Catalonia, Valencia, and the Costa Blanca Restaurants
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Catalonia and Valencia share the classic Mediterranean diet, and Catalans feel right at home with paella valenciana. Fish preparations are similar along the coast, though inland favorites vary from place to place.
Catalonia's northern Alt Empordà region includes grassy inland meadows producing quality beef and the Costa Brava with its fine seafood, such as anchovies from L'Estartit and gambas (jumbo shrimp) from Palamós, both deservedly famous. Romescu, a blend of almonds, peppers, garlic, and olive oil, is used as a fish and seafood sauce in Tarragona, especially during the calçotada (spring onion) feasts in February. Allioli, garlicky mayonnaise, is another popular topping. The Ebro Delta is renowned for fresh fish and eels, as well as rossejat (fried rice in a fish broth). Valencia and the Mediterranean coast are the homeland of paella valenciana—a rice dish flavored with saffron that contains seafood, poultry, meat, peas, and peppers. Arròs a banda is a variant in which the fish and rice are cooked separately and peeled.
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