A glass of sangria in hand and the wafting aroma of smoky rice in the air – nothing screams summer like a sun-drenched paella party.
Outdoor paella season is upon us. This is paella in its natural element: al aire fresco and saturated in sunshine. Whether you have a sandy beach at your disposal, a flagstone patio surrounded by cascading jasmine blossoms, or just the confines of an apartment balcony, paella parties of all shapes and sizes are a delicious way to relish the long midsummer days. And no matter the venue, paella is an inherently festive dish. Prepared in that distinctive wide pan or paellera over wood, charcoal, or gas, the spectacle of paella making is almost as alluring as those tender forkfuls of flavor-packed rice.
Paella is adaptable and can be made to suit myriad tastes—chicken, shrimp, chorizo, artichokes, piquillo peppers—the list of possible ingredients is limited only by the chef’s imagination (despite what the occasional punctilious Spaniard may say). Yet no matter which flashy proteins you may use to garnish your paella, there are only two elements that separate a mediocre result from a delectable one: the broth and the rice.
The broth should be the highest quality you can muster. It makes all the difference. Our choice hands-down is Aneto’s line of pure, home-style broths and paella bases that taste like they were made by the worlds most sought-after grandmother – plump, bespectacled, and clad in a cheery floral apron. This broth is absolute gold is our book, and arguably better than what you could make at home. The secret is their ingredients; free-range bone-in chicken and the freshest seafood, vegetables and sea salt. Divine stuff!
The rice should be authentic paella rice, which includes several varieties of short-grain rice unique to eastern Spain that absorb loads of flavor without becoming starchy. Introduced to Spain during the Moorish period (711-1492), rice became firmly embedded in Spanish gastronomy and its cultivation and consumption remain an important part of the Spanish culture and economy today.
Matiz Paella Rice is grown in La Albúfera Nature Reserve in Valencia. This area comprises a large freshwater lake nestled against the Mediterranean Sea. It is an important wetland, providing habitat to many aquatic birds and other species. As a protected area the reserve helps maintain the ecology of this delicate environment while also preserving traditional economic activities such as the cultivation of these heritage rice varieties.
Matiz offers two paella rice varieties: Traditional and Bomba. Traditional paella rice is composed of a collection of varietals known as Bahia-Senia which are actually descendants of Japanese rice varietals. A short-grained round rice that is pearly in color, it doubles in size during cooking and absorbs loads of delicious flavor from the broth, saffron, pimentón, and other ingredients. Bomba is known as the “king of rice” and has been cultivated in the region since the Middle Ages. It absorbs one-third more liquid—and therefore flavor—than traditional rice resulting in superb paella. Bomba is also tolerant to overcooking and maintains its “al dente” texture. Our rice is packaged in beautiful cloth sacks, which help the rice “breath” and maintain its superior quality.
Traditional or Bomba, Matiz rice is the essential ingredient for the perfect paella. Bursting with flavor, these diminutive grains from Valencia encapsulate a rich agricultural tradition and culinary legacy.
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