Atzebib, Denia Raisin sun raisin

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These are raisins from the Moscatel Romano grape, which were introduced to the region during the period of Roman rule. However, it was not Romans but Arabs who started producing raisins during their later occupation. They picked the grapes and let them dry in the sun at the sides of the fields, so producing a much appreciated product. Production was slow and very limited due to the weather, since drying grapes was only possible during the height of summer. However it was discovered that by blanching the grapes it was possible to make the skin more porous without breaking it and thus accelerate removal of moisture from the fruit. During the 19th century the first riu-rau appeared in the Marina Region and much of the Spanish eastern coast. These riu-raus were constructions where grapes were dried while being protected from the morning and evening dew and also from the frequent summer cloudbursts and storms. Many of these riu-rau buildings have survived in a perfect state to the present day. The blanching process begins by making lligiu (a type of bleach), a crucial ingredient for weakening the grape skin and making it porous. Lligiu is made as follows: ash made from almond skins (not shells) is mixed with lime inside a cosi (a pottery vessel with a wide mouth and hole for drainage at the bottom) and water added, producing a strong exothermic reaction. The mixture is allowed to react and cool down, while being periodically stirred or covered with straw for a few days until it is ready. At this point the caustic liquid is drained through the hole and transferred using a cane to a cast iron kettle filled with boiling water on a wood-fired oven. When the mixture starts boiling again, it is ready to start blanching. Blanching involves submerging bunches of grapes in a casa (a metal mesh basket which allows liquid to drain) in the water containing lligiu for 15 seconds. After that, the grapes are laid out on cane mats and left to dry out in the sun if possible, otherwise under riu-raus for a few days until the raisins are ready to eat. But that is not all. In recent times Denia raisins were almost entirely exported to the UK, but due to the crisis in Europe caused by the Second World War, exports stopped and so did production until the product almost disappeared. Later on, during the “Green Revolution”, local products were disregarded in favor of foreign monovarietals, as is the case for oranges.Denia raisin is traditionally produced in Les Marines area.

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Comunidad Valenciana

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Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves