In October 2014, I met Josep Marco Sansano, President of the Slow Food Valencia Convivium at the “Salone del Gusto e Terra Madre en el Lingotto” in Turin. Producers from all around the world come to this fair, which takes place every two years, to exhibit their work in the recovery of products for the Ark of Taste.
He is a smart and kind person, generous as well, and his work has nothing to do with catering or agricultural production. But he, in love with the “Slow Food” philosophy, acquired an old mill in Benifaio (Valencia), where he spends his free time recovering local varieties, both animal and agricultural, and refurbishing the building. He does not like to tell it, but he is preparing it to hold a center for studies, investigation and events related to “Slow Food”. A place which, when finished, will be worth a visit.
He has also spread this gastronomic movement among farmers and ranchers in the area. And there’s more than that: he has located small producers who were working in this recovery process without any credit, in order to disseminate their work in the website he manages.
Among these products, for instance, there is the organic extra virgin olive oil Serrana Espadán, which is produced in the Sierra Espadan Natural Park (Castellon); a variety which gives name to this oil and is native of the region of Alto Palancia.
Another recovered product, and a very important one for the cuisine of the Community of Valencia, is the rice of Senia varieties (Oryza Sativa), which has a moderate humidity degree, absorbing liquid easily without becoming sticky, which makes it perfect to elaborate dry and mellow rice dishes (paellas).
Endangered animal species such as the Valencian Chulilla hen, the “Guirra” sheep, or the “Roja de Levantina” sheep, a protected breed listed in the Official Catalogue of Livestock Breeds of Spain, have also been recovered.
I encourage you to visit their website: http://valencia.slowfood.es, where you will find more information about all this great silent work that’s being carried out.
I always write also about km 0 restaurants as well, which include, in some dishes from their menus, those varieties that farmers are recovering. In the Community of Valencia there are still only a few, in comparison with other communities or regions of Spain, such as Catalonia or the Basque Country. In the latter, some of these restaurants are Michelin-starred.
A visit to one of these restaurants guarantees high quality products, and enables you to contribute and countersign the wonderful work led by some of these producers. And to let them know that, in fact, their silent work makes our lives healthier.
K´ANRÓS. Avenida Maestro Serrano, 21b, 46290 Alcasser (Valencia). Tlf.: (+34) 961 431 166
Vegan and macrobiotic restaurant KIMPIRA. C/ Convento San Francisco, 5, 46002 Valencia. Tlf.: (+34) 963 923 422
Traditional cuisine restaurant LA BARRACA DE TONI MONTOLIU. Partida de l´Ermita, Polígono 1, Parcela 25, 46133 Meliana (Valencia)
Traditional cuisine restaurant LAS BAIRETAS DENIA. C/ La Mar, 5, 03700 Denia (Alicante)
Modern cuisine restaurant SABORAMAR GASTROBAR. Terminal del Aeropuerto de Alicante-Elche, 03195 Alicante. Tlf.: (+34) 966 295 132
Vegan and vegetarian cuisine restaurant SABORÉAME. Avda. Primado Reig, 121, 46020 Valencia. Tlf.: (+34) 960 046 748/ 655 420 389
Antonio Marquerie Tamayo. Architect by the Higher Technical School of Architecture of Madrid (ETSAM), Extraordinary Chair and Director of the International Chair in Mediterranean Gastronomy by the San Antonio de Murcia Catholic University (UCAM)