La Pascuala: Valencian “Esmorzaret”

If you want to be a proper local you need to get yourself down to this traditional bar that has been in business since 1921 and immerse yourself in the local institution of what is known in the local language as l’esmorzaret. L’esmorzaret (or almuerzo in Spanish) is the second mealtime of the traditional five-a-day mealtimes traditionally consumed in Spain. It is not as popular in every part of Spain but in Valencia it is a fundamental part of daily life.

Traditionally, a esmorzaret consists of a drink (mainly beer or wine), peanuts (known as cacaos in Valencian), olives (known as olivas in Valencian), a filled baguette (bocadillo) and a coffee. This is all meant to tie you over until lunchtime which typically starts around 2-3pm. The esmorzaret offered in La Pascuala however is enough to tie you over until merienda (the 4th meal time starting at around 5pm). I, for one, have never been able to have lunch after having an esmorzaret in La Pascuala as their bocadillos are full-sized baguettes. If you are not up for the challenge you can also opt for medio (half a baguette) but for the price you might as well go the full hog (and take away the rest if you can stomach it all).

Apart from the massive baguettes, La Pascuala, is also infamous for serving horsemeat. Even though the consumption of horsemeat has declined in Spain it is actually quite traditional. Don’t fret though if you are put off by eating a poor horsey as they have many other alternatives. My favourite bocadillo, and probably the most famous, is called Super (horse fillet, bacon, cheese, onion and brushed tomato) but I am also partial to a Republicano (sausage, black pudding, chorizo, potatoes and garlic mayonnaise).

At the end of the meal, I strongly recommend trying a “cremaet” which is a Valencian specialty coffee which is hard to find in many places these days. It’s a flambéed coffee with rum or brandy, cinnamon, lemon rind, sugar and coffee beans. Don’t add sugar as it already comes sweet!

The downside of this bar is that the service can, from an outsider’s perspective, be quite rude and unfriendly but that’s not really uncommon in this neck of the words and at least the blow is lessened by the fact that they tend to be fast.

I recommend booking a table in advance but if your Spanish is not up to scratch you can always drop by and pray to all the saints that they have a table available: it is normally packed to the brim with local residents of El Cabanyal area and blue collar workers who probably need all that fuel to keep them satisfied until lunch.

pascuala


Rating: 9/10

Where: Calle Eugenia Viñes, 177 (Tram Stop Les Arenes)

Opening times: Monday – Saturday from 9.30am – 3.30pm

Price Range: € (around 5€ per person)

Website: www.facebook.com/bodegalapascuala/

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