VÍ Vid, the London Paella School and a Masterclass in Seafood Paella Cookery.

VÍ Vid and the chef proprietors of the London Paella School Xavi Moreño and Javi Rejas have been friends since we initially met when they were contestants in the 54th International Paella Competition in Sueca back in 2014. We have watched with interest as they have developed the school teaching residents of London and visitors to the capital how to cook the authentic Valencian paellas as well as organising  corporate events with team building and cooking paellas in Battersea Park and the London Festival .

VÍ Vid with xavi Meroño and javi Rejas in Sueca, 2014

This year Xavi presented more than 1500 portions over the London Festival weekend with a 100m queue at all times, content to wait up to an hour  for an authentic chorizo free paella, testament to the fact that the real item is very popular in the Uk and not diminished by the ‘variations’ of certain celebrity British chefs.

Whilst Javi is developing the brand currently in Singapore, Xavi has been active in taking the project a step further by inviting guests to participate in 4 or 6 day cooking holiday´s in Valencia where they can enjoy not just masterclasses in cooking authentic paellas and other dishes but also culinary tours.

This weekend the first course started and Xavi has escorted his guests to Algiros to see a local paella competition ( of the sort we have reported on many times before) to eat in some of Valencia´s best restaurants such as Succursal, visit the rice fields of the Albufera (and enjoy planting the new rice at Tartana) to visit the Central market and buy authentic ingredients such as saffron, paella rice and the seafood for the masterclass in Seafood paella.

This was the point at which VÍ Vid joined in.

paella wines
Opening the first bottle.

Xavi had invited us to attend this masterclass, held in the excellent facilities of Food and Fun in Calle Linterna with its individual cooking stations provided by Flames VLC who also equipped the London facility.

The brief was to provide some wines (Valencian wines of course!) to accompany the aperitifs ( Jamon Iberico, cheeses from Los Pedrones, tortilla, clams and tellinas and, of course the Seafood paella.)

So on Sunday 10 June we presented our selection of wines from across the Valencian Community whilst Xavi showed us how to prepare a fumet of fresh seafood, the seafood for the paella itself and then cook the paella.

cheese and wines
Cheese from Los Pedrones, Wines from Valencia.

We started with two whites, Herencia HoyaMarina´s ‘La Pulga de Morella’ ( DO Valencia  – a blend of  Sauvignon Blanc and Macabeo and Finca Collado´s Blanco, DO Alicante and a blend of Chardonnay and Moscatel). These contrasting whites provided a perfect match with the salty jamon and the mild sheep’s cheese but, for comparison we also tasted the Finca Collado Syrah/Monastrell blend, a fruity red for drinking young which also matched well.

Whilst  Xavi then demonstrated how to cook the fumet with onion, leek, carrot, olive oil, pimentón, bay leaf, small fish including scorpion fish for its red colour and flavour and of course, ‘galeras’ and shore crabs.

Clockwise vegetables, clams,mussles,fresh fish and cuttlefish for stock, crab, galeras and ñoras

Whilst this cooked down  and then enjoyed a gentle simmer for 20 minutes Xavi prepared the prawns, including a special technique to remove the intestine without butterflying them, and the mussels, clams and cuttlefish.

The paella commences by frying the prawns in the hot oil to extract flavour and then reserving them. The cuttlefish goes next and then when this is softened the sofrito commences with the addition of grated skinned tomato, then ñora ( a dried red pepper of the variety used for pimentón which has been soaked in water for about 4 hours) chopped with garlic. When this is cooked down the fumet is added, about three times the volume of rice to be added later. The stock is checked for salt then when this is simmering the rice goes into the pan which is shaken to even it out and a fierce boil commences for 8 minutes.

commencing with the prawns, cuttlefish and advancing!

The prawns, clams and mussels are added to the dish decoratively. After this the heat is reduced until the rice has absorbed all the stock. If socarrat is required it is cooked gently a little longer to allow the oil to cook out and create the golden base.

paella mussels

The paella rests then for 5 minutes or so.

Whilst all this happened we moved on to Marina Alta, a dry Moscatel from Bocopa in DO Alicante, pungent, fresh and aromatic with an apricot nose as a further aperitif and the paella demonstration continued.

