Paella cooking schoolApril 1, 2019 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 13 °C
Valencia is the birthplace of paella and therefore the best place to learn how to produce this quintessential Spanish dish.
We signed up to a course at the Escuela de Arroces y Paella Valenciana (Valencia School of Rice & Paella) and had a fabulous and fun time learning the tricks of the trade.
First off was a trip to the central market to buy the ingredients. Constructed in 1928, the covered market was a foodies delight with over 500 stalls. Valencia is surrounded by huertas, market gardens, which provide the market with the freshest fruit and vegetables. Our guide talked us through the process of choosing the correct paprika (smoked for a Valencian paella which is chicken, rabbit and mountain snails and sweet for a seafood paella). We stopped off to buy 2kg of small rock fish that would be used to make a rich fish stock and smelt the rich aroma of the pure saffron which, at €4500/kilo, we were careful not to drop.
Back in the kitchen, appropriately attired in our chefs hats and aprons, we listened as our professional, top for the day, Pepe, as he explained and demonstrated each step of the dish. Most students were making the traditional Valencian paella but one had chosen to do the seafood version so we had the chance to learn about both. Tip - a Valencian paella would never mix mountain and sea, so it's either meat or seafood. You would never add chorizo either! Nothing was weighed or measured but Pepe shared his tips on how much oil, water and rice to add to the pan.
After all our hard work, we then sat down with our fellow students to enjoy the results of our labour, which was served with a tortilla starter that the kitchen had prepared for us and delicious wines.
We had a great time with fellow students from across Europe, and would recommended this to anyone who has an interest in cooking. We look forward to putting this new experience into practice and are now on the hunt for a small, paella dish!Read more