The excellent produce of the huerta, a varied offer of meats and the prized treasures of the sea... a cuisine assimilating the products bequeathed by the peoples who settled here for centuries. The Romans showed us the art of making preserves and salted fish; the Arabs, among a thousand other products, introduced rice and how to grow and cook it, together with spices, condiments and aromatic plants.
Outside the fertile valleys were grown wheat, olives and vines, which is tantamount to saying bread, oil and wine: the three mainstays of the Mediterranean Diet.
To say, for example, caldero is to conjure up an image of rice, fish (grey mullet, monkfish, grouper), cooked in an iron pot, with ball peppers and garlic mayonnaise. Not to forget the fish a la sal, oven-baked in salt. Or grey mullet roe, mojama (salted tuna) and Mar Menor prawns. We cannot fail to mention pastel de Cierva, a pie filled with egg and meat. If you like fish and happen to be in Águilas, ask for moraga de sardinas (grilled pilchards), or the rice they make here a la piedra. If the produce from Murcia's Huerta is your preference, then rice and beans, olla gitana (a vegetable hotpot), cocido of turkey with meatballs, michirones (a broad bean stew), and braised chicken or rabbit. Hearty stews, where imagination has salvaged the modesty of the raw materials. Rice and vegetables, Cocido with meatballs. The Huerta once again impresses us with salads and the thousandfold combinations afforded by its vegetables. Pork has always been a staple for the people of the huerta and it is used in every way possible. Braised or grilled, not to mention a whole appetizing range of sausages (morcón, spicy longanizas, morcilla black puddings, etc.).
Another great option is inland Murcia. For those overcast and rainy days, try some migas ruleras, made from flour with oil, water, salt and a lot of patience. Or gazpacho jumillano, gazpacho de Yecla, pickled partridge, or rabbit and rice. When in season, rice with snails, in Calasparra. In the Ricote valley: tender oven-roast lamb. The cheeseboard includes excellent goat cheeses, cottage and cured cheeses, cheese with wine, with pepper... Fruit preserves, which constitute a thriving industry... Excellent marmalades and jams. And honeys, with a hint of the delicate aromas of the fields. And spices and condiments which, like the sweets and pastries (tocinos de cielo, marzipans, Caravaca sugared egg yolks, macaroons, etc.), deserve a separate mention. Lastly, the fruit, which can be summed up in the words of the famous operetta by Serrano: Murcia, tu huerta no tiene igual (there is no match for your huerta).
The Murcia Region has also cultivated grapevines and produced wines ever since Roman times. As well as those from the Campo de Cartagena, there are the wines from Ricote and, of course, the three Denominaciones de Origen: Jumilla, Yecla and Bullas. Whites, reds and rosés with rich bouquets. For all tastes, and for all palates.