Saturday, March 18, 2023


 While most of us are chugging along with routines, thinking of spring holidays to come, the city of Valencia is celebrating its two-week festival, the Fallas, which culminates tomorrow (March 19) with a grand cremà, the burning of the ninots, gigantic effigies, creative, often satirical tableaux erected in the streets of the city. 

Besides brass bands, fireworks and dancing, food is an important element of the Fallas. This article (Las 9 Comidas Más Tipicas en las Fallas de Valencia)  lists “The Nine Most Typical Foods for the Fallas of Valencia”, so, without the gunpowder and noise, here’s a little Fallas flavor of Valencia.

1. Paella Valenciana. No sausage, no shrimp in Valencia paella. It's made with chicken, rabbit, wide green beans and butter beans. Check out the recipe here.

Fartons are buns for dunking in horchata.

2. Horchata con Fartons (Tigernut drink with Valencia sweet buns). If you like to dunk your doughnuts, you’ll love fartons. They are sweet buns—long and thick, like doughnuts gone straight. Fartons are perfect for dipping into a cup of thick chocolate or a tall glass of horchata. Horchata, or “orgeat,” is a sweet drink made with tigernuts (chufas). The recipe for fartons is below.

Puffy fritters made with pumpkin.

3.  Buñuelos de Calabaza (Fried Pumpkin Puffs). Sold at street stalls, but easy to make at home, these puffy fritters are real fiesta food. The recipe for the puffs is here.

Another Valencian rice dish.

4, Arroz del Senyoret (Rice for the Señoritos). A Valencian rice dish that’s not paella, cooked in flavorful fish stock with the addition of squid and shrimp. A version of it, arroz a banda, is here.

5. All i Pebre de Anguila (Eel in Garlic-Pimentón Sauce). I loved this dish in Valencia, but have never made it. No easy supply of eels. (Perhaps I will try the recipe with rosada.)

Fideuá, a pasta dish chock full of seafood.

6. Fideuá de Pescados y Mariscos. (Noodles with Seafood). While there's no seafood in Valencia paella, this pasta dish celebrates Valencia’s maritime tradition. Get the recipe here.

Bocadillo--a meal on a crusty roll. 

7. Esmorzaret (Snacks). This is the Valencian version of a segundo desayuno, or second breakfast, a meal between early breakfast and midday dinner. So important to keep a body going through days of festivities. Bocadillos, hefty sandwiches on thick bread rolls, eaten with draft beer or coffee, are typical. Street food or homemade. Here’s a selection of bocadillo ideas.

Churros with thick chocolate.

8. Churros con chocolate. (Fried dough strips with thick drinking chocolate). Street food for popular fiestas. Recipe for the drinking chocolate is here.

9. Cremaet (Coffee flambé). After all the burning, finish the Fallas with this concoction—rum, sugar and lemon peel flambéed in a glass to which espresso is added. Finale fiesta. And it didn’t rain!

Valencia Sweet Buns

These sweet buns are perfect for dunking in coffee, drinking chocolate or horchata.

Horchata is a sweet and milky drink made by soaking ground chufas, tigernuts, in water (no dairy) and sweetening with sugar and cinnamon. 

Fartons have a light and spongy texture. 

For a light and spongy texture, use harina de fuerza, high-gluten bread flour, to make these buns. 
The buns are only slightly sweet, but a sugar-water glaze applied after baking adds to the sweetness. 

Makes 10 (7-inch) buns

1 ounce fresh yeast
¼ cup warm water
¼ cup sugar
2 ½ cups bread flour plus additional for rolling the dough
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup vegetable or extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon salt
For the glaze:
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons water

Combine the yeast, water and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl. Stir well to combine. Let the yeast activate until bubbly, 10 minutes.

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the remaining sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture and the egg. Gradually mix the flour into the yeast and egg. Add the oil, orange zest and salt. Use one hand to mix and squeeze all the ingredients together until the bowl comes clean.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead it until smooth and stretchy, about 4 minutes. Form the dough into a smooth ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic film and leave in a warm, draft-free place until the dough doubles in volume, about 1 hour. 

Roll dough into balls.
Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces (each approximately 2 ounces). Working with one piece at a time, roll it firmly into a ball. Cover the balls of dough with a cloth and let them rest 15 minutes. 

On a lightly floured board, pat the ball of dough to flatten it, then roll it out thinly into a rectangle/oval approximately 7 ½ inches long and 5 ½ inches wide. Roll the dough into cylinder. 

Roll dough into a cylinder.

Place the rolls as they are shaped on baking sheet covered with baking parchment. Space the rolls about 1 ½ inches apart. They will spread during rising.
Let rise before baking.

Cover the rolls with a cloth and place in a draft-free place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Place the sheet of rolls in the oven and lower oven temperature to 400ºF. Bake the rolls 12 minutes or until golden. 

While the rolls are baking, make the sugar glaze. Combine the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and water to make a thick slurry. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.

Remove the rolls from the baking sheet, separating any which have baked together. Place them on a rack. While they are still warm, brush the rolls with the sugar glaze. Allow the rolls to cool completely. If desired, brush on a second coat of the glaze and again allow them to dry completely.


  1. They look like delicious buns, in spite of the unforunate name.

    1. Mad Dog: I cannot seem to find out if the word means something besides the name of these buns! No speak-a Valencian.

    2. Hello! In valenciano, "un fartó" also means a person who eats a lot and is never full, and the verb "fartar" means "eat a lot". As far as I'm concerned, the origin of the word is related to that meaning. It had never occurred to me that the name sounded really bad in English!

    3. Monstercrafts: Thank you for this clarification! Perhaps I need to acquire a diccionario valenciano.

    4. Here's the history behind the fartóns:

    5. Mad Dog: Thanks for that! My Google search did not turn up this site, with the meaning of the word in Valenciano ("fart" means "fed," fartons derives from that). Good to know.

  2. Will these work with all-purpose flour or is bread flour a NECESSITY? Thank you.

    1. Sophie: I have not tested the recipe with all-purpose flour. But, I'm guessing that the fartons will work fine, just not be quite as light and fluffy. The high-gluten bread flour enables the yeast to rise more than with regular flour.