20180410_153841_1523474088704_resized

Grilled foie over rose gelée with mushroom sand and truffle Hollandaise, plus Duck magret Nikkei style.

 

 

Arros Dels Bous, citrus foam and almond all-i-oli. 20180410_165045_1523472998002_resized

Caramelized french toast, coffee foam and milk-based caramel ice cream.20180410_171327_1523473016771_resized

The wines which accpmpanied the dishes.

 

Address: Marina de Valencia, s / n.                                                                                  Telephone: 96 115 00 07.                                                                                                                Schedule: Marina Restaurant, uninterrupted cuisine from 12:00 to 24:00 hours. Complex, from 11:00 to 03:30 hours.                                                                                                      Average price: € 30-35 per person

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VIvid Team

 

‘Valencia Wine Nights’ is Born! VÍ Vid’s New Wine Club for Expats in Valencia,

On 22 March a new wine club for expatriates in Valencia commenced with a tasting in Macabeo Canovas, a restaurant near the Colon market in the city centre. Born from a Imagen1discussion thread on a Facebook expats page the wine club is a response to the interest in Valencian wines amongst a new wave of  incomers to the city, keen to learn about Valencia’s wines.

VÍ Vid has been running wine tastings for some 8 years and this was a natural20180322_194233 new step for us to take.                            Our sessions are semi-formal with a commented tasting (in this case of  five  wines) in which views on the wines are welcomed and encouraged from all the participants.

The original discussion thread had been about cheap supermarket red wines and some of the wines being suggested were amongst the most ‘commercial’ and non-Valencian on the market! For this tasting VÍ Vid sought collaboration from two bodegas, Coviñas and Cent Piques to show wines widely available from Supermarkets and in Valencian bars and restaurants of a distinctly higher quality even if they were at the cheaper end of the market spectrum!                      collage expats macabeoMacabeo Canovas who hosted the event is a modern, bright and relatively new addition to the locality. A very friendly environment where quality food is offered and orders are made freshly. They offered a special post tasting menu, having given over more than half their space to our tasting, including their specialist breads, fillings and ‘sandwiches’ made on the premises and completed to the diners request. You can read our review of Macabeo Canovas at https://wp.me/p7dfvi-1hy

Coviñas is the largest bodega in Utiel-Requena, the Denomination of Origin 70kms to the West of the city. It is a second line bodega (actually 10 bodegas) which supply wines in-bulk and in bottle for supermarkets, bars, restaurants and to specialist shops as well as exporting huge amounts as well, in a number of different ranges. Coviñas have been prominent in raising the visibility of wines from the region in the export market, particularly of the native variety Bobal working with the DO and Territorio de Bobal which is pursuing World Heritage status with UNESCO for the 2700 year-old industry.

By contrast Cent Piques is an altogether different entity. A small operation which buys grapes and finished wines from other producers, using their spare capacity sometimes to produce  wines which are nearly all ecological, mono-varietal and ‘Vino de Autor’ ( wines which reflect the soul of the wine-maker) Their production is small, sometimes under 1000 bottles of a particular wine and are marketed directly to bars/restaurants,  one or two specialist wine shops and are also available to our wine clubs who have tasted many of their new wines as they are released.

16 tasters gathered on the 22 March at the beginning of this new project and tasted the following wines;

Bodegas Coviñas, Enterizo Macabeo Blanco, 2017, DO Utiel-Requena. This white is straw in colour and from the white variety most widely planted in the Valencian Communities five DO´s. Clean and bright with gold flashes it has a particularly expressive nose of ripe red apple, pear and melon with white flowers and a hint of fennel. In the mouth the wine has an easy pass with a big hit of fruit matched with a serious acidity which balances perfectly and a long full finish with touch of minerality. The wine is widely available in supermarkets such as Consum which had it on offer for 1.98€ but which has subsequently risen to a more normal 2.30€ a bottle.

Bodegas Coviñas, Enterizo Bobal Rosado, 2017 DO Utiel-Requena. 

This is an absolute classic Valencian rosado from the Bobal variety, the regions native grape. The bodega does not go in for fancy pale pink wine which is regrettably becoming the trend here, producing a strawberry red colour wine, clean and bright with a violet edge. On the nose it has strawberry, raspberry and hints of bubble-gum and lollipop, flavours which are replicated in the mouth with a clean fresh acidity and a long full finish. The same price as the wine above these wines go with just about any food and are invaluable in Summer when it is too hot to drink red wines. This wine has been awarded a gold medal in the Concurso de Vinos Valencianos organised by Proava.

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Cent Piques, Bodegas Vinados, Trilogia 2017 Vino de Autor.

