My soul food journal has always included the staple in every Spaniard’s diet: The Paella. It is also the most known dish exported from Spain and now globally known. It is one of those popular dishes that are challenging to prepare unless the exact rice is available. The quest for the ideal rice size, flavor and spices create different culinary trips in any part of the world I try to make it. Known as the “bomba rice” it is critical for any chef to find the perfect paella rice. Add to this treasure hunt the ideal stock and the sufrito which is made of vegetables.
The second critical element for cooking the perfect paella is the “frying pan” that is used for it – which has given the name of the dish as well since the times it used to be cooked on an open fire. Although there are multiple options to cook paella and to mix and match its ingredients, my personal favourite is the seafood paella.
Regardless of the geographies where paella is one of the favourite dishes, one thing remains constant: It is a community-enjoyed dish that is placed in the centre of the table surrounded by family, friends and guests. Every diner digs in front of their own place into the paella feast, taking part of a large meal gathering. This always brings fond memories of our family gatherings around the large paella mea, filled with stories we share about our week, memorable experiences or our next travel destinations.