Valencia, Spain's third-largest city, is emerging from the shadows of Barcelona and Madrid and fast becoming the go-to destination in Spain. Located on the Mediterranean coast and possessed of beautiful old neighborhoods and modern architecture, Valencia is a city that effortlessly mixes the traditional and the modern.
In the past, tourists went to Valencia in search of its famous paella, which, trust me, you should definitely find. These days, however, the city has more than just paella in its gastronomic repertoire, earning Valencia a reputation as Spain's next great dining destination, and recognition for the distinctive wines produced in the region.
Valencia is as famous for its fishing ports as its rice paddies, so seafood, such as sardines, hake, red mullet, anglerfish, octopus, mackerel, cuttlefish, mussels, shrimp and prawns, is plentiful. Though I eat some fish, I’m not the biggest fan of seafood, and there are some things on the list I wasn’t going to indulge in. However, because I did want to make sure that I went out of my comfort zone a bit and tried something other than paella, I did sample some to the fish found in the region. Besides, I couldn’t wait to pair the fish with some of the regional wines.
|Photo credit: Google images|
Not wanting to limit my Valencian wine and food experience to fish and white wines, and because I do like a big, bold red, I thought I’d try a daring red wine and a dish to go with it. Enter the ox cheek. I am not an adventurous eater, and prefer to stick to variations on beef, pork and chicken, so I gave the waiter the side-eye when he made that suggestion. However, he assured me that the pairing of this cut of meat and the wine would not disappoint, and with the ever-present thought that, at the very least, it would make a good blog post, I tried it. A bold cut of meat like ox cheek needs a strong wine to compliment it and the Bassus Pinot Noir Utiel Requena fit the bill. Characterized by a strong aroma that is a combination of red fruits, vanilla and oak, the red fruits are also noted in the palate.
Opting for another glass of the Requena, the chocolate molten cake was the dessert of choice that night.
Chocolate, red wine and a balmy evening in Valencia, now that’s a pairing I’d recommend to anyone. Salud!