I love medieval markets and the one in Orihuela is a really good one.
Orihuela is a small city, 50 km from Alicante and famous for its historic monumental architecture, Easter Processions and traditional gastronomy, including convent-made sweets and cakes.
Every year, at the end of January, Orihuela commemorates that back in the XV century it was one of the most imporant cities in the Kingdom of Castile.
The market has been running for 17 years now and with more than 350 stalls it is considered one of the biggest in Spain.
Magic tricks, toffee apples, falconry exhibitions, street food stalls…a trip back in time you cant miss!
If you plan to stay overnight, try the luxury Tudemir Boutique Hotel, a beautifully restored palace from the XVIII century.
This time round Mascarat opted for a full day of culture and gastronomy, and Xativa was the chosen destination.
An hour and a quarter to the north of Alicante, this small town, sometimes known as The City of 1000 Fountains, has a marvellous castle, walled enclosure and historic heritage. Our guide told us the secrets of the two Pope Borjas born here, Calixto III and Alejandro VI, as well as the popular distaste for King Felipe V (no, the current one is Felipe VI!), whose portrait hangs upsidedown in the Almoidi Museum. Can you guess why?
After wandering through the lovey historic old town, we headed towards the craft brewery “La Socarrada” which makes two fantastic beers. One, La Socarrada (a World Beer Award winner), with hints of honey and rosemary, and the other, El Boqueron, has a secret ingredient to remind you of the sea!
To recover our strength, in their gorgeous patio, the Tunel restaurant had prepared a fantastic oven-cooked paella for us. Absolutely delicious!
Now that the good weather has arrived in Alicante, there aren’t many better things than a cold beer as the temperature starts to rise at midday. Apparently, the Egyptians built a civilisation on it, and it has always been linked to the areas around the Mediterranean and a healthy diet, if only for the antioxidants 😉
That’s why, on this occasion, Mascarat treated us to a fantastic day out with a visit and tasting at Alicante’s most famous craft brewery, Santa.
Santa make 3 different beers: Santa Faz, in honour of the popular pilgrimage to the village of that name on the second Thursday after Easter; Santa Barbara, named after the castle in Alicante; and Santa Cruz, one of our most emblematic neighbourhoods.
A perfect day in great company with a fantastic beer tasting.
A few weeks ago our friends in Mascarat suggested one of their favourite activities, trekking. On this occasion the association chose the district around Villena as it has a number of interesting routes, some of which follow the tracks of the former railway line that carried the train known as Chicharra (the cricket – the insect, not the game!), so you can imagine,the kind of noise it must have made.
The chosen route was El Sendero de la Villa, 12 km starting from the foot of the castle in Villena and passing through the wonderful countryside of the Morron mountains, the Umbria de la Celada overlook and the Beneixama valley.
A pleasant four hours later, to finish a day’s trekking, nothing better than a tasty fideua (a close cousin of paella made with fine pasta instead of rice). Other typical Villena dishes include the fantastic potato studded paella of white beans and cod, gachamigas (flour tortilla), and Villena gazpacho, a seriously hearty dish (nothing like the refreshingly cold tomato-based gazpacho of Andalucía) reflecting the influence of nearby La Mancha. We’ll definitely be trying them when we go back next time!