Celebrate Las Fallas with a Valencian Cocktail and Paella

Las Fallas in Valencia, Spain are one of the country’s main cultural and touristic attractions. The festival takes place on the same dates every year, March 15-19th, and culminates on the night of March 18th when hundreds of satirical monuments (such as the one shown below) built for the occasion are burned. That night Valencia from the sky is a city full of gigantic hogueras (bonfires). The name of this climatic event is la cremà. This is a Valencian word that refers to the act of burning; to burn, quemar, is cremar in Valencian. La cremà is one of the most spectacular shows you can imagine.

You can read more about our e-Tutor Carmen’s impressions of the holiday here.

Of course, the five day celebration involves more than just the burning of las fallas; it’s also a 5-day-long party that involves lots of delicious food and drink in the sunny port of Valencia.  In honor of the celebrations, why not prepare your own paella de marisco (seafood paella), a traditional dish from the region.  The key is to get good ingredients, if possible from a Spanish specialty food store.  Here is a simple recipe:


400 grams of rice (Bomba or Valencia rice preferably)
200 grams of monkfish or a similar fish such as cod or haddock
200 grams of peeled shrimp
200 grams of clams
8 langostinos (or prawns or squat lobster)
fish broth
1 chopped onion
1 chopped carrot
1 chopped green pepper
1 chopped tomato
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped

The key element in making a paella is la paella itself which refers to the pan in which paella is made. You can find these for around $20, online or in Spanish stores.

In the paella, fry the vegetables lightly, for a few minutes, in good olive oil. Add the monkfish, shrimp and clams.  Then add the rice (uncooked) and let the rice fry just briefly before adding the fish broth.  Stir the broth and other ingredients. Bring to a boil and add the langostinos on top. In a mortar, mash garlic, a bit of salt, a bit of parsley and bit of saffron.  Add to paella and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

Wash down your paella with a glass of Agua de Valencia, a cocktail made of the following:

200 ml orange juice
50 ml gin
50 ml vodka
70 ml Cava (or Champagne)
Sugar to taste

¡Buen provecho!


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons and Shutterstock and Jan Jernmark via Compfight cc