Dénia red shrimp fritter voted best Valencian tapa 2022

A fitter-style donut topped with a red prawn was voted the best Valencian tapa of 2022, at an awards ceremony on May 15.

The red shrimp fritter with its spicy mayonnaise, cream of chard and pickles typical of the Marina Alta region was concocted by the team of the restaurant La Xerna del Mar in Dénia, Alicante.

The Tapas d’Ací campaign, running from May 5 to 22, aims to promote Valencian tapas culture, as well as attract diners to restaurants in the area by showcasing what they have to offer.

Run by the Hotel Federation of Valencia (FEHV), six chefs compete for the prize for the best tapa. Two chefs represent each of the three Valencian regions, Alicante, Valencia and Castellon.

The chefs are in charge of producing the best tapa both in terms of quality, taste, presentation and representation of Valencian cuisine. Judges also base their decision on presentation and creativity, sensory values ​​or identification with the principles of the event through the use of local products.

The restaurant La Carrasca in Culla (Castellón) ‘Che! Quin Churro’ and thirdly the Casa Toni restaurant in Paterna (Valencia) through a tribute to the famous Cordà.

The other three participants were José Francisco Gómez (Los Infantes de Alicante restaurant), Gemma Gimeno (El Cid de Castelló) and Lucas Ezequiel Maldonado (Ca Miri Resto-Bar de València).

The restaurants that represent each region are those that come out on top in the annual ‘Tapas d’Ací’, a gastronomic odyssey that takes place in 60 bars and restaurants in each region.

La Xerna del Mar will be used on June 14 in an international promotional action that will take place in Zurich (Switzerland) to promote Valencian gastronomy. They will be accompanied by Kiko Moya (L’Escaleta, two Michelin stars), Mª José Martínez (Restaurante Lienzo, one Michelin star), Alejandra Herrador and Emanuel Carlucci (Restaurant Atalaya, one Michelin star), Josep Palomares (Restaurant Xiri, winner of the Best Tapa Contest 2021) and sommelier Manuela Romeralo.

The judgment was made by President Cuchita Lluch (member of the Royal Academy of Gastronomy), Mª José Martínez (Rainbow Restaurant, one Michelin star), Alejandra Herrador and Emanuel Carlucci (Atalaya Restaurant, one Michelin star) and Carlos Corredor (director of the Alicante Gastronomic Guide).

The awards ceremony was chaired by the regional secretary of Tourism, Francesc Colomer, who spoke about the importance of tapa and its history for the inhabitants and the region of Valencia.

Tapas d’Ací has ​​become a popular event on the calendar with residents and visitors alike being able to sample special dishes like Dénia red prawn fritter which was voted the best Valencian tapa of 2022.

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Joshua B. Speller