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A Spanish Bull Fight

What do you think of when you think of Spain?  Don Quijote’s windmills, flamenco, guitar, tapas, paella, white-washed towns, dusty streets, color…  toros? You can’t really drive very far in Spain without seeing the iconic bull silhouetted against the cloud mottled sky, standing on a hill aside the highway.  They are scattered along random stretches […]

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Around November 1st, when Spain celebrates All Saint’s Day, local bakeries will come out with these goodies.  The foreground are flavored marzipan shapes.  The background, buñuelos. Though I normally love marzipan, these are flavored differently than usual and are definitely an acquired taste.  If you haven’t tried them before, test one before buying a box.  […]

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Massapan, marzipan, maçapão, massepain.  These are all poetically delicious ways to say almond paste, a simple, yet versatile confection made from just almonds and sugar. This week in Valencia you’ll see more “massapan” treasures than any other time of the year as they present themselves as fruits, vegetables, and firework shapes to commemorate the arrival […]

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Paella Gigante: Les Festes de Santa Marta

Adding orange coloring and snails.  When I arrived, they’d already added the chicken and rabbit and had added some broth to make the caldo. Stirring with long metal flat spoons over a hot fire In 2006, just a year after the 50th anniversary of the Parroquial de Santa Marta church in Puzol, a group of […]

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Paella Valenciana: The Culture and the Recipe

Tourists know Valencia’s dish served in most restaurants in Spain’s eastern province, but few know the beauty of this meal which embodies local culture.  From the Valenciano word for “pan,” paella (pa-ay-ah) was created by peasants long ago who cooked it then as they do now, entirely in one pan and over an open flame. […]

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Poor Choices: Valencia

Two things I wouldn’t choose.  Both I saw today in Valencia. 1.  At Llinares, a well-loved local ice cream shop, you can choose the creamy light gray anchovy ice cream.  And, if you get lucky, you might even get the real fishy that sits on top.  Not in the fish mood?  There are also Gazpacho, […]

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Batalla de los Flores

Batalla de los Flores

These are a small portion of the flowers that will be thrown today. Every year at the end of the Feria de Julio in Valencia, a flower fight ensues on the Paseo de la Alameda where locals and tourists can pelt the finely dressed fallera princesses sitting properly in large floral floats with heavy headed […]

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Corpus Christi

In 1208, Juliana, a nun in Liege (now in Belgium) had the first of a repeating vision she’d have over the next twenty years that compelled her to plead for the institution of a feast of Corpus Christi.  After 20 years of secrecy, she confessed this to her Bishop who relayed it up the chain […]

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Salamanca on Good Friday

6 hours from Valencia to Salamanca… may be a bit more with stops.  One mini-van, 4 kids, a dog, two friends following in their “beast,” a Toyota something that makes our van look small.  Kirk drives and I am armed with my anniversary present from him, my new Canon 7D and quite possible my new […]

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A Local Spanish Festival in a Valencian Village: Fest de Sant Pere in El Puig

Tifnotes:  On the last Sunday of each January, the small village of El Puig celebrates the Fest de Sant Pere Nolasc. If you go, bring a small pot and a couple of euros to donate to next year’s feast.  There’s a carnival which is fun for kids, but culture junkies will enjoy the dancing and […]

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