Pome­gran­ate prom­ise

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - News - Awatkins@cb­news.es

By Alex Watkins POMEGRANATES of the Mol­lar de Elche va­ri­ety har­vested this year are ex­pected to be big­ger and bet­ter than usual.

Pres­i­dent of the Pro­tected Des­ig­na­tion of Ori­gin (DOP) for the Mol­lar del Elche pome­gran­ate, Fran­scisco Oliva noted that rain at the end of the sum­mer had been very ben­e­fi­cial for the crop as it came at a ‘strate­gic time’ which has im­proved their qual­ity and size. This, com­bined with the higher yields now be­ing ob­tained from the new plan­ta­tions added in re­cent years, in­di­cate that pro­duc­tion is ex­pected to be up by two per cent.

“We will have an­other 1,000 tons in ad­di­tion to the 50,000 tons that we av­er­age each har­vest within the ge­o­graph­i­cal lim­its of the DOP (en­com­pass­ing the Bajo Vi­nalopó, Vega Baja and L’ Ala­cantí ar­eas),” he said.

About half will be sold with the DOP seal, which are the best qual­ity pomegranates from plan­ta­tions reg­is­tered with the reg­u­la­tory board.

The sym­bolic ‘first cut’ of the sea­son was per­formed in Al­bat­era by Miche­lin-starred chef Ri­card Ca­marena.

He was ac­com­pa­nied by other pres­ti­gious chefs from the Va­len­cia re­gion: Susi Díaz, Kiko Moya, María José San Román, Manuel Alonso, Bernd H Knöller, Raúl Resino, San­ti­ago Prieto, and Miguel Bar­rer and pas­try mae­stro Paco Tor­re­blanco.

Between them all they have a to­tal of 10 Miche­lin stars.

Sr Ca­marena said the Mol­lar de Elche pome­gran­ate ‘is an iconic prod­uct for its qual­ity and unique na­ture’.

“It adapts very well to cook­ing be­cause it brings con­trast for its acid­ity and even that tart­ness that is some­times an un­der­used condi­ment which de­serves fur­ther ex­plo­ration,” he said.

His res­tau­rant uses it in a salad that is adapted to the pro­duce of each sea­son, with shrimp and smoked tomato juice which are con­trasted by the pome­gran­ate.

Other dig­ni­taries in­cluded re­gional, pro­vin­cial and lo­cal govern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Elche mayor Car­los González said ‘this es­sen­tial lo­cal crop gen­er­ates em­ploy­ment and wealth’.

About 40% is sold on the do­mes­tic mar­ket and it is also ex­ported to Brazil, Asia, Europe and Ara­bic coun­tries.

The area reg­is­tered with the DOP has in­creased this year by 8.9% to 1,469 hectares for the 2017/2018 sea­son and grow­ers can still ap­ply to the board at its of­fices in Elche or Al­bat­era.

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