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By Sofia Perez

[Published by Saveur, October 2010]

Arrope article scanYou can’t tell the story of Spanish food without talking about the Moors—Arabs and Berbers from North Africa who ruled much of the Iberian Peninsula from the eighth through the 15th centuries. Today, there are hundreds of Spanish words that begin with al- or ar-, signals of Arabic origins. One is arrope, a word that comes from the Arabic rubb (syrup), indicating the food’s luxurious sweetness as well as its lineage. Fresh-pressed fruit juice is boiled until it’s concentrated; then it’s used as a base in which to stew and preserve fruit.

In the farming town of L’Alcúdia, 22 miles southwest of the coastal city of Valencia…

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