From Humble Beginnings: The Origins of Paella

Paella is one of the most popularly recognised dishes globally. However, what it contains differs from chef to chef! With each believing their recipe is the most authentic, creating the best paella in the world.

Here at Paellas Ole, we are two friends who wanted to bring a taste of España to London! Our paellas range from traditional flavour combinations to our all-time favourites. Keep reading to find out more about Spain's signature dish!

So, What is Paella?

Paella originated along the southeast coast of Spain in the bustling city of Valencia. Now the third-largest Spanish city, Valencia has one of the largest ports in the Mediterranean. And, is most extensive rice-producing areas in Spain to match.

The 'traditional' paella is very humble and was typically eaten by farmers. Cooked by the workers over a wood fire for lunch, farmers ate paella straight from the pan with wooden spoons, inspiring the sharing aspect of paella today.
At this time, the farmers would use rice and whatever other ingredients they had around them; for example, tomatoes, onions and even snails! Whatever they could find to pack it full of flavour. Only on special occasions would they maybe use chicken and other spices as extra flavour and colours.

As Valencian rice became more available throughout Spain and Valencia being so close to the coast, more and more seafood ingredients established themselves in the dish, making paella the type of dish we recognise today. Check out our incredible flavour combinations here.

From Humble Beginnings: The Origins of Paella

What's in a name?

Paella became the umbrella term for over 200 rice dishes, and to this day, a traditional Valencian paella contains no fish! Thus, the name paella or 'la paella' originates not from the food but from the type of dish itself.

There is, however, a more romantic belief that the word paella originated from the Spanish words 'para ella', meaning 'for her' in Spanish. People believe paella was a dish cooked by a lover for his fiance as a gift! Like all stories, there is an element of truth as paella is a dish traditionally cooked by men - sort of like in the UK when men insist on cooking on the BBQ!

From Humble Beginnings: The Origins of Paella

Paella is the life of the party.

Paella is still served in Spain and is a typical dish at fiestas and other social events. Families congregate on mass to gather around the paella, making it the most sociable of foods and perfect at bringing together families and friends.

With everyone claiming to make the world's best paella, it's no surprise that debates open up at family gatherings about who can make it best. Paella sparks up a healthy competition in everyone, with people competing all over Spain on the hunt for the best paella!

Now don't feel you need to book the next flight to Valencia to satiate your paella craving; order your paella from us directly, and we'll have it delivered to your home, and you can judge whether our paella is the best in London! Paellas Ole is also available on UberEats and Deliveroo.

- Jorge & Javi