Valencia Culinary Meeting returns to the Mediterranean city from February 25th to March 3rd. I was lucky enough to be there for the first edition of this fabulous event last year and ate some extraordinary food in different restaurants in both Valencia city and the wider region, as well as mooching around the markets, trying the local wines and craft beers and generally learning more about the rich gastronomic heritage of the area while stuffing my face.
If you usually seek out interesting places to eat on your travels, this is a really great week to be in Valencia. It is usually possible to get tables even at the last minute too, as the event is still in its infancy and very much for those in the know.
While foodie festivals seem to be popping up all over the shop, the USP of this one is that nine restaurants are hosting chefs from around the world and devising special menus at set prices to play to their mutual strengths. Some of the local and invited places have Michelin stars, while others are more casual.
Ricard Camarena, who has a Michelin star, is opening his kitchen to Perfecte Rocher and Alia Zaine of Tarsan i Jane in Seattle. Luis Valls, the chef at Quique Dacosta’s El Poblet, is welcoming Albert Adrià of Enigma and Tickets in Barcelona, which promises to be an interesting combination. The Apicius restaurant, with Enrique Medina at the helm, is hosting Diego Rossi of Trattoria Trippa in Verona, while Manuel Alonso of the Michelin-starred Casa Manolo by the sea down the coast in Daimuz has invited Ryan Stover from New York. At Casa Montaña, the original – and still the best – gastrobar in Spain, Emiliano García’s guests are Ernestas Virsilas and Tadas Eidukevicius from the Palanga restaurant in Lithuania.
For a full list of participants, have a look at the Valencia Culinary Meeting programme, where you can also see the menus and the prices, which range from around €30 to €210.
The festival is organised by Valencia Premium in collaboration with Turismo Valencia and the Agencia Valenciana del Turisme. Also taking part is the Mercado Colón, where talks by the chefs take place during the event.