If you have made it here, you probably already know that paella is considered for most Spaniards the national dish of Spain. Imagine how important and popular is this dish, that for many people would be very disrespectful to visit the country and not try an authentic paella. Today, we are going to tell you all about paella, so be ready to become an expert of the most famous dish in the Iberian Peninsula.
Valencia is the home of paella!
There are big discussions when talking about the origin of paella, and we will try to solve them all, but the first thing you need to know is that the real home of Paella is Valencia. Everyone on earth knows that paella is not made as good as it is made in the Valencian Community, so no matter where its origins come from, we have to give the region this trophy.
Now that we have made that clear, it´s important to distinguish which is the authentic paella from Valencia. Although you may be able to find more than 200 types of rice in the whole community, every single person from this area would tell you that the original paella recipe is the one with chicken and not the seafood style.
Where did paella originated?
It´s time to talk about what you all were waiting for: Which is the paella origin country? Well, if you travel all around the world, you will find paellas in Mexico, The Philippines and many other countries, but those are all variations of the original one from Spain.
Although Spain is the country of origin of Paella, the bad news for Spanish people is that they were not the ones who invented it. When the moors were living in Spain more than 1.200 years ago, they introduced their custom of eating rice with vegetables, spices, and other ingredients. Of course, that looked nothing like the paella we eat nowadays, but it was the beginning of a delicious dish.
How did paella originate?
Today we are going step by step, so we all understand everything correctly. Although paella nowadays is a dish that reminds us of a typical vacation in Spain, the truth is that its origins are much humbler than what you could imagine.
The first ones creating this fantastic meal were the farmers many years ago. They used to get together during lunchtime and cook rice with other ingredients they could pick up from the rice fields and its surroundings. Tomatoes, onions, and snails were their most common additions, but sometimes they were also able to use beans, rabbit or ducks. In very unique occasions they could change those ingredients and use chicken and saffron.
Something very especial from those times, is that paella was eaten directly from the pan, and each of the farmers had its own spoon. Maybe that´s the reason why paella is always a very “social” dish and families, and friends get together to eat it.
Then…What about the history of seafood paella?
Okay, got it, local farmers started to mix rice with their leftovers from the field and that´s how chicken paella was created, but…Why is seafood paella so important then? What´s its story?
Well, as you may know, Valencia is located in the coast of Spain, being more concrete in the Balearian sea, and since paella started to become so popular all over the region, of course, they started to try recipes with seafood on it.
Its history is very simple, but people liked it so much that now is by far the most popular type of paella. Later, Valencians started to mix the chicken with the seafood paella and created what is known as “Mixed paella”. By the way…Which is your favorite type?
Where did the name paella come from?
To understand the origin of the name “paella”, first you need to know that in Spain, Spanish or Castilian is not the only language spoken, for example, in Galicia they speak Gallego, in Basque Country people speak Vasco, and in the Valencian Community locals talk in an idiom known as “Valenciano”.
Well, the word “paella” in (old) Valenciano means “pan”, so the translation of paella never referred to the dish, but only to the pan. This changed in 1840 when a writer from a local newspaper used the term paella referring to the recipe.
Other theories say that the word paella, comes from the Arabic word «Baqiyah» which means “leftovers”.
What does paella represent in the present?
As you can imagine, the original ingredients and recipe of paella are very different than what it´s used nowadays, plus, the recipe as it happens with every dish has been perfectionated through the years.
In the present, paella is the national dish of Spain, but it´s not only eaten in this country. It´s one of the most famous dishes internationally and you will be able to have it in many other countries.
Other than that, paella represents the fact of sharing a dish with friends and family and it is eaten during weekends on special occasions.
That´s all about the History of paella in Spain
As you have read, the paella is not only a delicious dish, but it also has an incredible history. It´s a plate that has been famous in Spain for a long time and as many people say, represents the combination of three different cultures: The Roman, the Hispanic and the Arabic.
Hope you have enjoyed reading about the history of Spanish paella, and if you have any other question or suggestion, please let us know.