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Perhaps one of the most beautiful and well-organized food market buildings in Europe is the Mercado Central of Valencia. Built on the area where an open-air market stood for centuries, the Valencian style Art Noveau construction is a ‘Cathederal of senses’.
It’s two domes, iron beams and stained-glass windows, cover 400 stalls of local products, a proof of the variety and diversity of the regional agriculture, which is now transforming itself from intensive to natural.During the summer months, in a section of the market dedicated to seafood, the stalls display a variety of fish and most importantly the local muscles, the Valencian ‘clochinas’. Harvested from rafts on the old port of Valencia, they are the pride of the Valencian citizens. As much as the garrofò, a green bean internationally known as Lima bean.
On Toni’s small patch of land in Melliana, just a few km north of the city, they are grown and harvested keeping the original seed. At the market they can be bought fresh or dried and mainly end up in a paella. Three types of rice can be used to make paella and all are produced in the Albufera area, part of the municipality of Valencia itself. The fresh-water estuary has become a national park and for the rest, it is dedicated to the huge cultivation of rice.