Raisins are made by removing water from fresh Muscat grapes. Not only were they used in many desserts, but they were also used to flavor stews and several dishes. They have a soft and meaty texture and they are extremely sweet. Indeed, raisins is a high-energy food.
The most common Muscat grape variety across the vineyards at Marina Alta County is “Muscat of Alexandria”, also known as “Roman Muscat”. It has been widely grown across the county and it has been linked to all civilizations in the region since the Roman Empire.
Raisins from Dénia stands out from others because of the way they are dried. For centuries, “l’escaldà” traditional technique has been used. Such technique accelerates raisin drying. And it is all about introducing fresh grapes for few seconds in a big pot with boiling water and caustic soda, forming a liquid known as “lleixiu”. Then, raisins are put into such “lleixiu” liquid that cracks their skin. Afterwards they are spread over a net, made of reed thatch, under the sunlight.
Growing grapes had been the main wealth source across the villages in Marina Alta for more than 200 years. From the port of Dénia, boats and steamers loaded thousands of tons of raisins to supply the markets in Liverpool, New York or Northern Europe. The Muscat grape vines emerged from the coast to the inner region, forming immense landscapes. The activity of growing grapes shaped singular rural structures locally know as “riuraus”. Such structures had a covered space where nets of reed thatch were placed, with the grapes, to protect them from rain and humidity.
Muscat grape is also used to produce a very sweet traditional wine, known as “Mistela”. Over the last years, grapes have also been used to produce high-quality white and dry wine.