Albufera is a recent variety of Valencian rice grains obtained from prestigious varieties Senia and Bomba.
The absorbance of the different flavors and aromas of the different ingredients characterize this variety of rice grains. This rice grain represents and good resistance to be overcooked; meaning that it makes it difficult to damage the grain on the pan by applying too much heat. Once cooked, the grains present a cream-like texture with no meaning of hardening, being firm and loose.
For all these reasons, Albufera is a variety of rice grains specially indicated for the preparation of the different recipes of the Mediterranean such as the paella, cooked rices and stews. All this being a reference to the Valencian kitchen.
THE AUTHENTIC VALENCIAN PAELLA:
The first recipe of the Valencian paella, known at the moment as Valencian rice, is written in the 18th century manuscript. At the end of the 18th century, it became known in all of the Spanish territory.
The name “Paella” was given to the plate due to the pan it is cooked in. The Valencian name of this pan is “Paella” which is originated from “Patella” in Latin. This Valencian Rice or Paella is originated from the marsh of the Valencian Albufera. The first paella plates were elaborated with ingredients picked from the marsh. Eels, green beans and snails were one of the first ingredients. Once the recipe became popular, each region adjusted to their own ingredients and substituted some with rabbit meat and chicken. Occasionally, certain regions would add duck meat to the recipe due to the lack of the original ingredients. The Valencian paella as it’s known today, the main ingredients are rabbit and chicken. The grain used for the paella is cultivated in the Valencian province in large rice fields, such as the bomba rice, most used in the paella recipes.
Paellas started expanding in all of the Spanish territory in which you may find different recipes of the paella. The most-known paella recipes are the Valencian and the mixed recipe (seafood and red meat). There are other recipes, which include eggplant, cauliflower and other ingredients.
Traditionally, paellas are cooked over firewood. The most used wood is pine tree wood. Since the elaboration of the Valencian paella it entails lots of preparation, it is known as a plate to cook on festive days or weekends with family and friends. Almost in disuse, the authentic tradition is to eat straight from the pan using a wood spoon. At the beginning of the 20th century, the paella expanded in the world and it is known today as the Spanish national plate.