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The best Valencian paella in Sueca

The 59th Swedish International Valencian Paella Contest, counted for adults

Last Sunday, the fifty-ninth International Paella Valenciana Contest in Sueca , a rice town, among many other things, near the Albufera lake, was held.

We have already talked about the origin of the paella of the ingredients, which provides the organization of the contest so that everyone leaves without any advantage.

Take note because they are basically the recipe for the regulatory Swedish paella from Valencia : rice, from Swedish of course, chicken, rabbit, snails, carafe, caramel beans and green beans (bajocas, the same name that they are given in Murcia but not in Alcoy where they call the pepper that way), extra virgin olive oil, a clove of garlic, a ripe tomato, salt, rosemary (optional), paprika and saffron.

The paprika and saffron were offered by Carmencita, from Novelda, who suggested to me, given the impossibility of showing up, to represent them this time as a collaborating entity and friend.

If they do not use these ingredients and nothing more than these, we are playing in another league that has not addressed the interest that Valencian entities have in that the name of Valencian paella does not alter a recipe that in other places is done by adding elements that although they are always added by the different tastes with good judgment (such as artichoke, pepper etc …) across the seas it becomes an absurd confusion that undermines the essence of the dish.

Come on, that is not bad, but it is not right, because paella wants to maintain its dignity within the world of gastronomy and you see every thing that is called paella that seafood fabric.

It is not the first time that I attend an event organized by its coordinator, Jesús Melero, who invited me to the paella held at the Congress of Deputies in Madrid a year ago, of which I have excellent memories and photos with Joan Baldoví, Rosana Pastor and Toni Cantó.

The grace of this long-running contest is that the paellas have to get away from the restaurant’s stove and make firewood, in the traditional way.

Well, prestigious chefs from all over the world were smoking on firewood, competing for their restaurant to enter with gold letters on the list of winners, with the good publicity that this reports, in addition to tasty cash prizes that reach 2,550 euros and a highly persecuted supporting parchment.

The novelties of this edition: more participation of the Swedish citizenry in the Contest with the raffle of tickets for the room where the paellas are invited to eat; the increase in the number of prizes, which are now also awarded to the best international paella.

From the Valencian Community, after the previous heats, the restaurants: La Granja, Sequial 20, Can Roig, El Llibrell, El Puerto, Nou Racó, Goya Gallery, Rossinyol, Avenida 2.0, K-Anròs, Evenser Restauración, Les Roques were presented , Ca Ladio, Cap i Casal, El Racó, La Visteta, Catering La Despensa, Plaça Gastro Mercat, Ausiàs 47, La Coloratta, Casa Riquelme and Arroces y Brasas Bonanza . I couldn’t tell which one I like the most. (More than anything to congratulate myself with those who still do not have the pleasure to meet and want to try.

Paellas from all over the peninsula and its islands

From the rest of Spain came: El Muelle del Barrio Pesquero de Santander, Grupo Xàtiva de Barcelona, ​​Los arroces de Guillermo de Ciudad Real, Casa Pepe Sanchis de Córdoba, El Bandolero de Córdoba (with whose cook I coincided during a recording of Un País Para Comérselo when we were appointed to Imanol, Echanove and my members of the Cofradía del Salmorejo ), Sa Paella Club of Ibiza, ASCAIB of the Balearic Islands and the winning restaurant, Restaurante Fuente Cerrada de Teruel, on the Burgos-Sagunto road, run by David Domingo and Mary Santos.

International presence

Regarding international participation, chefs from Tasmania, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Washington, France, Narbonne, and Italy appeared. The jury was made up of professionals and multidisciplinaries, including Tourism officials, hotel associates, bloggers and even the Consul General of Japan or the ambassador of paella in Peru.

Paelleros of Honor

Those who work to popularize our recipe internationally were named “Paelleros of Honor” .

They will be distinguished with this title: Misericordia Bello Fabián, president of the Regulating Council of the Denomination of Origin Vinos del Bierzo, and Daniel Claver, designer and creator of the monument to Paella and the Valencian chef settled in Costa Rica, Vicente Aguilar, who attended with his cousin, although they look like brothers.

The atmosphere, how could it be otherwise, between the soft drinks, the water and the beers given to the visitors, very jovial. The international atmosphere is very popular in this traditional celebration and the exoticism that made Solomon fall at the feet of the Queen of Sheba causes friendships here, curiosity between cultures and customs, and always a lot of good humor.

There were even those who joined the local folklore wearing the typical costume to play the dolçaina and tabalet, a fashion that attracts the Japanese to Algemesí.

There is no way to attract attention so that the images of the day remain engraved in the memory of the visitors, the curious and the jury. The Mexican cook from Pachuca de Soto, Hidalgo, put his eagle flag on the cactus and wore a black kitchen glove to avoid burning his hand. There must be some story behind this.

The French of Narbonne were more discreet and always elegant with their tricolor around their necks and their black uniforms.

Some forecasters, fearing not to find some modern comforts in our country, brought their own plastic “film” just in case.

There were even flags with signatures of support from all of Shizuoka’s friends, as in sports competitions. The secret of the Orientals: time and rhythm well measured to the letter. Here we clearly transcribe their method.

The curious drop their always welcome comments on each paella: “It lacks water”; “Too much fire”; “It has almost no chicken”; “I like it with more vegetables”; “This is Conchita’s cousin.” Spain in its purest state, always alive and participative.

The awards ceremony takes place after the food offered in the Cancela Salons: before eating all the paellas cooked in the contest, raffled by the table, some snacks: watermelon from the garden in tomato osmosis, meatballs with samfaina, vegetables from Mareny with Parmesan, Iberian skewer and València water so that the rice gets better.

Among various soft drinks, cocktails and other gastronomic products, the “portrait-paella” was offered, where you can eat your favorite person briefly immortalized in the rice.

And finally, the moment awaited by all diners arrives. The first prizes. The authorities: the deputy of Tourism Jordi Mayor, as well as the councilor delegate of paellas Manoli Egea and the mayor of Sueca Dimas Vázquez.

The Swedish Holidays’ court of honor presented the prizes to each winning contestant. Note that Carmencita gave away her famous and practical batch of spices.

And finally, the first prize of all the prizes, won by the most attractive and sexy chef in Teruel, David Domingo , who was accompanied and helped by the no less charming Mary Santos .

Award that will shine in a prominent place in your restaurant and that will make you, surely these days already, more paellas than ever so that your customers can enjoy their culinary skills.

Be careful, Teruel has much more than good cooks, and although they are few, they have a lot of knowledge and a left hand. And don’t forget the other winners. Second prize: GOYA Gallery Restaurant ; Third prize: El Raco de Meliana and local prize from Sueca to Sequial 20 .

What remains after all the hustle and bustle of this celebration? Many photos on social networks, new friends, pleasure, product placement at will, the dignity of a dish made with patience, affection and respect for traditions, and the hope of being able to win in next year’s edition.

The embers of the firewood, what was left to collect, the gifts, what seemed essential at the time, but it was not.

This and much more is what gives a recipe and a universal word. And very soon, the celebration of Paella Day , Paella Day , on September 22, 2019 . We are waiting for you there!

Tonino Guitián – Spanish comedian and stage director. He combines his acting career with that of journalist, radio writer and writer. And above all advocate of a good paella … but also of a Galician stew.

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