It's funny. The idea that oranges are a seasonal fruit, and much less a winter fruit is probably extinct now in the States. If anything, people probably hit the
|Spaniards have no doubts about how Valencian oranges are.|
This old ad encouraging foreigners to "Eat more Spanish fruits"
features a woman dressed in very Valencian fallera attire.
|"Fruta, hija del sol, fuente de salud"|
[Fruit, daughter of the sun,
source of health]
|Fruits of Natural Advantage: California and Valencia, which landscape is which?|
Traveling through L'Horta de València can feel like traveling through southern California.
(Answer key: California is on the left, Valencia on the right.)
|California, a land made in |
the Orange County's pastoral self-fashioning could easily have been Valencia, too.
Okay, so that brief American history of agriculture detour aside, Valencia is a _major_ orange
|Oranges adorn Valencia's main train station, Estación del Norte, which is a must-visit for tourists.|
|The train station recently added this beautiful tile room, which displays |
pastoral imagery typical of the Valencia region including orange groves.
|There are also oranges all over the walls of Valencia's Mercat Central,|
another modern-style building whose fruit stands will most certainly carry oranges
|There are orange trees ("naranjos", with an "o" for the tree, as opposed to ending in an "a" for the fruit),|
all over the city, and especially along the avenues. Lovely, except in February when there are
also mushed oranges all over the ground.
Orange, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. If you ever try a fresh Valencia orange in season here, you'll understand the local pride, and how it is that oranges and orange juice find their way into the many novel local dishes and drinks here. First, I'm going to let you all in on a big local secret: agua de Valencia. Remember when I wrote that Valencians regularly say that the water in Valencia isn't good for anything except making paella? Well maybe that's why "agua de Valencia" here isn't water. It's a local cocktail which loosely resembles a mimosa, made of orange juice, cava, and a couple of liquors. (This cocktail is probably the exception to the rule that there are very, very few local cocktails in Spain. Very, very few. Spain, in general, does not have a cocktail culture.) It was invented in the late 1950s by Constante Gil at the Bar Café Madrid, what was in its day a lively and culturally important hub in the old center of Valencia. These days, you are more likely to see people here who are out for a drink sharing a pitcher ("jarra") of agua de Valencia than of sangría, and I highly recommend you order some when you visit.
|The most common thing is to order a "jarra" of agua de Valencia with a group of friends.|
|The Plaza de Negrito, shown here in El Carmen of Valencia, |
is my favorite place to sit out and drink agua de Valencia with friends.
|When they daylight hours get short, there's|
nothing like the taste of fresh-squeezed OJ
|Sliced fresh orange with honey on top and pollen sprinkled over it.|
|And anything, but especially fresh Valencia oranges, |
tastes better with melted chocolate over it.
So there you have it. Oranges. One more reason why life in Valencia is sweet!