the year of LIVING UNOFFICIALLY

365 days of celebration

27
March

National Spanish Paella Day

Posted by Brittany

National Spanish Paella DayPaella is a hot rice dish that was developed in Valencia, Spain during the 1800′s. Traditionally, the meal is made with white rice, green vegetables, meat (usually rabbit, chicken, or duck), land snails, beans, saffron, and olive oil. It is cooked over an open flame fueled by pine cones and pine and orange branches, with a bottom layer of toasted rice, then served in then pan in which it was cooked. In fact, the name “paella” actually derives from an Old French word for “pan”.

Paella quickly became popular and spread across several continents, with many variations developing. Today there are three main types of paella — Valencian paella, seafood paella, and mixed paella — and it remains as popular as ever. The dish is a favorite for competitions, with many chefs creating gargantuan paellas at large gatherings, hoping to out-do the current record for the largest paella credited in the Guinness Book of World Records. The current record holder is Chef Juan Galbis. On October 2, 2001 he created a paella that fed approximately 110,000 people!

To celebrate National Spanish Paella Day Chris and I visited our favorite Mexican restaurant, Pancho Villa. This restaurant will always hold a special place in our hearts — we love Pancho Villa so much that we actually chose the Stafford location to host our rehearsal dinner the night before our wedding. And though we usually stick to our favorite dishes, we were more than happy to try something new when we found out that their menu boasted a Mexican Paella consisting of chicken, pork, shrimp, mussels, and clams (though I have to admit that we requested they hold the mussels and clams). When the piping hot pan arrived at our table my nostrils were instantly filled with the aroma of shrimp and saffron. With my first bite I instantly knew this dish belonged on our “favorites” list. I think Chris was speaking for both of us when he said “I’m definitely ordering this again!” The only drawback was the price — at $21.95 a plate I’m glad the meal was large enough for two!

Between the paella and our next “unofficial” I think it’s time for us to hit the gym. Tomorrow is National Black Forest Cake Day!

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