How could you possibly be short of food and wine experiences in the region of paella, tapas and Rioja? Whether you’re into long, casual lunches or fully guided tours, Costa Blanca will spoil you for choice. Venture into the mountains for huge vistas of sun-soaked vineyards and stop at one of the quaint rural villages for a real taste of Spain. The produce is sensational here, and there are places and pros throughout the region ready to teach you the classic local dishes to impress your friends back home!
1. Celler la Muntanya, Muro d’Acoi
The wines of Celler la Muntanya are produced rather innovatively through a supply of grapes by smallholders. Vineyards blanket the landscape and one of the most unique wine tour experiences is to embark on a flight over the region and get a bird’s eye view of the rows and rows of perfect vines set within three stunning natural parks. Tours aside, you should of course make time to taste some of their wines, including the award-winning Crianza red amusingly named Paco el Chocolatero (Paco the Chocolatier).
2. Ali-Oli Tours, Alicante
Get your taste buds tingling on a gastronomic tour around Alicante. Discover the vineyards of the region on a six-hour guided trip or head into the mountains to learn how olive oil has been made for centuries with a tour of an olive oil farm. The rich ‘Mediterranean gold’ is at the heart of the Costa Blanca’s cuisine.
3. Bodegas Faelo, Elche
Learn about the ancient art of winemaking at this delightful family-run winery in the heart of the countryside near Elche, where they have been making wine for over 100 years. The owner himself will take you on an intimate tour where you will learn about the traditional techniques used here. You’ll also get to sample not only some of their finest boutique wines but also savoury specialities from the area such as dried sausages, cheeses, homemade breads and olive oil.
4. A Taste of Spain, Valencia
The people of Valencia know how to do wonders with the humble grain of rice, and you won’t manage a trip to the city without tasting a rich paella, arroz a banda or arroz negro. Find out how to make your own seafood-laden rice dishes during a cooking class with A Taste of Spain and show off to friends when you’re back on home soil. Under the guidance of two experienced chefs, you will learn how to make a sumptuous, authentic three-course meal and then sit down to enjoy your creations.
Combine gastronomic and historical explorations on a tour with Alicante Smart Destination. While away an afternoon and evening in the sleepy town of El Campello where you’ll begin by exploring the fascinating 5,000-year-old archaeological site of La Illeta. Next, it’s on to the fish market where your guide will explain the auctioning process. Once you have your seafood in hand, the chefs at the Tourism and Culinary Training Centre of El Campello will work their magic while you do a spot of wine-tasting before sitting down to a lavish and authentic seafood meal.
6. Monastrell, Alicante
Alicante’s only Michelin-starred restaurant not only serves the very finest cuisine but is in a truly enviable location in the heart of the marina. A relaxed yet sophisticated dining room greets diners while behind the scenes, head chef María José San Román prides herself on creating authentic dishes tailored to her own unique style. The region’s famed rice dishes feature prominently on the menu, and pure, rich olive oil and the freshest of seafood are key ingredients.
7. Amigos Restaurant and Roof Terrace, Benidorm
With a new roof terrace, one of Benidorm’s best-loved restaurants is now offering their eclectic menu al fresco. Themed music nights during the balmy summer months combined with their signature succulent Galician fillet steaks are the perfect way to end a day on the beach.
8. Tapes I Vins, La Xara
Wine and tapas; flavoursome bite-sized nibbles paired with locally produced wines is surely one of the best combinations in the world. In Tapes I Vins, located in the town of La Xara just outside of Denia, you will find a friendly and casual space in which to sample some of the region’s finest ingredients. Try anchovies with tomato, grilled squid or patatas bravas (spicy potatoes) and allow them to help you select a complementary wine from their extensive list.
9. Restaurante Rebate, Rebate
Situated in the heart of the Sierra Escalone, the sleepy village of Rebate is home to a very special fine-dining experience. Set in a traditional stone finca (farm), the restaurant offers a wonderfully authentic atmosphere in which to enjoy a menu bursting with classic regional dishes, each artfully presented. For something a bit different, visit at lunchtime when diners are treated to a flamenco show.
10. La Taberna del Gourmet, Alicante
Join the locals at this chic wine and tapas bar in the heart of Alicante. The contemporary décor is an ideal setting for an evening spent nibbling on home-baked bread, buttery soft jamóns (smoked hams), tender octopus and a plethora of other delicious tapas. The wine list is a winner too. As it’s also a delicatessen, you can stock up on your favourite ingredients to take back to your villa with you.
So there you have it, 10 delectable ways to make your mouth water in Costa Blanca. Why not choose one of our gorgeous luxury villas with a fabulous outdoor dining area, barbecue or terrace to enjoy the region’s delicacies from? If you’re having trouble deciding, our concierge team are always around to help! While you’ve got Spain on the brain, check out the best things to do for families or the best secret Spanish beaches around?