PAELLA: cultural heritage

Paella has been declared “a property of cultural importance”, or cultural heritage, by the Spanish regional government of Valencia, where the dish originates, a status that offers special legal protection. A new decree published in the Official Regional Gazette of the Mediterranean describes paella as “the art of uniting and sharing”. According to the statement, paella is at the heart of Valencia’s gastronomic tradition and has become one of Spain’s “most prestigious global brands”.

Paella is not just a dish. The preparation and the ‘art’ involved in the preparation and tasting make it a real social phenomenon.

Government Decree of Valencia

As part of the recognition, it has been officially established that the paella’s origins lie in the wetlands of La Albufera, “where the dish was cooked to support the farmers in the area.” At the end of the 19th century, Valencian paella was exported from the farms to the eateries and picnic areas around Malvarrosa Beach, the Grao district of Castellón and the Albufereta district of Alicante.

“At the heart of traditional Valencian cuisine, this emblematic dish undoubtedly stands for togetherness and is a fundamental cornerstone of the gastronomy of the Valencian Community… Paella is not just a dish. The preparation and the ‘art’ involved in the preparation, and the tasting make it a real social phenomenon. In addition, paella is even part of the landscape and ecosystem of the Valencia region thanks to the cultivation and harvesting of the rice from which it is made.”

The decree was approved on October 29 at the request of the Valencia City Council. The paella has not only been declared an asset of cultural importance, but is now protected by a series of additional measures, enabling further research and documentation work to ensure that the valuable knowledge surrounding paella is passed on to future generations.

Paella

By the way, did you know that the name comes from “para ella”, which literally means for her. “Para ella” is one such dish that is mainly made by men, “for her”. And I think that is very cute!

Want to taste the one and only “for her”? Come and spend your holiday in Alicante or Valencia.

(foto credits: ANTONIO GARRIDO RAMOS (GETTY IMAGES))

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