The goal is to recognize paella’s importance as the backbone of Valencian cuisine and an emblematic, singular dish
A Valencian Council of the regional government has official declared the region’s “unofficial” dish, paella, a bien de interes cultural (BIC), or a “good of cultural interest.” According to the decree, paella is an important dish that represents “the art of bringing people together and sharing.” Moreover, it describes the world-famous rice dish as “a [gastronomic] backbone which, together with its preparation and cultural relevance in Spain, has become one of the most prestigious products in the world… This emblematic dish… is a unifier and a fundamental part of the Valencian region’s gastronomy. Paella is not just a dish… The art of preparing and eating it makes it a real social phenomenon. ” It also identified the dish’s origins, in the Albufera region of Valencia, and its very initial origins, which date back to 320 BC, when Alexander the Great brought rice to Europe.
In addition to this new status, the decree also establishes a series of measures to “protect and safeguard paella, which includes identifying, describing, studying and documenting it.” The decree does not include an official recipe as there are many different versions, but it does specify specific steps in its preparation, such as adding the rice to the broth in the shape of a cross to ensure that the rice is evenly distributed in the pan, and the importance of having a fine crust. The rice must not be stirred when it is cooking, and paella should generally be eaten with a spoon. The regional government’s goal is to recognize and protect as a “cultural good” nationally and internationally, and work towards achieving UNESCO’s recognition of paella as intangible global heritage.