Everybody who has visited Valencia in Spain must have heard of the famous Paella a la Valenciana. But most people don't know where the paella originates from or what it means.
Firstly, paella is not exactly the dish but the typical plate is cooked in. We all have seen the spanish paella pan before when visiting. The typical paella a la valenciana was "invented" in a small village called El Perelló close to the city of Valencia . The unique situation of the village between a natural lake with sweet water and the sea provided to the habitants of the area all they needed to make a complete dish with many of the most important vitamins and minerals in a balanced combination.
With farmlands at hand where they grew rice and beans, the sea for shellfish and the lake for ducks together with their chickens gave the people of the area all they needed to make 2 different versions of the paella a la valenciana.
The first one is the paella made of meat. This paella is a combination of chicken and duck together with rice, lemon, olive oil, beans and saffron. But nowadays the duck is most of the times substituted by rabbit which is a lot easier to get and cheaper.
This type of paella is still very popular amongst the people of Valencia and it is very common to hear people say: "Sunday I am going to eat paella with my parents".
In past times the paella was served in the paella pan and all who joined in at the table ate from the same pan with wooden spoons. Today most people prefer to have their portion on a plate.
Typical paella was the one made of seafood, Paella de marisco. This paella is made of rice and seafood. The used ingredients are: sepia, calamares, lobster, mejillón o clotxina, garlic, lemon, rice, saffron, olive oil and beans (octopus, squid and mussel) Clotxina is a smaller variation of the regular mussel