Its proximity to the Segura river valley has given the area the characteristic of fertile lands. Also, this river favoured the arrival of different civilizations that influenced its cuisine. Therefore, its flavours reflect the traditions of the medieval period.
In addition, its border status favoured a mixture of traditions in the kitchen, with the influence of Castilian and Andalusian cuisine, as well as the arrival of products from America that experienced rapid acceptance.
Among its products with great influence on traditional cuisine are bell peppers and tomatoes, as well as other vegetables, such as lettuce, aubergine, zucchini, artichoke, and garlic. The latter is highly recognized in the region for its flavour and quality.
“Cabañil” garlic is a sauce prepared with garlic, salt, and vinegar. It is one of the sauces with the longest tradition in the gastronomy of the Vega Alta del Segura region.
The quality of its products does not end there, as it is perpetuated by its native capers of Muslim tradition and the “mollares” olives from the city of Cieza. There are a variety of olives, such as “manzanilla” and “picuda”, among the most exquisite, and they are used in sauces, salads, and stews.
Garlic is used in salads, as well as in omelettes. In the gastronomy of the Vega Alta del Segura region, rice dishes are especially known. Rice with “mondongo” has an exquisite flavour, as do rice with rabbit, rice with vegetables, and rice prepared with beans.
Among the meats, lamb deserves a special mention. Lamb head is prepared in the oven or as a stew. “Michirones” are a delight for their special stew, which combines “chorizo”, “ñoras”, and beans.
In the gastronomy in the Vega Alta del Segura region, the “Caracoles Chupaeros” stand out for their peculiarity and for those who are lovers of hot sauce. Also, one cannot leave Cieza without having tasted the “Potaje Ciezano”, a stew with cod, beans, and potatoes among its ingredients.
A variety of dishes with vegetables and legumes stand out on the tables of families and restaurants. Among them are “Zarangollo”, “Pisto murciano”, and seasoned beans, either raw or cooked.
This diet is very healthy. It includes artichokes that are eaten in different preparations: stuffed, fried with sardines, or with tomatoes. Another delicious dish based on vegetables and legumes is the “Zarangollo colorao”, which is made of onion, “ñora”, sweet squash, and garlic.
The fresh and healthy dishes of the summer season are the various salads of the region, prepared with tomato, lettuce, Cieza olives, eggs, and olive oil. It is also possible to find roasted salads. Among them, we can highlight the “Pipirrana” of cod, onion, “ñoras”, black olives, and garlic.
Eggplant is prepared in different ways: fried, overflowing, or as a curd of eggplant with characteristics of Muslim and Jewish cuisine.
Potatoes also have an important presence in the gastronomy of the Vega Alta del Segura and can be enjoyed in countless ways. The most popular is roasting them and accompanying them with garlic. However, of special mention is the “Cabañil” garlic potatoes, considered one of the most exquisite delicacies of this cuisine. These accompany rabbit or lamb meats. Another appetizing dish is potatoes with cod.
The gastronomy in the Vega Alta del Segura region is distinguished by the variety of fruits, among which apricots and peaches are distinguished. The region also produces citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, and lemons.
In terms of confectionery, the “Bienmesabe” of hazelnuts or almonds, the “Borrachos de Ojós”, the “Horchata” of hazelnuts and the “Picardías de Abarán” stand out for their excellence, in addition to the traditional cakes, in which flour is integrated into seasonal fruits.