Riuraus

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The riurau is an emblematic architecture of La Marina and it is unique in the world. Its function was to protect the thatched mats with scattered grapes during the drying process. The first step in this long-term traditional grape raisin preparation process is called escaldà (a homemade process declared Good of Cultural Interest of the Valencian Intangible Heritage in 2018).

 

The escaldà consists in putting the muscatel grapes in boiling water along with other ingredients just for a few seconds. These ‘other ingredients’ vary from family to family, but the recipe was basically based on homemade bleach and different herbs (thyme and jolivarda -Artemisa Campestris-). They set fire to the scalding oven and when the boiler was ready the bunches of grapes were introduced and rapidly removed from the water to be scattered on the thatched mats. Once the grapes were dried, they were cut and packaged in wooden boxes wrapped with silk and hand-decorated paper, ready to start a long journey from the port of Dénia to England, where raisins would be tasted as a delicatessen accompanying the tea.

 

The most delicate job was cutting and fitting, normally commissioned by women. To liven up the work, women used to sing songs nowadays called grape cutting songs, a remarkably valuable oral legacy explaining familiar episodes, traditions or anecdotes.

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