For more than ten years, Romeralo, who has adopted Valencia as her home town, has been offering the clients of the Restaurant La Sucursal one of the best wine, spirits and liquor lists available in Spain. It comes as no surprise that the Royal Spanish Academy of Gastronomy and the Guild of Good Eating have recognised her as this year’s top Spanish sommelier. Romeralo, who will collect the corresponding award next October in Madrid, claims that the recognition is “a collective award for the high level of the sommeliers in Valencia” and that it “will not be the last”.
How would you describe Valencia in a nutshell?
I like this city very much, it’s very handy for driving and it gains a lot of energy from the sun and the beach. The best thing about Valencia, though, is its people. It’s very easy to communicate here and people use very friendly terms when talking to you. As I come from Toledo, I was very surprised by the Mediterranean character when I arrived.
Your favourite place to go for a walk?
The Turia Gardens are great for walking, cycling, reading and many other activities. You don’t realise just how many people make use of the gardens until you go for a walk there in the morning.
A place to lose yourself in?
There are many spots in which you can loose yourself in this city, many of which are related to the theatre and the arts. The Palau de la Musica, Ciudad de las Artes y Sciencias (City of Arts and Sciences) or the IVAM (Valencian Institute of Modern Art) I’m lucky in that I work near one of them, given that the Sucursal is located within one of Europe’s main Modern Art museums. This is a good place to loose yourself in.
What typical Valencian dish would you recommend?
I don’t want to say paella, because it sounds like a cliché, although it is a dish I would recommend. Spectacular rice casseroles are made in Valencia. In my opinion, the most representative of these is “Arròs en Fessols I Nabs”.
And the wine?
It’s very good now. Valencian wine has evolved tremendously since I started working in this sector. There are some wonderful reds and “bobal” rosés that go perfectly with rice dishes. In general, Valencian cuisine and sommeliers are currently at a very high level.
Do you have any peculiar anecdotes about Valencia?
Once, when I was commenting on the list, a client said “tu mateixa, from Ribera del Duero”. I was worried, because I had never heard of a wine called ‘Tu Mateixa’. When they told me what it meant (you choose in Valencian), I felt quite silly for a while.. I’ve never had any problems with Valencian, though I can say the odd phrase or two.
What would you take as a souvenir to remember Valencia?
I find the special character of the Valencians fascinating, I always carry that around with me. However, I’d also take the concept of Valencia, and specifically the Barrio del Carmen and the atmosphere that you breathe there, the people, both during the day and night…