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Origins of: Paella

Flavour origin: Spain

Paella is a dish that has crossed borders and can be found anywhere in the world. Prepared with greater or lesser fortune, its various interpretations will differ greatly from those that Alicantinos, Castellonenses, and Valencians consider genuine.

Paella has a humble origin in the cradle of rice, Valencia, next to Albufera, from there to become the emblem of Spanish cuisine or a myth at the international level multiple circumstances concur. Dates that give clues, of how little by little a homemade meal is positioned at the highest level, arousing admiration and interest until it reaches the kitchens of European royalty.

Seafood paella

Paella emerged in the rural areas of Valencia between the 15th and 16th centuries, due to the need of peasants and shepherds for an easy meal to prepare and with the ingredients they had on hand in the field. They always would eat it in the afternoon.

It is not known if seafood paella was born at the same time as paella in the country, but by the sea, there are different ingredients that allowed this tasty alternative to develop.

In its origins the ingredients of the paella were, birds, the field rabbit or hare, the fresh vegetables that were available, rice, saffron, and olive oil that were mixed in the paella with the water and cooked slowly on a fire made with firewood from orange tree branches, which at the same time give flavor and a characteristic smell.

Seafood paella. Spanish food

The word "Paella"

There are a host of theories as to where the word originated. The first theory is that paella comes from Latin. Also, they believe that 'paella' comes from the Arabic word 'baqiyah'. It is possible that 'paella' is an Arabic word because rice was brought to Spain by the Moors in the 8th century (The Moors were how the people of North Africa were known).

Another theory is much more romantic. They say that there is a legend in which a man prepared paella for his girlfriend to win her love. In Spanish, 'paella' can be a derivation of the phrase "para ella" (For her).

Although this may just be a nice story, there is some truth to this theory. In Spain, cooking is generally a woman's job. However, paella is traditionally a men's thing.

There is no recipe that unifies the great variety of possibilities of this dish. We encourage you to experiment and tell us your recipe or recipes you have made, and which ingredients you used; tag us on Instagram @clocfood.

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