Then comes the paella, the Clint Eastwood of Spanish cuisine. It originates in Valencia although this is heavily disputed. Some say the Basques, some say Madrid, but most say Valencia. It was originally a labourer´s dish, an amalgamation of everything left over from the week´s food.
What meat it contained depended in which class you belonged: Chicken and rabbit were available to the upper classes in Spain whereas Spanish lower-classes often used snails to bulk up their protein quota.
Valencia is the haven of paella eating and preparation; yet Madrid´s paella is equally as delicious. All Spanish people living in Madrid say that the fish you get in the capital is better than any from the coast. Most of Madrid´s restaurants are geared towards tourists, but just because a restaurant is full of Spanish speakers’ doesn´t mean it´s not full of tourists. The Spanish do a lot of travelling within their own country.
The Spanish know what they are good at, and strive to be the best at it. Spain produces ¾ of the world´s saffron which is essential for a typical paella, especially ones that are restaurant made. The Spanish region of Jaen, just south of Madrid, produces a staggering total of 10% of the world´s olive oil; the rest of Spain´s production areas bring the total up to about 45%. The Spanish have even influenced English cuisine, something which no one will proudly admit. Cadiz had very strong links with England in the 18th century was one of the first places in Spain and the world to fry and batter cod before the English stole it and made it their national dish, thereby replacing beans on toast forever.
Next time: I am going to give you a list of a few of the places I can recommend in Madrid.