Paella in Valencia
During a tour of Castellon which is a province in the Valencian region, I visited a farm Del Mas Doblons that has been turned into a museum to explain the traditional workings of a farm to tourists. Before we arrived at the farm we went to Mercat Central a local market to pick the ingredients that would be used to make Paella. The market has lots of fresh fruit, meats and fish. I love walking around local markets to see what produce is on offer.
We were introduced to the farmer who now runs the museum and he explained the process of growing oranges and it isn’t as easy as I thought. If the orange tree is producing bitter oranges they do a graft of a sweet orange tree by taking a section of the bark away and tying it to the bitter tree. At least that’s what I think he was trying to say but because it was all in Spanish I could be totally wrong. He gave us orange and lemon leaves to smell and they were so citrusy smelling I really wasn’t expecting that in a leaf. We then got to try some marmalade and orange wine.
After walking around the orange groves we then went inside the museum and was shown the machinery that would have been used many years ago to press the oranges and even a stone mechanism that was used to press the olives to make the olive oil. We got to sample a glass of orange juice and it was so refreshing although it did have bits in and I am more of a smooth kind of girl.
The museum is available for hire for functions such as wedding and they have a number of horse carts that they hire out for events. They demonstrated how they used horses in the olden days.
The staff here are all so enthusiastic and even though there was the language barrier and many of them didn’t speak too much English they had so much passion for this venture that it was a pleasure to be part of it. There were two woman dressed in traditional clothes that were serving the canapés whilst we were waiting for the paella to cook.
Part of the experience is to get involved in cooking a traditional paella and to learn how to make the best Paella. When I think of Spain the first food I think of is Paella and its not in a positive light as I have never really liked it. However I did like putting on the chef hat as you cant beat a bit of dressing up.
As I am not a big seafood or rice fan I tend to avoid Spanish Paella as I haven’t really had any nice ones. The rice is normally stodgy and the seafood is overcooked and chewy. However, with this traditional Paella in Valencia that dates back to the 8th Century, I was pleasantly surprised. It might be due to watching it being cooked with fresh ingredients, or that no seafood was involved or the simple fact that I got to stir it and even got a certificate to say I can now cook Paella. Whatever the reason this paella dish was simple but delicious. I still couldn’t eat a lot of it but that could also be due to us being fed with lots of canapés, pieces of bread and salads whilst we were waiting for the paella to cook.
Paella is pronounced “pah-éh-yah” the name actually refers to the large cast iron pan that the Paella is prepared in.
Here is the recipe for the Paella they made in Castellon, it is an easy paella recipe that is going to deliver on flavours. Our chef explained that it is very important the order that you add the ingredients to get the best-tasting paella.
I dont know the exact measurements as this Paella dish was made for at least 20 people. The chef said it is tradition to have 2 pieces of chicken, rabbit and pork each.
- Pork ribs
- Green beans
- Red peppers
- Butter beans
Heat oil and salt and cook the meat with high heat until very brown
Add green beans, peppers, tomatoes, butter beans and saffron
Add water to cover all meat and veg
Simmer for 20 minutes
Add rice cook for further 20 minutes
Rest for about 10 minutes to give the rice change to absorb some more of the liquid
We went into the restaurants and tried some local cheeses and meats, salad and wine whilst we were waiting for the Paella to cook.
I loved the décor here it had quirky added extras. To get to the bathroom you had to walk over a glass plate in the floor that had bones underneath I hope they were not human bones. And I loved the statue of a man actually sat on a toilet which you could see whilst eating you dinner but I found it really funny. Also in the ladies bathroom they had feminine hygiene products that you could use free of charge little things like this make the place so welcoming.
We finished off our meal with flaming Cremaet which was rum, cognac and coffee set alight to burn away the alcohol.
If you would like to visit Del Mas Doblons you can contact them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or look at their website. Unfortunately it is in Spanish but if you email them they should be able to book it or there is a tour company called Reserstours.com that is working with the farm and they have English speakers who will be able to organise it all for you. I think they are trying to cater more for group tours but if you are interested in learning how to cook Paella there are also a lot more options on Viator.
Or if you don’t want to cook it you can visit one of the Best restaurants for paella in Valencia.
And you can even experience the taste of Paella when you get home with the recipe I have included above and these items
Do you have any recipes for original Paella or have you had really tasty one on your travels then get in contact as I would love to know more.
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