In a city known for paella, finding a museum dedicated to rice is not such a surprise. But the Museo del Arroz de Valencia gives visitors more than just a look at how this staple grain is grown. It delivers not only a fresh perspective on Valencia; it casts a light on the effects rice has had on myth, society, culture, and history on a global scale as well.
The museum’s rough-hewn atmosphere does a great job of setting the stage for the history of rice production in and around Valencia. On the ground floor a video presentation helps remind visitors of the importance rice has played in myths, religion, and everyday life from ancient times through the present, and in civilizations all across the globe.
Then, moving up through the museum (lift available), a series of multi-lingual, and clearly illustrated information signs describe each of the working machines in the museum, from the shakers and sorters to the conveyer belts, grinders, and baggers, etc.
Along the way, the museum unveils some trade secrets, like the fact that rice destined to be shipped out of Spain (by sea) is coated with a small amount of oil to prevent moisture, mold and mildew from gaining a foothold. It’s these intimate little morsels that make this museum so fascinating.
Following rice from paddy to plate with the hum and vibration of machines felt through the battered factory floorboards elevates rice from just another grain on our plates to a vital, visceral commodity that has shaped cultures and economies around the world.
If you have any interest in food, technology, culture, or history, the Museo del Arroz de Valencia’s three floors of exhibits are well worth the trip out to the coast, and can easily be combined with a visit to the Cabanyal Market.
[TIP: Located out towards the coast, near the Cabanyal part of town, well away from the tourist center of Valencia, the Museo del Arroz de Valencia can be a bit challenging to find. It’s located about a quarter of a mile west of the Grau-Canyamelar Metro stop in a restored building that was formerly a rice mill (Serra’s Mill).]
Text and photos by Glenn D. Kaufmann
Museo del Arroz de Valencia
Calle del Rosario nº 3
Open Tuesday – Saturday
Morning: 9:30am – 2pm
Evening: 3pm – 7pm
Sunday and holidays:
Morning: 9:30am – 3pm
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