“The province of Alicante is where you eat the best in Spain,” Ferran Adrià told me last year, and as Spain’s foremost culinary genius, he ought to know. “It has the best products in the country,” he continued, “especially the seafood—and there’s so much of it. And there’s a restaurant there that serves the greatest paella in the world!”
Adrià and other celebrated Spanish chefs have turned the food world’s attention to Spain in recent years, helping to establish the country’s reputation as both a hotbed of avant-garde cuisine and the home of some of Europe’s finest food products and richest traditional cuisine. But the diverse culinary offerings of Alicante—the name applies both to the city and to the province that surrounds it and wonderful coves and beaches from Costa Blanca —have thus far remained almost unknown, or at least greatly undervalued, outside the region itself.
Administratively part of the Community of Valencia, Alicante is one of the smallest provinces in Spain in terms of area, with just under two million inhabitants occupying 2,250 square miles. To many Europeans, it’s known primarily as a vacation destination, famous for the time-share villas and beachfront hotels of Benidorm and other overbuilt tourist towns along its sunwashed, 125-mile-long Costa Blanca.
– Extract from Departures Magazine –