El Almuerzo: a feast of tradition, hearty sandwiches, and Spirited coffee

El Almuerzo: a feast of tradition, hearty sandwiches, and Spirited coffee

"Embark on a culinary adventure into the heart of Valencia where almuerzo means more than lunch. From hearty sandwiches to unique coffee cocktails, experience the authentic flavors and communal spirit of this cherished mid-morning ritual."

Valencia's Tradition

In the heart of Valencia, a mid-morning ritual unfolds, steeped in tradition, community, and caloric desire. It's almuerzo, often referred to as esmorzaret in the Valencian language. While the word directly translates to “lunch,” we’re not talking about the classic interpretations of the word, but rather a moment in time when the city pauses, gathers, and indulges in a culinary embrace that's as wholesome as the Spanish sun. 

Spanish Almuerzo

Francho Lazaro "Almuerzos Valencianos"

A Meal Born of Necessity, Enjoyed by All

For Valencians who start their day early, the wait for a 2 or 3 pm lunch can seem endless. Breakfast, often a simple affair of café con leche and a tostada, is a distant memory by mid-morning. Enter almuerzo, the bridge between the early hours and the languid afternoons. Think about it as a bridge between breakfast or lunch, or even lunch #1.

Originally a sustenance for the working class and manual laborers, almuerzo has transcended its origins to become a beloved practice for everyone. Typically enjoyed between 9 and 11:30 AM, it's the perfect pause for friends, colleagues, and anyone seeking a hearty mid-morning experience. This casual affair, usually costing between 5-8 euros, offers a taste of local life removed from the usual tourist trails.

Spanish Wine

Francho Lazaro "Almuerzos Valencianos"

Simplicity at Its Best: Peanuts, Cold Beer, and Hearty Sandwiches

The ritual begins unpretentiously with shared bowls of peanuts, olives, and pickles gracing the table, setting the stage for the star of almuerzo—the bocadillo (sandwich). From classic choices like sepia, calamar, blanco y negro (sausage and morcilla) chivito (their version of BLT with pork, bacon, fried egg, and cheese over a base of tomato, lettuce, and mayonnaise), or tortilla de patata, to the unique specialties of each participating establishment, these sandwiches are a testament to Valencia's rich culinary diversity. The standard drink to accompany the meal? A cold beer. It’s never too early to get started in Valencia.

Spanish Bocata

Francho Lazaro "Almuerzos Valencianos"

Crowning the Meal: The Cremaet

The meal concludes with a classic espresso or a traditional Valencian cremaet—a sweetened, layered potion of previously enflamed liquor—usually brandy, mixed with espresso, cinnamon, orange peel, and a few coffee beans. This local version of the espresso martini not only provides a warm, spirited end to the meal but also a jolt of energy to resume the day.

For the hearty sandwich, cold beer, and coffee you can expect to pay between 5-8 euros, which offers a taste of local life removed from the usual tourist trails.

Spanish coffee

Francho Lazaro "Almuerzos Valencianos"

Esmorzars Valencians: The Guide to Local Favorites

Discovering the best almuerzo spots is a journey of exploration, often guided by word-of-mouth recommendations and neighborhood classics. For those looking to delve deeper, the guidebook "Esmorzars Valencians" offers a wealth of information, revealing some of the best places to experience this culinary tradition.

A Cultural Tapestry Woven Through Time

The evolution of almuerzo reflects the cultural and social tapestry of Valencia. From a necessity for the early rising working class to its current status as a beloved culinary ritual, almuerzo (or esmorzar in Valenciano) is a celebration of community, resilience, and the simple joys of life.
In embracing almuerzo, one doesn't just enjoy a meal; they partake in a living tradition, a moment of connection that captures the true essence of Valencia. Whether you're a local or a visitor, the experience of almuerzo is a delightful foray into the heart of Valencian culture.

Jara Van Herp 

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