Paella or rice: ¿What do we eat in Alicante?

paella con caracoles

If you are not from Alicante, and you come to visit us, you will discover that rice and gastronomy in particular is a matter of great importance in this area. Surely you will find it curious that in the capital of the Costa Blanca and the whole province, the Paella is not called as such. Here we simply say ‘Rice’. Indeed, the differences between the Valencian paella and the rice from Alicante have been the subject of debate and study for many years. “But they are the same!”, You must think. Well, no. There are differences between the two versions, although the basis is the same: traditional cuisine, history, culture and a spectacular flavor.

In order to differentiate a Valencian paella from a rice meal, you only have to observe the color. In the paella predominate the vegetables (like the famous ‘garrofone’s and the green beans), along with the meat or the fish. That is why you will see that this version has a more yellowish color. But in Alicante, our rice is more reddish. And this because of an ingredient that makes it different: the “Salmorreta”. And what is this? It is a ‘picada’, a mix of ñora (dry pepper), garlic, parsley and tomato. It is what gives the rice that special color and flavor.

 This is the main difference between the fantastic paella of our Valencian neighbors and the rice that predominates from north to south in Alicante. The vessel for its cooking is the same: the paellera. When you come to Alicante, you can ask for the rice served on a plate, but we recommend you the experience of eating directly from the vessel. It will be served in the middle of the table so that all the diners share it and enjoy it together. This is how the people from Valencia and Alicante eat it.

The most important thing about paella and rice is the ‘fumet’, the soup made from fish, vegetables or meat that will be the basis of cooking and what will give the final taste to the meal. Without a good fumet, the paella will be just ‘rice with stuff’ and not an authentic dish.

Infinite varieties of paella and arroz

The varieties of rice and paella that you can eat are many, and depending on the area that you visit, they will be more common the ones with fish or meat. One you can not miss is the paella with rabbit and snails, sometimes also added chicken. It is a typical delight of the mountain area of Alicante and L’Horta of Valencia.

In the north of the Costa Blanca, you can taste rice of cod, tuna, octopus and anchovies. The coastal towns have a gastronomic culture with a lot of fish, so the best seafood rice dishes can only be found there. Further south of the capital, you can not miss, for example, the rice with crust that is cooked in Elche, or the one with vegetables and meat from the area of Alicante.

Whatever your choice, during your visit to Alicante do not forget to try a good paella or rice, call it whatever you want. They say that the best rice in the world is made precisely on this land. In Be Alicante, of course, we think so. Stay tuned to our Blog because soon we will tell you the best rice you can eat in every point of the province of Alicante.

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