Hotaru

A detail of the decoration at Hotaru

We had just arrived in Valencia and wanted to have lunch, but hadn’t booked anything. It was almost 15:00 and I was a bit fearful that we would not be able to find anywhere to eat.

Then we walked past this place, which we had spotted the last time we were here, but didn’t have time to visit.

We were very pleasantly surprised that the staff saw no problem on us joining so late, also found us a quiet place to sit at the counter, and were perfectly fine to serve us the tasting menu, even if there was only one hour left until the kitchen closed.

View from the counter at Hotaru
View from the counter at Hotaru
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Restaurants, cafés and places to drink in Valencia

Valencia's train station with the sun emerging behind clouds

We love eating out in Valencia, and now we’d like to share some of our favourite places with you all!

There is a tough balance between sharing your secrets and then risking a place becoming so popular that you cannot get into it any more, but frankly, right now the hospitality industry needs people to support it.

One other caveat is that we tend to eat out in Russafa, so lots of our recommendations are around there. As we visit more places, we’ll add them to the list.

So please do go and enjoy!

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The quest for the perfect fogassa d’Ontinyent

Four bowls with ingredients for a fogassa, before mixing

As I said in my Fogassa d’Ontinyent post, I have been trying to locate the “proper” recipe for this for a few years already.

I think I started searching for a recipe in 2018, as November approached and I desperately wanted to eat a fogassa but could not visit Spain for multiple reasons. And I thought: Well, it is “only” a sweet bun, so it can’t be that hard to find a recipe for it, right?

Well, turns out that it can!

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Fogassa d’Ontinyent

A fogassa just out of the oven - a round bun with almonds and walnuts on top and sugar on top

This is an enriched sweet bun which also happens to be one of my absolutely favourite Valencian sweets. It has everything you could wish on an autumn bun: softness and fluffiness, aromas, caramelised nuts, juicy raisins… EVERYTHING!

It is my hometown’s local take on the slightly more widely known “Fogassa de Tots Sants” i.e. All Saints’ Fogassa, which was eaten on that day before going to the graveyard to pay respect to the dead. Nowadays you can buy it during the whole month, and you might even convince a local baker to make you one out of season (por encargo).

What I have also found is that by virtue of being so extremely local, the recipe isn’t readily available online or in books, and it has taken me about six iterations to come up with a recipe that tastes how I remember it tasted. In fact, the pictures for this will show you how I ended making four fogasses last week-end, trying two flours and two yeast amounts. I am that scientifically committed to the quest for the perfect fogassa!

And I am also finally pleased with the results and happy to share! 😎

A fogassa sliced open, so we can see the soft fluffy crumb with the ocassional raisin and aniseed. There are almonds and sugar on top
Nice fluffy crumb
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2 estaciones

Shrimp, alficòs (Armenian cucumber), sage

We went to this restaurant last year, and we liked it so much and had such a good time, that when we were planning where to go in our next visit to Valencia, this was top of our list!

Things hadn’t changed much since the last time—if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as we frequently say in software engineering circles… before changing our mind and rewriting the whole #$%^*&$ thing 😂.

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