Of course, as it was a masterclass the participants including Canadian Patricia Allard (pictured) then had to match Xavi´s paella by preparing a fumet and paella of their own.

clockwise cooking off the cuttlefish, boiling the rice, and stock preparation.

Once we had all done that, with Xavi´s enthusiastic encouragement and guidance we sat down to share our attempts and enjoy them!

With this we drank Bobal Rosado from Coviñas, with the depth of a red, but the fresh light weight and acidity of a white wine its fruit was the again the perfect match for the paella as were the whites from Finca Collado and Hoyamarina.

Xavi Meroño

As an experiment in collaboration we were very pleased to have been invited to participate and complement the gastronomy with some of Valencias best wines and thank the bodegas once again for the trust they show in us. We believe this is a fantastic initiative and look forward to more schools visiting Valencia.

London Paella school evening
Proof of the pudding…..

We hope this is the beginning of a lasting collaboration with Xavi and the London Paella School  with its #paellacookingholidays courses in Valencia in the future.

One thing is for sure the participants thoroughly enjoyed themselves and learned a huge amount at the hands of this genial ‘cocinero’ and superb teacher!




A Day ‘En familia’ with Latorre; VÍ Vid reports from Finca Garrido.

There are days when our work with bodegas really feels very special and one such was Saturday 9 June when VÍ Vid was invited to celebrate with the Latorré family both the 50th anniversary of the Bodega in its current life and the co-incidental relaunch of their wines with a series of new labels.20180609_115608

Our personal relationship goes back to before VÍ Vids  first visit to the bodega in 2014. Going right back in time to early editions of Ferevin, Bloggers conferences with DO Utiel-Requena in 2010 and 2011 Luis Miguel Latorre has been a constant friend,


source of information, educator and much more, many times inviting us to the bodega to try something new , allowing us to taste from deposit and barrica and to  sample some of the bodegas oldest wines. He has never flinched when asked to be  a source of wines for many, many tastings over the years and we are grateful for the trust and confidence he has placed in us to present the bodegas wines in a variety of different events including a 20180609_122553memorable English language tasting for Proava covered by the local TV company.

Many times we have enjoyed his company together with that of  his wife Silvia and Saturday was no exception. The event in the bodegas Señorial house, the Finca Garrido, set amongst the bodegas vineyards in nearby  Los Marcos, was a family affair first and foremost with all the generations present.

The event opened with a welcome drink on the terrace and catering provided by El Yantar, Venta del Moro´s premier restaurant ( currently 20180609_133224undergoing refurbishment but re-opening in early August) . Chef Carlos, who together with his mother runs this family business spent some time telling us of his other activities keeping him and his fusion style of cooking extremely busy and  we have promised to visit at the earliest opportunity after it re-opens.

As we mingled  with family members, the President and Secretary of the DO, Luis Miguel and Carmina, the Mayor Luis Francisco and three other members of the press corps,  it was clear in what high regard the bodega and Luis Miguel and winemaker son (also Luis Miguel) are held by the community.20180609_115620

A brief presentation took place explaining the history of the bodega (access this from https://wp.me/p16pqB-Cc – a report of VÍ Vid´s  first visit) the families role over the last 50 years and this was followed by  Luis Miguel explaining  the radical re-design of the bodegas lables for the Parreño and Duque de Arcas ranges and re-launch before the family individually welcomed everyone to the lunch which followed, accompanied of course by the bodegas wines.20180609_125137

Suffice to say that the bodega has been a beacon of improvement in winemaking and has introduced the most modern techniques whilst retaining the essentially traditional style and artesan wines they make, including the updated Catamaran ( formerly heavily oaked but now fresh and very drinkable) and  the Alta Expresión Bobal which has been a highlight of the DO’s push to promote Bobal, the variety , and the territory on the International stage.20180609_115629

We could not have been received more generously had we actually been family and thoroughly enjoyed our day with Luis Miguel, Silvia and the extended Latorré family! Thank you and we look forward to seeing you inthe ‘Certamen’  in  Venta del Moro in early August.


Murviedro Debut their New Range of Wines! A VI Vid report.

