Visiting Spain without trying at least one paella is like going to Italy without eating pasta or holidaying in England without dining on fish ’n’ chips. Particularly if you visit the Costa Blanca in the Valencia Region – where paella was born.
The word "paella" does not actually refer to the dish itself, but to the pan in which it is made and served. Over the years, however, the name has been synonymous with the dish as a whole. It is said that paella was originally created in the small town of Perelló, close to the city of Valencia. The special location of the town, between freshwater lakes and the salty sea provided the locals with everything they needed. The main ingredient – rice – is plentiful in the area, which is actually one of the largest rice-growing regions in the world outside South-East Asia!
If you holiday or live on the Costa Blanca, you will soon recognise the pride that the local population takes in its regional speciality. It is available at restaurants everywhere, and apart from the classic seafood version – paella de marisco – there are around 30 other flavours to choose from. In other words, there is no risk of you tiring of it! However, if you would like to try something else for a while, all kinds of other culinary delights await you.
For wine connoisseurs
All the major cities on the Costa Blanca – Alicante, Benidorm and Torrevieja – have very popular restaurant sections where you can enjoy delights from the sea or meat-based specialities from farther inland. The region is also famous for producing a variety of simple and popular wines. If you set your sights a little higher, we recommend the Utiel-Requena Region, which is a few miles in from the coast. Real wine connoisseurs can go on special guided wine trips through this region.