As a seaport down to its bedrock, gastronomy in Alicante is closely linked to the Mediterranean, with the additional importance of rice in combination with fish. This is the basis of Alicante's cuisine. So be prepared to try dozens of different, savoury rice dishes during your stay. In mentioning some of these rice dishes, the first and foremost is the rice a la alicantina, using chicken and rice as basic ingredients, accompanied by shellfish and seasoned with ñora, a touch of dried red pepper. Also of note is the caldero (stewed with fish), el arroz a banda (rice in fish broth), el arroz con costra (rice with baked egg on top), arroz negro (with squid in its own ink)...

Also forming part of Alicante's culinary stock are its salted seafood preparations, known as salazones, including mojama (tuna roe), bacalao (cod), huevas (roe), pulpo seco (dried octopus), anchoas (anchovies) and melva (similar to bonito roe). These are all good tapas before a meal or as a starter, usually offered in the now fashionable presentation of the montadito, i.e. "mounted" on a little slice of toasted bread.

Then comes an exquisite series of second dishes, such as calamares rellenos (stuffed squid), suquet de peix (a fisherman's pot), cocido huertano (farmer's stew), gazpacho de mero (swordfish stew), and fresh shrimp, or gambas, not to mention the extensive international cuisine available in the many good restaurants in and around the town. As a grand final to a good meal, and in addition to the range of excellent local fruit - oranges, cherries, grapes, medlar fruit, pomegranates, figs, etc., depending on the season - we can suggest local ice cream, or the turrón (made from almonds and honey) which has made Alicante famous, manufactured in the nearby town of Jijona. As for connoisseurs of the good bodega, Alicante province has no lack of wholesome wines, such as the whites and rosés from the La Marina district, reds from Vinalopó and rancios (a maderised dessert wine), generosos (fortified wine) and mistelas (sweet must), some of which are very well known, such as the dessert wine Fondillón.

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