If you’ve tried authentic paella from Fire & Rice at a party or event, you know it’s a wonderfully unique dish as well as a special experience. Using the finest ingredients dating back to 16th-Century Spain, our award-winning paella is based in tradition. But what is the tradition behind paella, and how did this authentic dish find its way to Naples, Florida?
Paella - Circa 1500, Valencia Spain
The first paella dishes are thought to have been prepared by Valencian farmers, who gathered ingredients that were readily available to them on their farms, such as peppers, rice, and beans, to cook their lunchtime meals. Early paella dishes were often prepared with snails, as you could find them around the countryside or acquire them for a low price. For more festive occasions, rabbit and chicken were introduced, and later, seafood became part of the mix.
In 16th-century Spain, paella was often the main entrée at social affairs, which could be likened to a modern-day barbeque here in the US. Back in the day, men were competitive about their paella and debated the best preparation techniques. Since those early times, paella continues to be celebrated in Valencia and all throughout Spain at festivals and cooking competitions.
Throughout history, there have been many paella variations, such as paella with chicken and sausage, seafood paella, and vegetarian paella, but two ingredients have always been elemental: Bomba rice and saffron. Bomba rice, which was plentiful in 16th-century Valencia, magnificently absorbs the flavor of each ingredient, and saffron, with its delicate flavor, is delightful to any palette.
Chef Paul Brings Paella to Naples, FL
In Naples, paella is all the rage, and people can’t get enough of it. But how did paella make its way from Spain to Southwest Florida?
When Chef Paul was stationed with the US military in Europe, he visited the Spanish island of Menorca, where he met an elderly woman who was preparing paella. He was fascinated by the paella process as well as the beauty of the dish, which was rich with a palette of primary colors. Even though they didn’t speak the same language, the woman engaged Chef Paul in the process, teaching him how to clean the fish, prawns, and shellfish, and later demonstrating how to combine the ingredients in a large, shallow pan.
At that very moment, Chef Paul felt such a connection with the experience that he decided to bring paella to Naples, Florida. With a culinary degree, MBA, and two military tours under his belt, Chef Paul opened his first paella location, right here in Naples more than a decade ago, and the people of Naples have been delighting in the experience ever since!
If you’re interested in a unique, exciting, and delicious catering experience, try award-winning paella in Naples from Fire & Rice. To schedule your event, give us a call at (239)-269-8857 or book your party online. It’s that simple!