Shown on BBC 2 on 8th February
On the final leg of their Mediterranean journey, the Hairy Bikers are travelling through southern Spain in the footsteps of the Moors, heading for Costa del Sol and the midsummer festival of San Juan.
They begin their exploration of the Moorish influence on the culture and cuisine of Spain in Valencia. Renowned as one of Spain’s most fertile areas, crops have been cultivated here since Roman times, but it was the Moors who perfected the irrigation systems that allowed farming to flourish and, to this day, Valencia is a destination for those seeking out world-class produce.
The bikers head straight for the market to taste a local speciality, horchata, a non-alcoholic drink made from tiger nuts. They meet food enthusiast and amateur historian Anton, who shows them how horchata is made and fills them in on the basics of local history. Inspired by the Moorish influence they are beginning to discover, they cook ajo blanco (a white gazpacho) and pataquetas (crescent-shaped bread rolls).
Back on the road, the bikers head inland to a secret valley where the Moors cultivated crops on dramatic hillside terraces before they were evicted in the 15th century and replaced by Christian families. They meet the descendants of those families to cook a local twist on paella – a rice dish with rabbit and cherries.
In the pursuit of the perfect surf and turf diet, they head back to the coast to an out-of-the-way restaurant with a reputation for seafood. Here, they get involved with the preparation of freshly caught octopus, which is washed and stretched out on washing lines to dry in the sun. In the restaurant kitchen, they see how the dried octopus is cooked. An octopus stew also makes an appearance on the dinner table – the full flavour of the Mediterranean on a plate.