One of my most memorable food experiences was in Spain. I can still picture all the details of the meal, the golden Spanish light as the sun was setting, the cobbled streets with their amazing graffiti murals and stray cats…everything except for the name of the restaurant.
A few years ago two friends and I were travelling around Spain as part of an extensive European backpacking adventure. As a special treat, one of our mums shouted us an amazing meal to a restaurant of our choosing, and when you’re backpacking for months on end on a tight budget, we knew to choose wisely.
Somewhere up in the hills of Granada we stumbled upon a restaurant where all the locals were eating and decided this was the restaurant of choice for the ultimate authentic paella, away from the tourist spots where the paella looked mushy and dull. We sat down super excited but we were soon devastated to find out that our long desired paella takes 24hours to cook so… ‘Las señoras tristes, pero no esta noche paella’.
We eyed off all the delicious meals surrounding us and decided we would be crazy to eat anywhere else, and it didn’t disappoint. The feast was seriously amazing and tasted every bit like the “real Spain” that we were after. It was so good that after we finished every last morsel on the plates we promptly booked in to eat our paella we had fantasised about for the following night. It was totally worth the wait…and the splurge, it was super tasty, had a perfectly formed crust, smokey paprika punch and amazingly tender and beautifully cooked meat and seafood.
Since returning home from my culinary tour of Europe I’ve made quite a few paellas, but only took on the challenge of the 20 person giant seafood paella for the first time the other day. It was packed with prawns, mussels, squid, chorizo and chicken, and accentuated by the beautiful colour of the saffron and the smokey aroma of the pimentón picante…yum! There was sangria, music, a setting sun over a Bronte courtyard and lots of hungry friends. It was a lot of fun and reminded me of being back in the hills of Granada, sipping (correction, gulping) sangria to survive the dry heat whilst feasting on paella…just because.