Produced from three varieties, Graciano, Tempranillo and Monastrell with no oak ageing this is a young wine with a lot of fruit. Graciano is unusual in Valencia, an Italian variety which is grown more in the Rioja region. Tempranillo is the most widely planted red grape  in Spain, a workhorse variety an Monastrell is the regional variety of Alicante. In this wine the red fruit predominates on the nose, raspberry , and in the mouth the others balance out the wine giving a very pleasant, easy drinking red, round with a long finish. Available in bars and restaurants, prices vary.

Cent Piques, Bodegas Vinados, Graciano 2017 Vino de Autor.

The single variety Graciano which was used in the above blend is a red which shows the varietal characteristics well. The wine has simply been fermented in stainless steel before being stabilised and bottled. On the nose it is brambly raspberry and blackberry and in the mouth a spiky fruit well-balanced with round tannins and easy to drink. perfect on its own or with mild cheeses or jamon, ibericos etc. Available to bars/restaurants and prices vary accordingly.

Aula Merlot 2016, Bodegas Coviñas, Vino de Autor, DO Utiel-Requena .

From a range of  monovarietal wines aimed at restaurants which all show excellent varietal characteristics. This Merlot is plum red, bright in colour and on the nose has plum, damson and hints of ripe fruits. A classic French variety now grown well all over the world, it is full in the mouth, ripe fruit, soft tannins and sufficient acidity to balance this wine perfectly. It is available through supermarkets as well and currently is in Carrefour for around 5.30€ a bottle. prices will vary in restaurants.

This successful first tasting has led to calls for  further events and we hope the second tasting will take place in the same venue in the second half of April. VÍ Vid will be happy to create further new groups if required and will conduct tastings for small groups in your house and other events. Just e-mail us! vividvinos@hotmail.com

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VI´vid Team

The Rebirth Of Mariluna, New Image and New Varieties, a VÍ Vid Report.

 

The 26th of  March was the date chosen by Sierra Norte to present their new Mariluna range in the Marina Beach Restaurant, wines  which use national varieties, Tempranillo and Bobal in red, and Verdejo and Macabeo in white. Imagen4Manuel Olmo, winemaker and the bodega’s managing director  explained  that the evolution of Mariluna ‘inside and out’ is a commitment by the winery to bring quality wine to  younger wine drinkers with a more minimalist graphic in its labeling.  Organic wines of Mediterranean character  which is the imprint of Sierra Norte: great freshness and aromatic intensity.Imagen2

Mariluna has a version in red and another in white, and in the development of both they have  opted for the most internationally recognized Spanish varieties, which are accompanied by Mediterranean native varieties. Another new feature is that it has an organic wine  certification.     In  Mariluna white, the predominant variety is Verdejo (85%), which is accompanied by Macabeo.mariluna blanco mio For its preparation, only the free run juice, which is obtained from a very light pressing of the grape, is used. As a differential element from other whites, this wine has two months of aging on its fine lees, with a weekly stirring that increases its volume and complexity in the mouth. The result is a very aromatic wine on the nose, fresh, with notes of white flowers, citrus and apricot. Friendly in the mouth, pleasant, with good acidity, complex and unctuous, with a creamy touch. It is rich and with a long afertaste The wine has,  by the way has already won its first medal, the bronze in the Concurso de Vinos Valencianos organised by Proava. We tried the wine with stunning appetisers such as sushi, gyozas, and mushroom croquettes and  light starters made by the Marina Beach chef, but  it also pairs perfectly with white fish, seafood, fresh cheeses and salads.

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Mapi Domingo,winemaker, and Manuel Olmo

 

This new personality of the wine is accompanied by a new image, a label with a minimalist representation of the bottom of the sea, appealing to the name of the wine and also to its Mediterranean character.
In the case of Mariluna red,Imagen5 the majority variety is Tempranillo (85%)  together with Bobal. The grapes come from vineyards over 40 years old. In its preparation, a ‘pumpover’ technique is used, which consists of extracting the entire must from the tank in its maceration phase and re-incorporating it at once to cause the liquid to break the so-called cap, formed by the skins, to obtain more color and structure. This wine then rests for six months in French and American oak barrels. At first sight medium-deep, , ruby-red colour with purple hues. Clean and bright, Nice ripe fruit on the nose with a  touch of cacao, red fruit, toasty notes and sweet spices. It is fresh and elegant with good structure on the palate, silky with well integrated acidity and a pleasant aftertaste.                                                     
It goes well with semi-cured cheese, grilled tuna fish, white meats or even grilled red meats, such as goat or lamb. It would also pair well  with mushrooms, cod and other white fish in sauces                  Sierra Norte will be present in the Mostra de Vins i Aliments, which takes place in Valencia from 5 to 9 April, so you will have the opportunity to taste their fantastic wines.

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VI´vid Team