If farmer’s markets are top of your list, you’re in for a treat when in Murcia. Known as “the crop garden of Europe,” the semi-dry climate in Murcia enables crops to flourish with a particular focus on organic agriculture and water conservation. The season for growing produce is long, thanks to the geography and climate. Did you know Murcia exports 70% of its vegetable production and 34% of its fruit?1
When you think of the Mediterranean diet, look no further than Murcia. Here, fruits like citrus, grapes, and stone fruits, grow along with almonds, vegetables, and cereals such as rye and oats. Here are a few ideas of what to eat and make when in Murcia.
While not initially native to Spain, sour Seville and sweet Valencian oranges come to mind. Pairing salty and sweet citrus in salads like an Orange and Fennel Salad with Slivered Marcona Almonds and Olives is classic Spanish cuisine. Here the orange is zested, then juiced, using as much of the fruit as possible. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a Spanish Orange Flan.
Sip on the traditional summer quencher, Horchata, but the Spanish version uses almonds with sugar, a little lemon and a hint of cinnamon, served over ice. Spain is known for cold soups to quell the heat and among those is Ajo Blanco, sometimes called white gazpacho and made with almonds and garlic, served chilled. During Christmas season, almond-honey candy, Turrón makes its annual appearance.
You could steam and serve artichokes directly but try Seared Artichoke Hearts with Snow Peas, a local favorite with chefs that get right to the heart of eating your veggies… with jamon serrano, olive oil, and a common Murcia vegetable, tirabeques or snow peas. Or, try another classic Murcian dish: Grandmother’s Artichokes, here the hearts are accompanied by pine nuts.
Make yourself at home in Murcia and get a taste of the fruits and vegetables that make the Mediterranean Diet in the Mediterranean.