If there’s one activity you should partake in while in Valencia, Spain, it’s a paella-making class at Escuela de Arroces y Paella Valenciana. Valencia is the birthplace of the traditional Spanish dish, so it’s especially fitting to try your hand at crafting your own while there. Traditional Valencian paella includes chicken and rabbit, but you can also make a seafood or vegetable version.
There are three shifts offered, from 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m.; from 1–5:30 p.m.; and from 6 –8:30 p.m. We chose the morning shift, as it included a visit to the central market to shop for ingredients. We arrived a bit before 10 a.m., and checked in while waiting for the others. Once everyone was there, the group headed to the market on foot with the help of our exuberant and friendly guide. Within our group, there were English, Spanish and French speakers. Our guide translated in English and Spanish, while a separate interpretator came with the French group to translate.
Throughout the day, the guide takes photos of individuals and the group, and those are later emailed to you. It was a nice addition, as it allows for candid photos in the midst of shopping or cooking and shots the group might not get otherwise.
I enjoyed the market visit; the place can be chaotic, so it was helpful to have a guide navigate and provide more information on the ingredients we’d use.
Once back at the school, we donned our provided aprons and chef’s hats and got to work with the on-site chef. We grated, shucked, browned, stirred and more as our paella came to life. While the ingredients simmered for 30 minutes, we were treated to traditional Spanish foods, like tortilla Española, as a first course, paired with delicious Spanish wines. I particularly enjoyed the Fusta No Va Blanc. Once the paella simmered, we added the rice and the finishing touches, before sitting down to enjoy. It was delicious. The paella course also paired with wine.
After dessert, everyone in the group received a diploma and a traditional wooden spoon used to eat the paella, and posed for a photo with the chef. The afternoon was filled with laughs and fun, and it’s an outing anyone would enjoy, even non-cooks.
Escuela de Arroces y Paella Valenciana (escueladearrocesypaellas.com)
Calle Obispo Don Jerónimo 8 Bajo
46003 Valencia, Spain
tel 34 961 043 540
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