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Paella - the most famous of all Spanish foods

It was the poor peasant people of the Valencian region who invented Spain's most famous dish, paella.

The original recipe combined home grown veg (usually green and broad beans) with off cuts of rabbit and the short grain rice that is mass produced around the City of Valencia thanks to the sophisticated irrigation system introduced by the Moors.

Even today this is the traditional Valencian paella which you'll find in thousands of towns, villages and isolated mountain pueblos throughout the region. It's cheap, full of flavour and filling. These were the three main ingredients most sought after by those struggling to survive in the dire days during and after the Spanish Civil War.

This kind of paella is a far cry from the exotic dishes you'll find down at the seafront where chefs throw in an abundance of mussels, clams, langoustines and other pricey trimmings designed to tempt tourists with hungry appetites and plenty of money to spend.

No matter where you are in Spain, as a general rule of thumb you'll get tastier food for far less money if you eat where the Spanish eat and follow them along to the street markets which are a treasure trove full of fresh, cheap and high quality local produce

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