Costa Levante News

Preserving paella for future generation­s

First recorded reference to the dish was in the 1700s

- By Alex Watkins

VALENCIAN paella, and ‘the art of coming together to share this meal’, has been officially declared an immaterial asset of cultural interest (BIC) by the regional government.

There are many versions and methods for this recipe, for which reason organisati­ons have been set up to promote and recognise it, noted a spokesman.

The decree approved by the regional parliament establishe­s the name, ‘paella valenciana’ and the accepted parameters of the recipe, as well as describing the form of growing and harvesting the rice, the different techniques for making the paella and the symbolism of this dish at family meals.

A regional government spokesman noted that it was Alexander the Great who brought rice to Europe and ‘the origins of paella date back to 220 BC’.

However, it was not grown in great quantities in Valencia until the arrival of the Moors, who invaded the Iberia Peninsula in the 8th century. Consistent use, whitening and cleaning of the rice husk started in the 16th century. A manuscript from the 18th century has the first reference found to paella or ‘arroz a la valenciana’ (Valencian style rice) – it explains the techniques for making it and mentions that the rice has to end up dry.

At the start of the 20th century, this typical dish spread to large internatio­nal cities and in this way paella reached its zenith with Spain’s tourism boom in the 1970s bringing foreign tourists to holiday on the Costas.

In addition to the BIC declaratio­n, the decree establishe­s measures to protect and safeguard this asset, which involve work to identify, describe, study and document it, incorporat­e witnesses with material support to guarantee its preservati­on and ensure that it continues and can be transmitte­d to future generation­s.

 ?? Photo: GVA ?? The celebratio­n of World Paella Day
Photo: GVA The celebratio­n of World Paella Day

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