Tomorrow, March 27, is Spanish Paella Day.
First things first; it’s not Pah-Yelluh. More like Pie-ay-ya. A bit difficult to pronounce, but well worth it if you have an opportunity to taste it. Traditionally from Valencia, located on the eastern coast of Spain, this dish has come to be known around the world as the national dish of Spain. (Spaniards disagree, however, and associate it specifically with Valencia.)
Prior to living in Spain, I had only briefly heard of paella and therefore was eager to try it when I visited Valencia. I knew it was a rice dish, but I didn’t know much else. Imagine my surprise when the entire paellera (paella pan) was brought to the table with a variety of different meats on top. The Valencian paella has rabbit, chicken and duck, whereas the seafood paella uses seafood, served in the shell. The mixed paella is just what it sounds like, a mixture of both meat and seafood. Delightful!
At mass gatherings in Valencia, it is customary to prepare enormous amounts of paella, so much so that the world’s largest paella was made by Juan Galbis in 2002 and fed a whopping 110,000 people –– a feat that is lauded in the Guinness Book Of World Records.
¡Viva Paella! ¡Viva España!