Last Wednesday  June 6th , 29542965_1841364709266841_1666560146596830551_nMurviedro  introduced their new range in an amazing and cozy event surrounded by friends , colleagues and press , and also  premiered their  new ranges ‘La Casa de la Seda’, ‘Pugnus’, ‘Galeam’ and ‘Audentia’, each of them with their own essence, personality and identity. The wines are strongly differentiated by the three  Denominations of Origin,  “Valencia”, “Utiel-Requena” and “Alicante” and  their new flagship  identity, ‘La Casa de la Seda’ that was launched at the beginning of  2018, coinciding with the   Bodegas 90th Anniversary.

The new brand “Muri Veteres” goes back to its history, to its roots,  in a clear allusion to the old walls that surrounded the old ‘Villa’ of Requena, which were key testimony in the numerous fights during the Reconquest period .                                                                “Pugnus” is the name chosen by the winery to represent the DOP Utiel-Requena range, which means “Fight/Struggle” in Latin. A clear tribute to the growers that struggled very hard to keep their lands and vineyards to make great wines. The range is composed  of a red reserve, a red and a young rosado  under the  DOP Utiel Requena,  from a selection  of  the iconic Bobal variety.


“Audentia” , or Courage in Latin is the name for the DOP Valencia range, and it was another  feature that characterized the inhabitants of Valencia20180606_195841_1528488179225_resized (2) during the Reconquest period and   which includes a white Sauvignon Blanc/Muscat, a rosado Cabernet  Sauvignon, a Petit  Verdot and a red reserve which  is a blend  of  Tempranillo, Monastrell and Cabernet  Sauvignon.  All of them convey  the soul of the authentic Valencian wine personality, 20180606_195858_1528488174955_resizedvery expressive on the nose, good pass on the palate  and a long  pleasant after-taste. DO VALENCIA

We tried them paired with a great selection of “tapas” made by Grupo Rex for this special release, at the Alqueria de Campanar venue.


 Finally to complete the presentation a third range called”Galeam”,  in Latin “Helmet,” which symbolizes the protection of  people facing  adversity, taking care of  its vineyards  and traditions to pass them on future generations.


This range is made up of a red crianza made from a selection of Monastrell grapes, an organic white Dry Muscat and a 100% red Monastrell also organic, all made under  DOP Alicante . collage murviedro1As all of you know Monastrell and Muscat are the most widely  varieties grown in the Alicante area and this range shows all the Monastrell  richness, very expressive on the nose, cherry deep colour, complex, elegant and velvety in the mouth.  The presentation was conducted by Marc Grinn, Managing Director of Murviedro and Xavier Solano, Commercial Director in a relaxing and friendly environment.

A special mention 20180606_200820_1528488164165_resizedfor  their flagship top wine “La Casa de la Seda” , from selected Bobal vines of over 100 years of age from Finca Ardal and  named after the new visitor centre in Requena´s old town. Intense red colour, purple flashes, it has long legs, a fruity point on the nose and in the mouth blackcurrant, aromatic herbs, violets and spices such as saffron.                                                                                                    An unforgettable evening with the Murviedro family and their new wines and  labels  inspired by the beauty of the drawings of ancient silk fabrics that were traded during the era of the Silk Road which Valencia was an important part of.


La Torre extra virgin olive oil “The Liquid Gold” a VIvid report

Finca la Torre is located just 15 minutes away from the lively centre of Antequera and is completely surrounded by 380ha of olive groves, fields, pine forest and flanked by two hill ranges. This exceptional location offers extensive views that sweep from south to west.

This mill, only 50km inland from the provincial capital, has won more than 30 awards in the last five years, including six Gold and two Best in Class Awards at the prestigious New York International Olive Oil Competition.

For more than 2,200 years, Finca la Torre has occupied a special place in the fascinating world of olive oil production and trade.  Olive growing and the purely mechanical production of olive oil are simply ideal for cultivation in accordance with organic guidelines. With the optimum cultivation of soil and trees, the trees produce large quantities of aromatic oleiferous fruits.    22552826_1866206470361061_5018399537211715465_n

Consequently, the biological olive grove is not simply an ideology for them but a logical basis for the production of high-quality olive oil. They use all aspects of their extensive expertise, ranging from optimal pruning, fertilisation with  their own compost (obtained from the rearing of sheep and horses) and targeted irrigation to skiful pest control (using specific insect traps and benefical organisms).

