Thursday, May 5, 2011
Paella- Valencia, Spain
Paella is a traditional Spanish dish that originated in Valencia, Spain. There are three main types of paella; seafood, mixed, and vegetable. The seafood paella is made with clams, mussles, fish, and shrimp mixed with rice. The mixed paella is a combination of chicken and seafood with rice. And finally, the vegetable is a mix of local vegetables and rice. The paella is prepared in what is called a paellera over an open flame, usually of pine and orange tree wood. The specific wood type is said to infuse flavors into the paella as it cooks.
So, while we were in Valencia we had to have paella. Along the beach of Valencia is said to be where paella was first made and the oldest restaurants serving paella can be found there. We decided to dine at La Pepica because it came highly recommended in many travel guides. When we arrived around 2:00 for lunch the place was packed, but after about 20 minutes we were seated on the back patio with the beach for our view. We ordered the mixed paella along with some refreshing sangria for our meal. The paella takes about 30 minutes to cook and must be ordered for two or more people. It was worth the wait! I had paella in two other cities while we were in Spain, but neither compared to La Pepica's paella. Everything was so fresh and the flavor was simple, yet not bland at all. We were very happy with our choice.