Spanish Flavors: Paella
Every country has its own typical food which is recognized and famous all over the world. There are places which are known by its gastronomy and the reputation of their meals, so gastronomic tours represent a large part of tourism. Spain is one of those countries which have food as one of its most representative icons, and depending on the area of the country you are, different types of food are more prominent. But I’m sure that if you think in spanish food, paella is the main dish you can remember, don’t you?. Do you want to know more about this delicious rice-based meal?
First of all, we have to take a look to how paella was born and the original ingredients that were used. You may know that the birthplace of this meal was rural areas in Valencia, and more concretely the area of the Albufera. It dates back to 15th and 16th centuries, being born from the necessity of shepherds and peasants to elaborate a simple and easy recipe with what they had in hand. Little by little, paella was spread all over the Mediterranean shore of Spain and became one of the best known meals in the whole country.
Originally, paella’s ingredients were poultry meat, rabbit and hare meat, fresh vegetables, rice, saffron and olive oil. This, mixed with water, was slowly cooked with orange tree branches, which gave the meal a characteristic smell and flavor.
Time made to appear several variations from the original recipe, and according to the area the meal had different changes because of the ingredients employed to make it. For example, the “marinera” (seafood) variant changes radically the main ingredients as it adds different kinds of fish and seafood; or the mixed paella, where meat and seafood share protagonism. So, there is a type of paella for every taste.
Once you know a bit of the history of this tasty meal, it is time to let you know where to go if you want to enjoy the best paellas in Spain. Obviously, there are as many places to try paella as restaurants in Spain, so we will recommend you just a few places depending on the area of Spain you want to visit. Of course, paella’s birth area has to be the place to go if you want the most recognized restaurants to try the authentic taste of the recipe.
One of the most famous paella year after year is the one made in Casa Elías Restaurant, in the village of Xinorlet. This village is located in the interior of the province of Alicante, an area which is known to have some of the best dry paellas in the region. Slowly cooked beneath the fire, tradition and flavor are blended in this magnificent restaurant.
At the outskirts of Valencia we find Casa Carmina Restaurant, in the town of El Saler. Right in the birthplace of the recipe, this restaurant is known to bring the customers the authentic and original flavor of paella.
Madrid also counts with lots of restaurants where paella is the star of the show. La Albufera Moraleja is one of the best restaurants in the capital to try paella. located in one of the most exclusive areas of Madrid, this restaurant offers top quality Mediterranean cuisine and, of course, paella has to be a must if you go there.
In Barcelona we find lots of restaurants which offer some of the best paellas in the city. We can find every kind of recipe, from dry to soupy rices, restaurants such as 7 Portes or Can Solé are the most renowned places to taste this delicious meal.
Apart from all the restaurants listed above, there have been famous chefs who have also left their signature and created their recipe for an original paella. Chef Quique Dacosta (3 Michelin stars) is considered an international ambassador for Mediterranean cuisine, and his recipe for paella is much more than creative. It consists on cooking all the ingredients in the same way as the original recipe but but instead of having a loose or a creamy rice, paella becomes a kind of cake which can be taken with your hands. This is what cooking stars are about.
As you can see, a trip to the Mediterranean shore of Spain can be a perfect gourmet experience. In your itinerary through these places, you have to try this meal out. In one way or another, with seafood or chicken, dry or soupy, a proper paella is something that everyone who visits Spain should taste. We hope you like it!