Gazpacho de Cerezas

Calpe Gastronomy – 10 BEST local dishes to try

Calpe, a picturesque town on Spain's Costa Blanca, is a gem that marries stunning natural landscapes with a rich culinary tradition. Nestled between the towering Peñón de Ifach and the sparkling Mediterranean Sea, Calpe is not just a haven for beach lovers and hikers but also a paradise for food enthusiasts. The local gastronomy is a vibrant tapestry woven from fresh seafood, locally grown fruits and vegetables, and a blend of culinary techniques passed down through generations. In this article, we delve into the heart of Calpe's culinary scene, exploring 10 local dishes that are a must-try for any visitor.

1. Arroz del Senyoret

Starting our gastronomic journey, the "Arroz del Senyoret" is a testament to the coastal city's love affair with rice and seafood. This dish features rice cooked to perfection in a rich broth, brimming with shellfish that's been peeled for your convenience, embodying the term 'Senyoret' which means 'gentleman'. Often compared to paella, what sets it apart is the ease of eating the succulent seafood mixed within, including shrimp, cuttlefish, and sometimes monkfish, all imbued with the flavors of garlic, saffron, and a hint of rosemary.

2. Fideuà

A close relative of paella, Fideuà swaps rice for noodles but keeps the essence of the coastal culinary tradition alive. Originating as a fisherman's meal, this dish incorporates thin noodles, cooked in a flavorful stock with a variety of seafood such as squid, prawns, and monkfish. A squeeze of lemon juice just before serving brightens the flavors, making Fideuà a beloved dish for its simplicity and depth of taste.

3. Pulpo Seco

A unique delicacy, "Pulpo Seco" or dried octopus, is a testament to Calpe's innovation in seafood preservation. The octopus is sun-dried, then grilled to perfection, resulting in a dish with a chewy texture and a concentrated flavor of the sea. It's often served with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika, marrying simplicity with profound flavors

4. Borreta de Melva

Reflecting Calpe's ability to create hearty dishes, Borreta de Melva is a comforting stew made with melva, a type of mackerel, potatoes, spinach, and sometimes egg. This dish is a nod to the fishermen's cuisine, utilizing locally caught fish to create a nourishing meal that is both simple and rich in flavors, often enjoyed with a side of crusty bread to soak up the savory broth.

5. Calamares Rellenos

Calamares Rellenos, or stuffed squid, showcases the Mediterranean's bounty. The squid is filled with a mixture of its own tentacles, ground meat, pine nuts, and spices, then cooked in a tomato-based sauce. This dish is a beautiful blend of textures and flavors, offering a glimpse into the creative use of seafood in Calpe's culinary tradition.

6. Salazón

Salazón refers to a variety of salt-cured fish, a preservation method deeply rooted in the region's history. Ranging from salted anchovies to mackerel, these cured fish are a staple in the local diet, often served as an appetizer or a component in salads and other dishes, delivering a punch of umami and a taste of the sea.

7. Coca de Mollitas

Moving away from seafood, Coca de Mollitas is a traditional pastry that reflects the agricultural side of Calpe. This savory flatbread is topped with "mollitas" – small crumbs made from flour, olive oil, and spices. It's often enjoyed as a snack or starter, showcasing the simplicity and heartiness of local cuisine.

8. Almendrados

For those with a sweet tooth, Almendrados are a must-try. These almond cookies are a testament to the Moorish influence on the region's cuisine. Made with ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites, these treats are chewy, sweet, and utterly addictive, often paired with a cup of coffee or a sweet wine.

9. Paella de Marisco

No list of Spanish dishes would be complete without paella, and Calpe offers its version with a focus on seafood. "Paella de Marisco" combines rice with a variety of sea treasures like shrimp, mussels, and squid, cooked in a rich broth until each grain is infused with the flavors of the sea. It's a communal dish, reflecting the social aspect of mealtime in Spanish culture.

10. Gazpacho de Cerezas

Lastly, Gazpacho de Cerezas offers a refreshing twist on the traditional gazpacho. This cold soup blends ripe cherries with tomatoes, peppers, and bread, creating a harmonious balance of sweet and savory. It's a perfect antidote to the warm Mediterranean sun, showcasing the innovative use of local produce in Calpe's cuisine.


Calpe's gastronomy is a journey through time and culture, where each dish tells a story of the land, the sea, and the people who have lived there. From the simplicity of salted fish to the communal joy of sharing a paella, the culinary traditions of Calpe are a testament to the richness of Spanish cuisine. These 10 dishes offer just a taste of what this enchanting town has to offer, inviting food lovers to explore, taste, and fall in love with the flavors of Calpe. Whether you're dining in a beachfront restaurant or a cozy inland eatery, the culinary delights of Calpe are sure to leave an indelible mark on your palate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Arroz del Senyoret and how is it different from Paella?

Arroz del Senyoret is a rice dish featuring seafood that's already peeled for easy eating, differing from traditional paella mainly in the convenience of consuming the seafood included

Can I find vegetarian options in Calpe's local cuisine?

Yes, Calpe offers vegetarian delights such as Coca de Mollitas, a savory pastry, showcasing the region's agricultural produce alongside other vegetable-based dishes

What makes Fideuà unique in Calpe's gastronomy?

Fideuà, a noodle-based seafood dish, stands out in Calpe's cuisine for its rich flavors derived from a blend of seafood, distinguishing itself with its use of noodles instead of rice

Are there any traditional desserts in Calpe?

Almendrados, traditional almond cookies, are a popular dessert in Calpe, offering a sweet taste with a chewy texture, reflecting the Moorish influence on the region's cuisine

Is Gazpacho de Cerezas available year-round in Calpe?

Gazpacho de Cerezas, a cherry-based cold soup, is typically seasonal, best enjoyed in the warmer months when cherries are ripe, offering a unique twist on the classic gazpacho

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