Paella originates from the Mediterranean region of Valencia in Spain. Paella derives from the Latin word 'patella' meaning pan.
The traditional way of cooking paella is over a wood fire, which was then eaten straight from the pan with each person using his own wooden spoon.
An authentic Paella Valenciana has no seafood but a mixture of chicken, rabbit and sometimes snails with green and white beans .
Valencians consider the unfortunately popular Paella Mixta (mixed paella), involving both meat and seafood, as a cultural abomination created for tourists.
Being Valencia a coastal region, there are multiple variations of seafood paella. One of our favourites is l’Arròs del Senyoret (Gentleman's rice) where all seafood is peeled in advance for easier ingestion.
The following list of ingredients, some of which have been unfortunately misused by esteemed celebrity chefs including Jamie Oliver and Bobby Flay, are absolutely forbidden in Paella Valenciana: chorizo, onions, green peas, white wine, seafood, beef, sausages, basmati or arborio rice, and olives.
Amalgamations of this nature, albeit legit and potentially yummy, should be correctly termed as ‘rice with things’ - not only to avoid distress but also as a matter of respect for the cultural idiosyncrasy of the Valencians.
There are many paella competitions all over Spain and very often a giant paella is the centrepiece for many fiestas.
For more information,please refer to Wikipaella to learn more about their mission to save this commendable rice dish from being lost in translation: http://wikipaella.org/