Jancis Robinson’s article on Celler del Roure and and its top wine Parotet made in clay jars called tinajas got me excited about Valencia and her wines. Tasting Parotet, a red made from a nearly extinct grape called Mando convinced me that I had to visit Valencia. CoolFood put together a blissful week during the Fallas festival highlighting the culture, food and wine of the region. This is how the week went.
Six of us flew to Alicante on Friday the Thirteenth.
The JET2 flight from Leeds/Bradford took us to Alicante in less than three hours. Robert Penades of Cool Food Valencia drove us to our base in Bocairent. On the way, we stopped at a picnic area off the motorway and ate Robert’s sandwiches with dry-cured ham and two types of little pastries, one filled with cheese & tomato and other with spinach, washed down with Parotet and Angosto Blanco, a fine Valencian white, kept chilled in a cool box. “I had to bring you Parotet” Robert said. “It is the wine that brought you to Valencia.”
A comfortable town house in Bocairent, next to a little bakery that sold delightful pastry was our home for the next seven days. It had a large entrance hall and on four floors, a living room, a dining room, a modern kitchen, four large bedrooms with attached bathrooms, a cellar and two terraces.
We drank coffee and walked the narrow, cobbled streets of Bocairent while Adella, Robert’s mother who is a great cook and English teacher, made supper. Bocairent is a small medieaval town of 5000 people nestled in the Sierra Mariola Mountains, an hours drive from the coast.
We drank Hendriks & and Laphroaig before supper and Veroil Blanc 2014 with the salad and chicken stuffed with ham and cheese. Adella showed us how to shell and eat young broad beans and Martha, another English teacher and member of the CoolFood team served dessert.
We sipped wine and talked about Valencia late into the night. When Martha and Adella finally left to drive back home to Ontinyent – the next town 10 kilometres down a twisting, mountain road, it was time for us to drag ourselves slowly up the marble stairs to bed.