39º27N (Valencia, Spain)

(Update: 39º27N closed in 2013)

For our last full day in Valencia, the weather had cooled off a few degrees to be just “pleasantly warm”, so we decided it would be a good day to go check out the beach and go swimming (I had been to the beach twice before, but at night). After a few hours of swimming and relaxing on the sand, we needed a light lunch, so we decided to go walking.

The southern end of Malvarossa beach is actually several blocks of restaurants all packed together (including the very nice La Pepica that I had eaten at two nights before), but we ended up instead walking out on the breakwater of the Port of Valencia, where we came across 39º27N, and decided to have a light lunch there.

39º27N is perched on the edge of the breakwater, and has two parts, a nice glass walled bar and restaurant inside, and an open-air bar, both of which have a stunningly nice view back at Malvarossa Beach. Since the weather was so pleasant, we picked a nice table under one of the sunscreens and ordered a light lunch of Jamón ibérico, some Spanish cheeses, some wine.

I’m suprised I’ve gotten this far into blogging my Spanish trip without really going on about Jamón ibérico… The Spaniards really like their ham, having real pride in their Jamóns, ranging from the fairly cheap and afford (but still delicious) Jamón Serrano (dry-cured ham sliced thinly) up to some of the crazy-expensive Jamón ibérico. Jamón ibérico is the ne plus ultra of Spanish hams, made only from Spanish cerdo negro pigs, fed on a special diet (feed for the cheaper stuff, a mix of feed and acorns for the moderate stuff, and an exclusive acorn diet for the expensive stuff). The result is a sublime experience of soft meat (speckled with fat), delicate fat layers, and a nice overall savory pork flavor. So when our lunch at 39º27N offered us another opportunity to have some jamón ibérico de bellota (the jamón made from the acorn-fed pigs), we couldn’t resist. And the result was wonderful, a large plate with dozens of sumptuous thin slices of delicious jamón . Oh, how I wish I could get this stuff in the states (between Spanish export laws and US FDA import laws, this stuff is almost impossible to get).

Rounding out the lunch was another platter, this time of Spanish quesos. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not terribly good at identifying cheeses, but we ended up with the typical plate of medium and hard cow and goat milk cheeses, all having a nice texture and the nice slightly-sour flavor that I like in a good cheese. The one cheese on the plate that I could identify, Manchego, was very pleasant, relatively sweet, and with notes reminiscent of salted almonds. After my Spanish experience, I’m tempted to spend some more time experiencing aged cheeses.

Overall, it was a very light lunch, but we really enjoyed 39º27N as a place with good food, good wine, and a stellar view. I’ll be sure to come back on future trips as well.

3 Responses

  1. Steve Dunham 15 Oct 2010 at 21:53 #

    Spanish ham can be imported into the US now. The import restrictions were relaxed sometime in the last year.

    Our favorite neighborhood restaurant, Contigo, has the Iberico de Bellota on the menu (jamon and lomo) along with some good domestic products. We definitely should go there next time you visit.

  2. kaszeta 16 Oct 2010 at 06:35 #

    Yeah, you can get the real stuff from a limited number of Spanish providers since 2008. Although it's still difficult to find (San Francisco being one of the easier places to find it)

  3. Dennis K. 17 Oct 2010 at 02:38 #

    Can you put a pair of handles on one and make it look like a bowling bag?? 😉

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