Just south of the city of Valencia, on the eastern coast of Spain, lies a 52,000 acre freshwater lagoon and estuary known as the l’Albufera, part of the Parc Natural de l’Albufera (Albufera Nature Reserve). The reserve, in addition to being a paradise for migratory birds and a hotspot for local fishing, is the home of an immense rice field that feeds the local gastronomic culture.
Rice Fields at Albufera Nature Reserve, Photo by Julio González
Most native Valencian dishes star rice as the main ingredient; arroz con pato (rice with duck), arroz caldoso (rice stew), arroz negro (black rice with squid and its ink) or arroz con langosta (rice with lobster) and of course…Paella, a dish that originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century near the l’Albufera lake.
Our Chefs recently made this impressive Paella de Mariscos for a party of 40 guests!
It is no surprise then, that the town of Sueca (bordering the south end of the Natural Preserve) hosts the annual Fiesta del Arroz. The main event of the festival is the International Paella Competition, now in its 52nd year, in which the dishes must be cooked with rice grown in the region of La Albufera.
In addition to this year’s traditional competition, the Federación Empresarial de Hostelería de Valencia (Restaurant Industry Federation of Valencia) has announced a new contest known as the Concurso Arròs de Sueca 2.0. “Held on September 11, 2012, one day prior to the paella competition, this new culinary event will challenge chefs to come up with an innovative new recipe for a rice dish, constructed using the same ingredients required for the traditional paella contest. These ingredients are as follows: Arroz PDO Valencia (rice), extra virgin olive oil, rabbit, chicken; ferraura, tavella and garrofó (types of local beans), tomato, saffron threads, pimentón, garlic, salt and water.”
Like the official Concurso Arròs de Sueca 2.0. Facebook page to see the contest results!
This week, each Boqueria location will present a Valencian inspired rice dish in the tradition of the Fiesta del Arroz and the creativity celebrated in the new contest, Concurso Arròs de Sueca 2.0.
Bomba Rice, Roasted Quail, Porcini Mushrooms,
Green Bell Pepper, Garlic, Artichokes
Squid Ink Paella with Bomba Rice,
Squid, Shrimp, Sofrito, Garlic Allioli
Arroz de Butifarra
Bomba Rice, House-made Pork Saucisse,
Cuttlefish, Sofrito, Wild Mushrooms, Salsa Verde