Appellation of origin
Products with designation of origin
If we delve deeper into the basics behind Valencian cooking, we can see that the "storeroom" supplying the ingredients is well stocked with quality products. These form part of an important heritage built up over the centuries.
They are often protected by the so-called "designations of origin", meaning they are controlled products from certain demarcated areas, offering all the premium quality this involves. Caught from the sea using coastal fishing techniques, or grown in the fertile soil of the region -along alluvial plains near the sea or on terraced slopes of the inland mountains- matured by the warm sun, many of these products are inexorably linked to the geographical areas they come from.
Thus, there are artichokes from Benicarló, bagged dessert grapes from the Vinalopò district, medlars from Callosa, mountain cherries from Alicante, olive oil from the Sierra de Espadán, bell peppers from Guardamar, black truffles from the Maestrazgo mountains in Castellón province, honey from the Marina Alta district, prawns from Dénia, sea urchins from the Alicante coast, giant prawns from Vinaròs, dates from Elx, cheese from La Nucia, and oranges and lemons from countless orchards dotted throughout the region - this is just a brief list of the select repertoire of fine foods and typical products from the Region of Valencia.
And the above list does not include industrial products such as the nougat-like turrón from Xixona and the fine-tasting chocolate from La Vila Joiosa, products that are highly important in the lineup of Valencian and Spanish products, especially at Christmas time. Also of note is the small game hunted in forests and scrubland, ducks from lagoons and marshlands, the more homely free-range chicken, and locally harvested snails from the garden and mountain, all of which are essential in many dishes that are typical of this region.