Under the supervision of Víctor Pérez Serrano, the agricultural engineer at the head of the Project since 2011, Finca La Torre has become leading olive oil producer thanks to a centenary olive grove that provides an exceptional  raw material , 28377883_1932575877057453_8589588101128356632_nwith a self-sufficient production philosophy, eco-sustainable and biodynamic that respects the environment, and allows the fruit to extract its full potential through the latest technology. The product range includes four monovarietal oils (Hojiblanca, Arbequina, Picudo and Cornicabra), and  each one holds the essential features of the olive it comes from. The extra virgin olive oil “Selección Hojiblanca” is the variety that has achieved the “Food Award of Spain: Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2017-2018” in the modality “Green bitter”, and this is the fifth  year that it has achieved this prestigious award!

FINCALATORRE-10From olive trees with more than 100 years old, “Selección Hojiblanca” is the La Torre flagship: An organic  olive oil that holds a great complexity and harmony, both on the nose and on the palate. This organic and biodynamic Extra Virgin Olive Oil gives memories of freshly cut grass on the nose, and in the mouth delicate fruit, fresh, bitter and spicy with hints of green almond, apple and banana. Complex, persistent and balanced. On the market you can find it just for 15€  500ml  and 9€ for 250ml, both sold in an elegant rectangular glass bottle.premio_aove_16_fincalatorre-680x477

The “Selección Arbequina”  is picked and delivered in 400 kg boxes to the mill, then  immediate  milled. Cold extraction and  storage in stainless steel tanks gives its taste  a delicate fruit, fresh with notes of banana and apples.

At the beginning of this year Finca La Torre  has released a special “One Twins Pack” featuring two, single-variety extra virgin olive oils: Hojiblanca and Arbequina, each made from the very best olives that were gathered by hand on the first day of the 2017 harvest. Apart from the unbeatable quality of the product, these limited-edition (only 1,000 units produced) olive oils come in specially designed, 200-milliliter bottles with wood stoppers, which evoke the elegance of a luxury perfume.  FINCALATORRE-TWIN (2)

In addition to being organic, eco-sustainable and biodynamic, FINCALATORRE-TWINthe “One Organic Arbequina” and “One Organic Hojiblanca” olive oils are also wonderfully fruity, with notes of freshly cut grass, apple and banana, imbued with the freshness that only early-harvest, green olives can provide. The “Twins Pack” price is just 35€.

We have had the privilege of tasting both at Apicius Restaurant last Monday, in their presentation to the culinary press, matching in a perfect harmony with the menu made by the chef Enrique Medina for this special lunch.

Menu La Torre

Chef’s appetizers

Sweet onion from Fuentes with red tuna Balfegó and ponzu


Foie-gras ganache with fresh Green peas of Maresme  and pipes

Skewered hake from the Cantabrico with mayonnaise and La Torre Olive oil


Pistachio biscuit with White chocolate topping by La Torre Olive Oil


Petit Fours and coffee

Wines: Blanc de Enguera DO Valencia and Lopez de Haro crianza D.O.C. Rioja

Congratulations to La Torre for such a superb extra virgin olive oil and to Apicius for the amazing menu!!


Avenida 2.0 Winner of the 3rd Paella de Cullera Competition, VÍ Vid reports.

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There are worse things to do than report on  a cookery competition and this one was a cracker! Jairo Vargos and Andrés Valero of Avenida 2.0, the  restaurant in Massamagrel seemed `pumped up’  for this contest during the pre-contest breakfast.



Our colleague Cova Morales considers these ‘almuerzos’ to be the best part of the competitions held across the Valencian Community simply because the fierce rivalry between the chefs is set aside, each bringing something to share with their colleagues and talk about family, friends and the weather. This is a very Valencian trait, there is no better way to pass time than spending it with it friends, sharing a meal. It is an essential element of the Valencian character and this extends to the cooking later as well. we have all seen as Cova has noted, the occasional glitch in a competitors progress…..but all the others will rally round providing their spare ingredients if necessary so that an opponent can have a second chance.

VÍ Vid also values these breakfasts, at which the gastro press are equally welcomed, to ‘catch up` with friends, the latest news and some of the new recipes which they are trying in their restaurants as well as learning some new techniques ( to pass on to you) and for our own lunches!

Tuesday 22 March was an exceptional competition. Originally the brainchild of Salvador Gascon ( Local and Regional masterchef )  who is Honorary President of the Jury, and is this year confined to a wheelchair following a serious illness but who was there to ensure the quality of his recipe and the  contest kept its prestigious level. It did!

