You can easily get confused when trying to figure out what is “real” Valencian breakfast.
Is it called “desayuno” or “almuerzo”?
Well, I got some conflicting answers even from locals, so I sort of, figured it out myself:
Desayuno is early tiny breakfast – first thing in the morning, where coffee is a must and just bite or two of “something” : croissant or toast, for example. It might be called “small almuerzo”
Almuerzo is a bigger version of desayuno, it’s served in around 10 o’clock and that’s when you will se Valencians rush to their nearest bar.
Valencian Breakfast Menu
Small Almuerzo (Desayuno):
Coffee & Croissant or Toast
Bocadillo or bocata – sandwich
Bocadillo or bocata – sandwich or tapas
Sweets (like churo dipped in chocolate)
Usual price is from 2 for small and – 5 euros for big
People of Valencia, often complain about many things. Time wasting seems to eat up much of what can be done more and better. Even more so in current, and quite difficult, situation that Spain endures right now. There is almost endless stream of things to complain about and folk here duly deliver.
Many might say that Valencians should start from themselves. Why, do I hear you ask? Well… you know how people say that everybody have their very own guilty pleasure? Valencians have it too, only I dare say that they do not feel at least guilty about it. It’s name is simple and widely known – breakfast. Or, as locals call it, “esmorzaret”.
It is their weakness. It is one and only reason why nobody can be found between 9:45 to 10:45. That is, of course, the least possible time. If one decides to sip glass of carajillo, it can even go to 11:00. Famous “lunch hour”, “la hora de almuerzo”. One only need to think with sadness to all those lost hours at work. Some would even equate it with absenteeism, no less.
And they couldn’t be more wrong! “Esmorzaret”, local breakfast, benefits all. It is good for the worker, it is good for his company and it is great for restaurants, taverns and cafes. It helps worker by relieving him of stress and it boosts the economy. A prime example of a win-win situation.
Are Valencians going to give up on their beloved habit? Of course not! How can you even think about it?!
Why? Well, there are number of reasons.
Let’s start with obvious. No, it’s not food (it will come in later). It is spending time with your friends and/or colleagues. Sharing a table with them, socializing in relaxed atmosphere, with no worries for that precious hour.
But, of course, in that hour, while you share a table with said friends or colleagues, you also share food (or not, I will not judge).
Valencia is probably the only place in the whole wide world that you will get pickles, olives and cocoa without even asking for them. Sometimes even chili peppers.
Brascada sandwich – Grilled beef and ham with roasted roasted onions
And then along come sandwiches. You may say that they can be found everywhere. While technically true, it doesn’t even come close to array that is on offer in Valencia. Nowhere (and now I really mean nowhere) in the world there are so many varieties. You can have sandwich with sausage, fried cabbage and garlic, sandwich with fried potatoes, bacon, eggs and pepper, sandwich with squid, onions and tomato salad, sandwich with tuna and boiled eggs… Number of possibilities is virtually endless. Can anyone top that? No? Thought so.
One of the most typical sandwiches is Catalana – simple, but delicious spread of freshly ground tomato and (sometimes) olive oil.
Where is food, there is drink. And it is extremely important, mind you. For good digestion, of course. And, since it’s working hours after all, you have to keep alcohol level low. So hit it with nice wine with soda. And then some nice sweet alcoholic drink, famous cremeat with lemon and coffee, to get your spirits up. And then back to work, refreshed and ready to contribute more to your company, city and country.
So, when you think about it, all you can really honestly say about “esmorzaret” is – may it long continue.
And, in case you worry about getting fat, you can relax. Many studies from numerous universities and hospitals around the world prove that there is no correlation between breakfast in Valencia and chubbiness. Take my word for it!
And it helps local economy!
Where to eat breakfast in Valencia? I wrote a separate page on the subject and you may find it here! However, if you are in rush and have no time to read it – please take my advice and just go to the nearest bar, you can’t go wrong!