Gastronomy, Wine & Shopping

couple tasting wine costa blanca

 

Spain is all about living life to the fullest and enjoying every moment, with all the wonderful flavors that come along with it. Let the tastes of Spain dance flamenco on your taste buds, and spoil yourself with fantastic food, magnificent wines and top it all off with some shopping.

Let’s start with something to eat, so all you “foodies” out there listen up, the Costa Blanca has everything from fancy five star cuisine and Michelin star restaurants, to fabulous homemade paellas with fresh sea food and all the tapas you could dream of.

 

Paellas

Did you know that the famous paella is originally from the Valencia region?

This wonderful rice dish has been a local tradition for hundreds of years. Actually the word “paella” is the name of the special pan that this rice dish is cooked in and due to very good marketing it is now world known as paella.

The locals just call it “arroz”(rice). Depending on the available and seasonal meats, seafood, fish, vegetables, etc you can enjoy a “mountain paella” with rabbit and snails, “arroz negro” black rice made with octopus ink, arroz de mariscos, arroz con verduras, the fresh vegetable version with artichokes and lots of local veggies, the famous seafood paella and many more varieties.

 

paella

 

Fish, Seafood, Meat, Sausages, Vegetables, Beans and Fruit

Due to the wonderful climate of the Costa Blanca and the many kilometers of wonderful coast this whole region is one of the most important “orchards” of Spain. Of course, the main star being the citrus fruit.

Spoil yourself with a fresh squeezed orange juice from the local oranges any time of the year for a fiesta of vitamins and flavors.

Every healthy vegetable or fruit you can dream of you can find in one of the many local markets and you can of course enjoy in any of the local restaurants around, prepared in traditional style.

The area known as the “Vega Baja” which is a bit inland from the coast of Alicante has spectacular local cuisine. We recommend you try some of the local specialties, such as “cocido con pelota” for example, at restaurant Casa Antonio in Rojales, or a wonderful “caldero de pescado” at Chema Restaurant in Guardamar.

You could take a trip to the mountains in Aspe and enjoy a “gazpacho manchego”, which is a rich rabbit stew. In Almoradi there is a fantastic steak house called El Buey, we recommend you try some fresh grilled artichokes next to your entrecote.

Artichokes are very popular in this region, and just like there are wine routs, you actually have an artichoke rout as well (La Ruta de la Alcachofa), and it goes through several towns along the Segura River. During high season for artichokes you can actually taste artichokes made in hundred different ways.

 

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Are you more in the mood for a bit fancier food and maybe a drink after dinner or lunch? Then we recommend you take an afternoon in Alicante and enjoy a “tardeo”.   Tardeo comes from the word “tarde” that means afternoon in Spanish.  Here you can enjoy all sorts of tapas and drinks in one of the many tapas bars in the pedestrian small streets in the center of Alicante.

For fine dining and exclusive food and wine get a table at the one Michelin star Restaurante Monastrell, or enjoy every bite at the Taberna del Gourmet or El Portal.  A newcomer with great food and wine is Terre on the main esplanada avenue, where they have a fantastic menu and the best cocktail in town.

Nou Manolin and Piripi offer great seafood and lovely ambience, and you can always relax outdoors and get a bite to eat at El Canalla in a gorgeous setting in the old post office plaza, surrounded by ficus treas.

If you do not feel like Spanish food and would like something different, Alicante is the perfect place for top class international cuisine.  There is for example an excellent sushi restaurant called Enzo.

In most of the costal towns along the coast you will find a wide variety of restaurants, Spanish as well as Japanese, Chinese, French, Italian (great pizzas), Mexican, and Lebanese.

We at Camarsol take food very seriously and love going out, so please call us or come in for suggestions for your breakfast, lunch and dinner or special occasion meal, we would love to help you.

 

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You can not dine, without good wine, coffee and cocktails too

Un café por favor

In Spain and of course in the Costa Blanca you will find a bar or café pretty much on every corner.  The Spanish are coffee lovers and coffee in Spain is delicious.

Many may get confused at the many possibilities of mixtures or strengths, here is a short guide:

 

Café Americano  – Normal American style coffee (a bit stronger than home brewed)

 

Café con Leche  – Coffee with milk about 60/40, just ask if you want it weaker or stronger, with cold or warm milk

 

Cortado – A coffee that is served in a small glass that consists of espresso with a splash of milk

 

Solo – Espresso

 

Solo Doble de Doble Carga – A double espresso (Spanish people think double espresso is too strong and tend to give you an Americano if you don´t specify the “doble carga)

 

Leche Manchada – This is mostly hot milk with a dash of coffee (translation would be dirty milk)

 

Carajillo – This is an expresso with a bit of brandy

 

And of course you can ask for any of the above without caffeine by adding “descafeinado”

 

couple enjoying coffee

 

El Vino

As everyone knows, Spain is world renowned for its wonderful wines and living in the Costa Blanca you will find an extensive array of local Alicante, Jumilla, and Murcia wines to the most incredible prices and great tastes, in any of the local supermarkets, excellent value for money.

