I glance at the crates full of tangerines and oranges. A gift from Luisa, the owner of L’Aplec restaurant. Super sweet! Gratefully I empty the crate of oranges into the large bowl outside. Our guests will be able to enjoy a fresh glass of orange juice with breakfast for a long time to come. Great. Because that certainly should not be missing from a breakfast in a Casa Rural in the Valencian region. And definitely not in an accommodation located in Vall de Gallinera, surrounded by agricultural land. Because not only mandarins and oranges are picked here. We’ve got olives and cherries too.

As I place the crate of tangerines in the kitchen, I wonder what I am going to do with this large quantity. My sisters are still in Switzerland and won’t be home for another five weeks. And although my parents and I try to eat a bowl of fresh fruit every morning, I’m afraid that adding a tangerine (or two) a day to the fresh fruit salad won’t help that much. Only after I start searching the internet for a recipe for orange marmalade, it finally occurs to me. Why don’t I make tangerine marmalade? I will be able to use all the oranges for the juice. I’m not worried about that. And it can’t be any worse than the marmalade from the supermarket, correct? Not even when it’s made by someone who has never made it in her life and doesn’t have much cooking talent in the first place, right? I have to begin somewhere. The breakfast at our own Bed & Breakfast seems like a good start to me. Moreover, I am not the first in my family to make my own marmalade. In addition to our grandmother, who used to shower us with more jars than we would like, our aunt has also been making it herself for years. Maybe I inherited their talent?

The next morning I therefore decide to drive to the new Action in Finestrat with my mother. Although I have no idea how many jars I can fill with my recipe, I put twelve in my basket. I think that’s enough for the very first attempt. Before I have fully mastered the art of it, I’m sure that Action will have opened a new store (even closer to home). (If anyone from the Action renovation team reads this: Ondara is truly a prime location!) But I can reassure anyone who fears that this will take a while and that my very first attempt will not be successful at all. We will also continue to serve Casa Carmen’s cherry marmalade, which is made with cherries from the valley, for breakfast. At least as long as our father hasn’t completely consumed it. Fortunately, the cherry season is almost here and plenty of new ones can be made again. And for those for whom our homemade mandarin marmalade is not reason enough to visit us in Spain (something I can’t imagine), I have another tip. The cherry blossoms, which will bloom again in a few weeks, are also not too bad.