Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Kiko makes me wonder about local honey

We've just been to the presentation of something called la Mostra de la Cuina which is a sort of gastronomic showcase  for the food local to Pinoso in a selection of local restaurants. The title is in Valencià and Google translate says it means Cooking Show which doesn't quite have the same ring as the original.

Pinoso, like all of Spain, is proud of its traditional food particularly the dishes based around local produce. The star of the show around here is a rice dish with rabbit and snails cooked over sheaves of twigs. Unlike the paella from a bit further North in Valencia, the local rice dish is much thinner, usually only a grain or two of thick, it's a lot drier, often verging on burned, and it's a muddy browny green colour instead of that saffron yellow and, of course, it doesn't have chicken or seafood or whatever it is that Valencia paella has in it. Locals often make the difference in the name, ours is just arroz, rice, and the Valencia dish is paella named for the pan that it's cooked in. I much prefer the Pinoso rice.

The idea of the Mostra de la Cuina is that participating restaurants cook a full meal built around the same main dish on the same day at a fixed price of 30€ - rice one day, the rabbit stew, gazpachos, on another, gachamiga (a garlic, oil and flour pancake), ajos pinoseros (rabbit and wild garlic) and fassegures (meatballs in broth) on the others. Each day there are a couple of common starters - local sausage and a pepper and fish dish called pipirrana - with each restaurant having free rein over the other starters on the different days. The puddings, including a typical cake called perusas, and the drink are included. It also looks like there is a strangely anachronistic  gin and tonic included in the line up this year.

So we went to the launch. It was due to start at 7.30. This is Spain, one expects things to start late and the late start is excused with something called courtesy time. I always bridle at the thought that something so discourteous, to the people who turn up on time, is called courtesy time. I think we were nearly half an hour late in starting. At least there was an apology for the "slight delay".

This time the local Town Hall has gone to town on the publicity. Being the 21st century and all, a bunch of social media pundits, bloggers and the like, were invited to come for a day out in Pinoso. They've been given the grand tour - the bodega, a sausage maker, a baker, the clock tower, the marble quarry, the local wine and marble museum and of course, they've been eating all day. They also got the front two rows at this evenings presentation. And the godfather, the padrino, for the launch was a two star Michelin chef Kiko Moya from the nearby town of Cocentaina. His restaurant is called L'Escaleta and he seemed like a very personable chap. He probably took less time to talk about his food philosophy, about the qualities of the food he'd seen today and about his restaurant than it did our Mayor to do the introductions. Kiko's video was nice too.

We'll be out for a couple of meals I'm sure. I fancied the ajos or the gachamiga but they are both on workdays so it will probably be fassegures and arroz. But which of the five restaurants we still have to decide.

14th to 19th and 24,25 and 26 February.

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