Alicante wines are high now on the list of award winning wines.  If you really are a wine lover,  the best way to discover the wines of Alicante is to visit the wineries and travel through the countryside.  This can be done by following the Alicante Wine Route.  Combine your trip by enjoying the local cuisine of the towns and don’t forget to check out their fiesta calendar when you are at it

Most wines from the Alicante and Murcia regions are made from the Monastrell Grape.  This grape exists mainly in the Levant region and its origin goes back to the fifteenth century.  In Spain it is known as Monastrell but it has different names such as Vemeta, Morastrell, Mourvedre in French , Blazac, etc.  The harvest is late usually starting in late September and October.  In Spain it grows mostly in the Spanish Levant, especially in Murcia designations of origin, Bullas, Jumilla and Yecla

Nine wine producers from Alicante have just been representing the Alicante wines in the Prowein exhibition in Dusseldorf, the world´s most important wine fair.

Some of the names to keep in mind are the Bodegas Fondillon, Bodegas Mendoza, la Bodega de Pinoso, Francisco Gomez, Finca Gollado and Bocopa

Some fantastic white wines are also coming  from Vins del Comtat, Sierra Salinas, Bodegas Volver and El Seque.  Spains leading wine guide, the “ Guia Peñin” has chosen the red Monastrell “MO” wine, elaborated by Sierra Salinas Bodega, as the  “2016 supervino”.  This wine stands out among more than 150 wines from all over Spain.  And incredibly enough, you can find this wine at local supermarkets and its price: 6.99€ per bottle!

So there is no reason why anyone should leave the Alicante region hungry or thirsty, it only leaves you wanting more.

 

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little girls eating grapes in valencia region

 

Shopping

Are you ready for a wonderful shopping spree? You have come to the right place!

Here in the Costa Blanca south you will find everything that you are looking for and more. Everything from the local markets to the most fashionable brand names.

 
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Mercadillos

The cosy street markets are a true delight, and you find a mercadillo any day of the week in a given town, as they rotate. Let us know if you need help finding one near you,
Here you can stroll along the many stalls and enjoy the fresh produce, vegetables and fruits, fresh cheese and sausages, flowers and plants of all sorts and even a live rabbit or a bird in a cage.

What about a señorita dress and shoes for the little one? A new pair of sandals or a some fancy boots, colorful sundress or boxer shorts for grandpa? In a local market you will find this and much more.

Enjoy a coffee with a “media con tomate y aceite”, a typical Spanish breakfast/brunch which is a oven toasted baguette with fresh tomato and olive oil spread, or some freshly made churros.

Markets are up already at 9am and close down at about 1:30-2pm. Be ready to barter!

 
lady shopping at street market

 

Shoes, Purses and Belts – it’s all about the leather

Did you know that about 40% of all shoes and leather goods production in Spain is produced here, in the Costa Blanca south.   Elche is home to a great array of internationally known shoe brands such as Pikolinos, 24 hrs, Panama Jack, XTL, Guiseppo, and more.

Most shoes and accessories in leather for the Inditex group which is sold in ZARA, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Starvidarius, Mango, etc is made in Elche.  You can take a trip to the outlets in Elche and you will surely pick up a pair or ten of your favorite brands at a much lower price than home.

A trip into the beautiful town of  Elche for shoe shopping is also great, and you can combine it with an ice cream and coffee at La Glorieta or sit in one of the cafés overlooking the cathedral.   Local towns in the Costa Blanca have also great bargains and styles from smaller factories sold in their local shops.

In the Costa Blanca South there are several large shopping centers/malls where you will surely find just what you are looking for plus many other beautiful items you didn’t know you needed, as well.

To name a few, you can try Láljub in Elche, Habaneras in Torrevieja or La Zenia Boulevard in La Zenia.

In Alicante there is Plaza del Mar, Gran Via or take a day at the outlets on the way to Benidorm.  A trip to Nueva Condomina at the entrance of Murcia can also be combined with a visit to Ikea, just in front.

Alicante and Murcia are wonderful cities to spend the day shopping, especially if you combine it with lunch and afternoon coffee or drinks.  The centers of both of these cities have all kinds of small boutiques that offer clothes, shoes and accessories for all ages and tastes.

A visit to one of the Corte Ingles stores is a must.  Here you will find designer wear as well as local and foreign brand names.  Toys, books, houseware, musis sports and electronics, something for each family member.  Enjoy a beer and some tapas in their Gourmet floor.   They also have supermarkets with food from all the world and local specialties, and even a pharmacy in case you need a band aid for your walking blisters.

There are many fabulous Spanish designers, such as Purificacion Garcia and Adolfo Domingues that are really worth exploring and getting to know.  Please do not hesitate to ask for our advice when it comes to shopping, we have a few experts in-house who are happy to share some inside information about great stores and good bargains.

 

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la zenia boulevard shopping

 

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