Where to eat around Valencia (1).

Where to eat around Valencia(1).
Valencia is a beautiful city and once you learn to avoid the tourist traps and chain eateries around the centre you soon start to find wine bars, tapas bars and good restaurants serving authentic Valencian and modern style food at very reasonable prices. This then is the first in a new strand of blogs aimed at finding good places to eat in and around Valencia and will be added to from time to time.
I have written about Las Añadas de España several times before. This big delicatessen and wine shop on Xativa near the North Station and Plaza del Ajuntamiento actually does almuerzo every other Tuesday. Usually costing around €5 the delicatessen takes the opportunity to offer a variety of gourmet products with a glass of wine and a coffee. In the past few weeks we have tried top quality canned seafood, smoked salmon and cod, foie gras, jamon, sausages and other cured meat products and cheeses from their range and which are usually on promotion. The sessions are informal with a brief presentation from the supplier and occasionally a word or two from the wine supplier or Maria the in-house Somellier.
This week we tried, for example, three sheeps cheeses with artesan bread,  fig marmalade and a balsamic fig compote. The cheeses were supplied by the family firm of Sotillo from La Ribera, Burgos who have been cheesemakers since 1947. There were a lovely puro de oveja curado,a semicurado and a puro from untreated milk. All three had saltiness and a slight acidity but were quite different expressing their different ageing and manufacture. The cheese was accompanied by a glass or two from the Murviedro Bodega of their 2009 Rosado, Rosa. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. The varieties are processed separately undergoing a cold pressing over a six hour period in pneumatic presses before the two musts  are blended and fermentation begins. The wine is pale cherry in colour with an intense fruity nose of red fruit and vanilla cream. On the palate good fruit and a marked acidity blend perfectly to give a satisfying long finish. 12% ABV it is a refreshing change to the Rosados from Bobal which have been so popular this summer and it retails for around 7€ a bottle. Las Añadas is taking a summer break after a tasting of wines from Bodegas Frailes and Bodegas Porsellanes ( both recommended in previous blogs )on Monday evening 26th July  but recommences its programme of almuerzos in September.
All year round different food promoters, restaurants and bodegas get together to produce what are called ¨jornadas gastronomicas¨. Sometimes they will be in conjunction with a towns fiesta or a seasonal celebration of an areas produce. They are worth looking out for and take place all year round somewhere in the Valencian Community.
This week for example Arroz Sylvanis are promoting their product together with Finca Collado, a favourite wine of mine, in La Querencia restaurant. This haven of tranquility is a modern stylish resaturant and vinoteca with its own wine club and can be found in Calle de Pelayo which runs parallel to the North Station between Convento de Jerusalem and Bailen. This is where the street market takes place and the restaurant is an oddity amongst the confusion of chinese eateries, hairdressers and shops and Romanian delis which surround it. The menu del dia is 9.95€ and when I tried it included aromatic arroz sylvanis which consisted  of rice,  wild mushrooms, pumpkin, leek and confit of duck. This was a stunning combination of flavour and textures. Second course was a fillet of beef which had been cooked on the plancha. It was juicy tender and perfectly seasoned with a garnish of courgette and red peppers and  a few chips. It was the best I have had. Sweets are rarely exciting in Spain but the Castaña ice cream with chocolate sauce was fine and the squirty cream acceptable. This was washed down with a glass of Finca Collado 2004 Tinto an excellent wine and still perfect directly from the chill cabinet! ( Well, it was 37 degrees in the sun!).  
If it is Italian food you are looking for venture no further than 500 or Restaurante Cinqeciento, an Italian diner at the top of the Avenida del Puerto ( Aragon end). I recently attended a tasting of three Italian wines and tapas organised by Vin365 and the authentic wood oven cooked pizzas smelt superb! Vin365 have augmented their range with some wines from Salento and on the night we tasted a good selection. First was a white Finis Terrae, Salento IGT, Vino Blanco Vetrero from Puglia. The 2009 is a blend of Chardonnay, Verdeca and Malvasia de Brindisi and is 13% ABV. It is around 7€ a bottle from their list or Spainsbury´s. This was Pale gold, clean and bright with medium legs. Fresh apple and white flowers on the nose with tropical fruits, melon and even a touch of bubble gum. On the palate nice fresh fruiy, tart but not acidic , balanced with a full round long satisfying finish. The Tarrante Rosada 2008 Salento IGT from Puglia was a blend of Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera. It is 13.6%ABV and also retails around the 7€ mark. A nice rose colour, with long legs, it was full of raspberries and strawberries and vanilla cream. On the palate nice soft summer fruits such as redcurrant, strawberry and raspberry gave way to a fat long finish. A very nice wine.
Finally we tasted the Passaturo Salento IGT,  2008 a 14%ABV tinto from Malvasia Nera 100%. This was ruby red, with a dark centre, long coloured legs showing its youth. On the nose alcohol, power but not much fruit which has yet to develop as the wine ages. On the palate it was rustic, fruity and tart but ripe and full. One to keep a bit I think.
Mesclat is a new Italian themed restaurant which has just opened on Calle Beltran Bigorro in the Carmen district of the old centre. It was the venue for Vino Valencias last evening before the summer break and latest in a line where 10€ also buys you three wines and tapas to accompany them as well as a social evening in the company of an international selection of young professionals and retirees networking away.  The restaurant offers hamburgers and for this is a welcome addition to the Valencian eateries where the Hollywood chain have had a monopoly in recent times. We enjoyed a good sized hamburger on a bun with garnish and choice of sauces following a buffalo milk mozzarella salad and finished off with chocalate brownies. Mesclat also do a range of wines by the glass at reasonable prices although wines from were a rare addition to the list sadly. The wines on the night were Finca Collado blanco, covered in my last blog, the lovely fresh strawberries and vanilla cream  Cañada Mazan Bobal rosado 2009 from Bodegas Torroja and finally a Merlot 2004 from Daniel Belda, the Alforins based family Bodega. This a powerful wine full of red fruits, plum compote  and a long  satisfying finish.
A round up of further recommended city centre wine bars will appear in August.
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