1a Feria gastronomica de Valencia-Plaza de Toros


1st Valencia Gastronomy Fair.
Last weekend saw the first Gastronomy fair held within the circus tent which fills the bullring in Valencia. Some 40,000 people were expected to have attended by Sunday evening. The event was organised by the company which manages the bullring on behalf of the town hall. The plan was to showcase Spanish gastronomy at a time of financial crisis and to this extent the fair succeded. Some 80 exhibitors showed wine ,cheese, sausages and other meat products and preserves from regions as diverse as Asturias, the Basque region and Galicia in the North of Spain , Extremadura to the West and Cuenca, Albacete and Murcia from rather closer.
 
However organisation of the event left a little more to be desired. A lack of advance publicity we are well used to, but describing the entrance as free when as usual you had to buy tasting tickets was a bit off – especially when the tasting glass was a small plastic cone and the plate was paper rather than the more usual wine glasses and casseroles employed by other organisers of such events e.g. PROAVA who have been promoting the long established Valencian wine and food fair held every spring in the dry river bed at Alameda in the city.  You can clearly tell Valencia was not impressed as several commentators have raised this issue on the Verema site forum!
 
Nonetheless despite some shortcomings some of the exhibitors made a real effort. Amongst these the Carcaixent sausage producers La Casa  had an impressive display and generous tasting plate of their excellent traditional artesan made products available.
 
As usual we were more interested in the wines and some eight bodegas presented their selections.
 
Of these two Cooperatives in particular were interesting. Firstly we looked at the new selection of wines from the giant Baronia de Turis coop who have introduced a new range called Luna which included a crisp fragrant dry Muscat from Alexandria grapes and a fruity red both of which sell for less than 2 euros the bottle and sit well with their Baron de Turis range available in most supermarkets for just over a euro a bottle. A visit to this local bodega is on the cards for December so more later in the year. The second coop was that from Ontinyent in the Val D’albaida an hours drive inland from Valencia. Vinicola Onteniense combines the produce of Bodegas Ontinium and Almazara as well as  producing excellent olive oil. They had only recently displayed their wares at the previous weekends fair in Ontinyent itself.
 
Their white, Ontinum Blanco is 80% Macabeo and 20% Merseguera. At 11.5%abv it is pale lemon, clean and bright with medium legs. I have found similar combinations of these grapes to produce some weird scents and this did not fail to surprise with its fennel followed by tropical fruit flavours. At 3 euros the bottle it was a full dry complex wine with a long full and complex finish, equally perplexing as the nose!
 
The Ontinum Syrah at four euros 50 cents and 14.5% abv was also a pleasure. A medium cherry red, clear and bright with a violet edge it had a good smokey nose followed by warm fruit and spicy notes. On the palate it is clearly joven ( or young ) in style, medium depth, fruity and a very pleasant  quaffing wine. The Barrica 2006 at 13.5% abv was altogether more suave. Selling at 5.50 euros a bottle this blend of Tempranillo, monastrell and syrah has spent six months in american and hungarian oak before blending. Garnet clear and with long legs the syrah predominates on the nose giving a nice smokey scent with soft summer fruits on the palate, smooth,round and very drinkable.
 
Amongst the other bodegas were Murviedro some of whose wines were reviewed last month after the L´ Alcudia fair. Also exhibiting were Bodegas Fervi of Las Cuevas de Utiel. This bodega produces an excellent white tempranillo and two reds and has only been in existence for three years first exhibiting at the PROAVA wine and food fair in Valencia last April- This bodega will be the subject of an early December blog following a planned visit to the ´ garage´ where the wines are  made.
 
A pleasant fair all in all with some shortcomings which can easily be improved for next year and a welcome new event in Valencia.
 
Next on the gastronomy tour is the sweet fair at Casinos in a fortnights time.
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