Carquinyols (Vall d’Albaida style)

Carquinyols / casquinyols in a saucer

This is the type of low-key sweet that you would get on a visit to the bakery—go to buy a bread loaf, and come back with that but also half a quarter of these for your mid-morning coffee.

Unfortunately, someone in my family has developed a nut allergy so they’re not casually acquired anymore, and they’re also quite regional so I haven’t had the chance to find them in my most recent visits to Valencia. And then, there’s lockdown and no travelling, so… time to bake some, as I’ve been craving these for a while!

They’re quite easy to make, so if you are tired of baking cookies and shortbreads and feel like attempting something more exotic, try this. (I mean, at this point going to a different supermarket a few blocks away already feels super “exotic”, so imagine baking something typical from two countries away!)

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Sourdough wholemeal focaccia

Wholemeal focaccia, baked

I like to cycle flours quickly so that they’re always as fresh as possible and don’t go rancid or off (quite important if you’re using organic flours which have not been treated with chemical products and so have more chances to ‘breed life’).

I had a lot of Hodmedod’s YQ wholemeal flour which I wanted to use, but I wanted to try something different to the usual wholemeal loaf.

I thought of making a focaccia, which is very easy to make, but they’re normally made with white flour. Using wholemeal flour might sound like a heresy when the first idea that comes to mind about focaccia is a soft white fluffy dough, but the result surprised me—it was moist and full of flavour.

But I had nothing to lose, and much to find out!

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Pa de Sant Antoni (Saint Anthony’s bread)

A pile of Sant Antoni buns and breads

While the Fallas festival in Valencia is quite well-known, the Sant Antoni (Saint Anthony)’s celebrations are less flamboyant, more inward looking. A domestic affair, say, for the locals and by the locals.

Happening around the 17th of January, it is a very unassuming celebration: there is a parade where people bring their animals to church to get a blessing, there will be a small market called “porrat” with stalls selling, amongst other yummy things, delicious nuts, figs and confectionery based on those (which are also called “porrat”), and finally one or more bonfires will burn and light up the dark January night, spreading the aroma of pine wood all around the neighbourhood.

All good things!

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