One Thursday in December Wil and I remembered we had been married for eleven years and discovered or rather re-realised that we had known each other for twenty. Being together for two decades, and at that point almost being at the end of a decade, we decided to celebrate.
After dropping the girls off at school we headed towards Onda where we had huevos rotos with a glass of red wine from the region. Heuvos rotos (Spanish broken eggs) is one of my favourite breakfasts. The dish is essentially potato fries covered with Serrano ham and two fried eggs. There are of course different versions. Those with foie gras, instead of ham, or truffles, or bacon and onion and so forth. I have yet to try them all.
Then we made our way to our actual destination, Fanzara. Not many people know of Fanzara, it seems. I must admit with a population of 276 (2018) it is a tiny village. So upon entering it we were absolutely thrilled to see what 276 people decided to do, to draw attention to their little part of the world.
They had transformed their village into an open-air gallery and it is an ongoing process.
The sky was overcast and grey, giving the day a quiet and dense quality, which made walking through the village feel like we were actually walking through an art gallery. Each art piece had a QR code giving you information about the piece and the artist.
Should you find yourself in the eastern part of Spain and are able to go, please do. You’ll do yourself and 276 other people a huge favour. Here are a few photos of some of the street art you can find in Fanzara. There are incredible photos on Instagram #fanzara.
Another not-so-new-but-quite-unknown thing we recently discovered is yuzu fruit, also with a z in its name but nothing to do with street art.
What is it?
Yuzu is a citrus fruit, that grows wild in Central China and Tibet. It was introduced to Japan and Korea during the Tang dynasty, where it’s still being grown today and in other parts of the world, including Valencia.
What does it look like?
Yuzu has the shape and size of a mandarin, the bright yellow skin is similar to that of a lemon but thicker and more uneven. The flesh also resembles that of a lemon, however, yuzu fruit have more and bigger pips, which contribute to the low yield and high cost of the juice. One fruit yields between 10 and 15 millilitres of juice.
What does it taste like?
Before even tasting yuzu, the volatile aromas entice you. Cupping the fruit while squeezing it ever so gently releases an aromatic bouquet of grapefruit, guava, lime, lemon and mandarin.
Yuzu juice is a fusion of lemon, grapefruit and mandarin. It starts off with an astringent lemony prickle which dissipates just before your eyes well up, intense tart grapefruit notes follow leaving your tastebuds perplexed, not knowing which citrus fruit had been had.
I splashed the fresh juice on salads and cooked with it and find that using it fresh does the complex flavour more justice. I can imagine a yuzu sorbet being exquisitely refreshing during the hot summer months.
Where to find it?
Yuzu products are readily available online. You will find yuzu salt, essential oils, salad dressings, juice, yuzu trees, yuzu face serums and plenty more. It will most certainly also be a popular ingredient at your local Japanese restaurant. It pairs well with sushi dishes.
Wil is growing some yuzu trees and observing how the fruit and trees react. He easily got hold of some plants from a nursery and it seems to grow well in a Mediterranean climate.
Some yuzu titbits
Yuzu fruit grown in Switzerland were tested and contained an average of 560 milligrams of vitamin C per litre of juice. It contains more vitamin C than mandarin, pomelo and lime. Depending on some factors, the recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 90 milligrams, which means that 1 litre of yuzu juice will give you your vitamin C dose for six days. That’s impressive!
Besides the vitamin C content, the flavanone (plant chemicals) content of yuzu has also drawn attention to the fruit as a source of health and wellness. The flavanones in yuzu are called naringin, hesperidin, naringenin and hesperetin and are far more abundant in the peel than the flesh.
These flavanones are linked to cardiovascular health, muscle relaxation and overall antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. So it comes as no surprise that yuzu baths are a thing during Japanese winters. It is believed to prevent sickness and to nourish the body and skin. Apparently, during the winter solstice, you can find people bathing in steaming hot water with yuzu fruit floating all around them. How invigorating.
Keep your eyes peeled for yuzu and when you do find it, make yourself a yuzu salad pour a hot yuzu bath and love yourself a little harder. Twenty-twenty is all about being healthy and a few other things.
Source: A. Sprunger, I. Marmillod A. Kosinska-Cagnazzo, W. Anlauer, ‘Bioactive Compounds of Juice and Peels of Yuzu Fruits Cultivated in Switzerland’, CHIMIA, 2018, 72, No.10, p. 728-732.