Preparation with ingredients, Gambrinus and Casa Granero

The contestants use exactly the same ingredients which are largely obtained from the local seafood market. The fumet or seafood stock therefore becomes  the most important element of the dish and each contestant makes their own to a personal  recipe.

The seafood elements ( red mullet fillets, cuttlefish, figatells from rascasse, langostinas) plus a sofrito of tomatoes from Cullera, onions, garlic and olive oil from Enguera with saffron, pimentón dulce and local rice from either  J.Sendra or Albufera varieties are all locally produced, an essential element of this competition which draws on the rich culinary tradition of the Ribera and the Albufera.

Once again, a star jury was recruited including Susi Diaz, Michelin starred chef at La Finca, Elche and a regular judge on the Spanish version of Masterchef, Pedro Mocholi (gastronomy critic) and Diego Gallego President of the Cassola de San Blai Association.

The Jury with Salvador Gascon (bottom right)

From the outset of cooking the square on the seafront in Cullera had a wonderful smell of the competing fumets, then as each team started to cook their paellas the scents of prawns etc started to dominate.

The seafood all cooked and reserved, the sofrito is prepared, the rice added and then the stock before the seafood is added back on top for the short period it takes the rice to absorb the liquid and swell up.

Presentation is again a matter of personal choice but the reality was the paellas were very difficult to distinguish between either in colour or design! The jury found their task particularly difficult this year. As Salvador Gascon noted, in each of the three years of this concurso`s short history the chefs have prepared more and more and you could tell!


When the judging is complete the remains of the paellas are made available to the public who have been able to observe the cooking from the promenade and a queue forms quite early in the morning to ensure attendees get a plate! This is a nice touch although it does mean that it is not possible for the press to evaluate the entries as well!

Public queue for the paellas.

The participating restaurants this year were:-

  •  Restaurante Al Grano (La Cañada-Paterna),
  • La Taula (Llíria),
  • Restaurante Bon Aire (El Palmar),
  • Restaurante Gambrinus (Siete Aguas),
  • Ca Agustí Arrosseria (Sueca),
  • Restaurante Miguel y Juani (l’Alcúdia),
  • Restaurante Nou Racó (El Palmar),
  • Restaurante Casa Granero (Serra),
  • Salones Canor (Teulada-Moraira),
  • La Granja (Sueca),
  • Palau Miramar (Miramar),
  • Vinotinto (Valencia),
  • Avenida 2.0 (Massamagrell),
  • Rincón del Faro (Cullera),
  • Ulises-Piga (Cullera),
  • Casa Ramón (Cullera).

The press are of course not entirely deprived, attending instead a gala lunch which follows the presentations of certificates of participation and the award of the prizes to the top three chefs.

The winners for the record were:

  • 1. Avenida 2.0 Massamagrell,
  • 2.  Bon Aire del Palmar (Raúl Magraner and Rosa Roig).
  • 3.  Casa Ramón, (Ramón y Fernando Olivares)

Winnerspaella de Cullera

During the awards ceremony Mayor of Cullera ( Jordi Mayor) commented that ‘ the Paella de Cullera is unique to the town and we should know how to  exploit it’ , very much a part of the policy of using local gastronomy to attract visitors and tourists to the town.

During the next week these nine restaurants in Cullera will be promoting the plate and VÍ Vid thoroughly recommends trying it if you possibly can!

  •  La Mar Salà,
  • Los Olivos,
  • Ricardo,
  • El Blanco,
  • El Rincón del Faro,
  • L’Illa,
  • Casa Nostra,
  • Casa Rocher
  • Club de Tenis.

The gala lunch held this year in Los Olivos restaurant overlooking the beach and the sea


consisted of a copious menu of Cantabrian anchovies with tomato, a tartare of red tuna with avocado followed by a Mediterranean salad of air-dried fish, little gem lettuce and asparagus, Paella de Cullera and then plates of fresh summer fruits and a ‘tarta especial de Paella de Cullera’.


Wines were Las Dosces white and the Red Bobal, a spectacular pairing in both cases from Chozas Carrascal.

VÍ Vid believes this edition of the competition will be very difficult to better!

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


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.

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.

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.
cocaprepand ovens
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.

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.’

coca de Oliva 2018 028

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!







‘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.


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.


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.


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!


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!