When the local local mussels are in, Valencianos dig in! Called ‘Clóchinas, they are smaller than most of the also excellent mussels we get all year long from Galicia. They can be a bit saltier than the Galician variety, farmed in the fjords of that province, as they grow in saltier water and on the Mediterranean versus the Atlantic Ocean.
Its cultivation started in the late nineteenth century on two rafts in the port of Valencia. Now they are grown farther out as the port has grown. There is a current that keeps the farm waters clean. They hang onto ropes slung from the sides of old barges, similar to how it is done in Galicia.
They are prepared very simply, usually with just some garlic cloves in the steamer, with lemon juice squeezed over the cooked clóchinas. There is no need to add salt.