Paëlla – the real thing?
Did you know that most of us probably haven’t been eating ‘real’ pukka paella on our Spanish sorties?
Researchers from the University of Valencia, home of the famous dish, have published the results of a study in the International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science. The real paella has no chorizo – and no seafood! In fact, the official paella is made with just 10 essential ingredients: rice, water, olive oil, salt, saffron, tomato, flat beans, arrofón (beans from Valencia), chicken and rabbit.
Valencia is the undisputed home of paella, and in fact, the word itself comes from old Valencian meaning frying pan.
It was originally cooked over a wood fire by farmers and labourers in the fields, using rice and anything else that was available, such as snails, rabbit or anything they could catch. The dish was traditionally eaten straight from the wide, shallow pan, each worker using his or her own wooden spoon.
As the dish spread beyond the fields, and along the coasts, fresh seafood was added, and today there are many different versions of this versatile Spanish dish – mostly created with little ressemblance to its humble origins.