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Sunday, 11 February 2018

¿ARROZ OR PAELLA ? THE BEST TRADITIONAL SPANISH GASTRONOMY.


In Alicante province, gastronomy is a matter of great importance, and rice is one of the main basis. In many places is called Paella, but here we simply say “Arroz” (Rice). Although for many people are the same, there are differences between both, but always with traditional cuisine and a spectacular flavor.

Arroz con verduras (arroz with vegetables)
Arroz con verduras (arroz with vegetables)

In order to differentiate a Valencian paella from Arroz meal, the main difference is the color. In the paella predominate the vegetables, like the garrofone’s beans and the green beans, along with the meat or the fish, and the color has a more yellowish color. But in Alicante, our rice use to be more reddish, due to a mix of “├▒ora” (dry pepper), garlic, and tomato. Nevertheless, the name is not important to enjoy the meal, because there are not fixed rules but as many recipes as cooks.

When you come to Alicante, you can ask for the “Arroz” served on a plate, but I recommend you the experience of eating directly from the vessel (called “paellero” or also “paella”). It will be served in the middle of the table so that all the people share it and enjoy it together. We eat it many times in this way.


Arroz con marisco (arroz with seafood)
Arroz con marisco (arroz with seafood)

The most important thing about paella or arroz recipe is the broth or soup made from fish, vegetables and/or meat that will be the basis of cooking. It´s the responsable to give the final taste to the meal. Without a well prepared broth, the paella or arroz will not be good. And the right proportion between broth and rice is critical to achieve a perfect arroz, neither hard nor soft.  Other key question is that it must be eated just some minutes after cooking to get all their qualities. So, it is best to avoid restaurants where paella or arroz is cooked in large quantities and is served along the day.

Some restaurants use industrial ready made arroz/paella, and they only heat it in the microwave oven. How to know it? Taking into account that arroz/paella coocking needs around 25 minutes. If you get it in less time after ordering it, it will be a ready made one, or cooked previously.

Arroz con bogavante (arroz with lobster)
Arroz con bogavante (arroz with lobster)
The varieties of Arroz or Paella that you can eat are almost infinite, and are more common the ones with fish or meat. Also are veggies options. One you can not miss is the typical delight arroz with rabbit and snails, sometimes also added chicken. With seafood the most famous is “arroz a banda” (usually accompanied with alioli or garlic mayonnaise), but you can taste also rice of cod, tuna, octopus and anchovies. Also are usual praws, clams and mussles. Some types of arroz are creamy, as the delicious “arroz con bogavante (lobster)”. You also can not miss Arroz con Costra, in clay pot with sausages and beaten eggs, that is cooked in Elche.

Arroz con Costra
Arroz con Costra
Whatever your choice, do not forget to try a good arroz or paella, call it whatever you want. The best rice in the world is made precisely on this land.


Arroz negro (arroz with squid ink and seafood)

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