What’s the best rice for paella?
What type of rice is used for paella? Is paella rice the same as Valencia rice?
What is paella rice? Both paella and Valencia rice are categories, not varieties of rice. The term paella rice just means it’s good for use in paella. Actual varieties include: Bomba, Balilla, Bahia, and Senia. These styles have roundish, medium-short grains, with a high-starch content. The grains can absorb lots of liquid (flavor) without breaking down. And while most paella rice is actually cultivated in Valencia, and Valencia rice is often used to connote paella (Bomba) rice, not all rice grown in Valencia is used in paella. Therefore it’s not quite synonymous. Also, not all paella rice is grown there. The two other main areas it’s grown in Spain are: Calasparra (a town in the province of Murcia) and northeastern Ebro. The best and priciest is grown in the province, Murcia, namely Bomba and Calasparra rice (which is a variety of Balilla). Both have DO (designation of origin) status.
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