Tag Archives: sevilla

Paella Explained

In my line of work I get asked a wide variety of questions by visitors eager to get the most out of their stay in Spain. Everything from “Is it worth seeing the Alhambra?” (Duh), through “Do they still do bullfighting?” (Yes, except in Catalonia, and yes, they still kill the bull) to “How does the washing machine work?” One of the most common subjects of enquiry, perhaps surprisingly, is paella (pronounced pie-aiya, the Spanish double-ll always being pronounced as a y). It seems that outside of Spain, where it’s just part of the furniture, paella is regarded as the Spanish “national dish”, and it comes as something of a surprise that in many parts of Spain it’s not particularly common. People are also quite hazy about what a paella actually is (it’s a specific dish, not just rice-with-things-in-it, which covers everything from risotto to kedgeree and exists in pretty much every country in the world), so today’s post is a kind of paella 101.

paella 1

What you can expect

Firstly, paella is not really a Spanish dish, but a regional dish from Valencia on Spain’s east coast, where rice was first cultivated by the Moors, who improved and adapted the Roman irrigation systems of the area for this use. By the 15th century rice was an important staple, often eaten as a casserole with fish and vegetables. Modern paella was developed by farmers around the Albufera lagoon near Valencia during the 18th and 19th centuries, and was traditionally cooked on open fires of orange and pine branches, whose aroma infused the dish. Initially the principle added ingredients were water voles, eels, snails and beans, but as living standards improved rabbit and chicken became the norm, and are regarded today as proper Valencian paella.


What to avoid

The name of the dish is a Catalan/Valencian derivative of old French paelle, meaning a pan, but now referring to the wide, flat metal pan (a paella) in which the rice is cooked, and whose shape allows the distinctive light crust, the hallmark of paella, to form on the bottom. Classic paella is made with a short grain rice, usually calasparra or bomba, chicken and/or rabbit, snails (optional), green beans, artichokes (in season), garlic, olive oil and saffron. It is a matter of some contention as to whether other varieties, made with fish, seafood and other ingredients should be classed as paellas. Purists say no, but there doesn’t seem to be any other convenient way of referring to them, and the usage has become so widespread that it’s no longer possible to hold back the tide. But apparently adding chorizo to a paella is the ultimate sin.

paella classChef Victor at Taller Andaluz shows us how it’s done

So where can you get a good one? For the most part, the answer seems to be Valencia or Barcelona (and places between). Sevillanos don’t seem to have mastered the art, although they do have fabulous rice dishes of their own. Look for arroz del día at bars, only served at lunchtime and often made with long grain rice. Avoid places with pictures of lots of different paellas, they’re always tourist traps, and the paella preprepared/frozen. Good paella should be fresh and takes at least 40 minute to arrive at your table.

There is another alternative, though. By far the best paella I’ve had in Seville was at the cooking class in Triana market (we made three traditional Spanish dishes, all excellent, and had lots of fun, too). And if you’re renting one of our self-catering apartments you can practice the recipe yourself (though you will need a proper paella pan).

Seville | Feria Market

A visit to the Feria Market in Seville!

Calle Feria is one of the best known streets in Seville. It runs from north to south and is the official boundary between the neighbourhoods of Macarena and San Vicente. It’s named for the market/fair (El Jueves) that was instituted here way back in the 13th century, and which is still held every Thursday, making it the longest continuously functioning market in Europe. About halfway along – and not far from Veoapartment HQ – you can also find the Feria provisions market, the oldest and smallest in the city, with the Omnium Sanctorum church on one side, and the Algaba Palace (now the home of the Mudejar centre) behind. Like the neighbourhoods around it, it’s a bustling, friendly, down-to-earth sort of place, frequented by real, local people.

In our short video we visit the market with Toñi, who lives nearby, and listen in as she talks to the owners of some of the stalls, buys some provisions and has a bite to eat at the market bar, La Cocinera Feliz. If you look closely you’ll also see some of the Veo team!

Sevilla | Flamenco y Más

¿Sabías que el centro de Sevilla tiene la tienda más especializada en Flamenco de toda la ciudad?

retratoVirginia Campos tuvo la brillante idea de enseñarnos el concepto del Flamenco en su faceta más profesional. Siempre han existido en nuestra ciudad numerosas tiendas dedicadas al souvenir de Sevilla y a la moda flamenca, pero esta emprendedora quiso ir más lejos y crear un significado más amplio de nuestra palabra más universal.

Este negocio dedicado intrínsecamente al Flamenco en todos sus aspectos lleva acompañándonos en Sevilla desde hace seis años. Virginia, con un bagaje profesional a sus espaldas (organizadora de numerosos cursos y producción de espectáculos), con la pasión por este arte, quiso crear “Flamenco y Más”, una pequeña tienda en el intramuro de la ciudad, contando ya hoy con cuatro trabajadores.

Como era de esperar tuvo muy buen arranque en la ciudad y fue entonces cuando quiso ampliar formando la tienda “online”, llegando a más clientes y entrando en los hogares de todo el mundo, convirtiendo su clientela más importante a extranjeros de muchos países: puede tener una bailaora de Japón, de EEUU o de Alemania para comprarse zapatos de baile o una falda para su espectáculo. Otra parte de la clientela son los aficionados a este mundo, encontrándose músicas de colección o temas nuevos o recientes de este panorama.

flamenco 1No cabe duda que en “Flamenco y Más” puedes conseguir esos recuerdos de Sevilla reflejados en pequeñas obras de cerámica o elegir un abanico de toda la colección que poseen.

flamenco 2Uno de los aspectos más curiosos y originales de este lugar es el acceso a cursos de guitarra en DVDs a disposición y en venta para aquel que le interese, asi como libros de métodos de baile o técnicas de cualquier instrumento, incluyendo nuestras castañuelas tan internacionales. A la venta también diversidad de instrumentos para que cuando aprendas a tocarlos puedas tener el tuyo.

Además de su completa tienda de baile y complementos una de las novedades más curiosas es la asistencia de un Flamenco Personal Shopper para aquellos que no se decidan por algún traje o mantón. El asesoramiento de estos profesionales es muy importante a la hora de vestir a un artista para su espectáculo y para saber ir adecuadamente vestidos con colores o tallas a cualquier evento o Feria del sur de Andalucía.


Así no solo los profesionales van a la última tendencia en moda flamenca sino que el turista puede encajar perfectamente en la feria de abril o en ese evento flamenco al que pueden ir, pudiendo no solo comprar esas prendas sino también alquilar trajes de flamenca.

flamenco 3

Todos los artículos de la tienda están también disponibles online, estando libres de impuestos, y hacen envíos internacionales a cualquier parte del mudo.

Mucho más lejos de esto, esta emprendedora tiene unos proyectos de futuro imparables y ya ha arrancado un espacio multicultural junto a su tienda, mucho más grande, para darle un servicio multiuso. Desde actuaciones en directo, exposición de fotografía o cualquier arte sin dejar atrás el servicio de tienda y asesoramiento que hoy en día llevan a la perfección.


Teniendo una web muy actualizada, no está mal darse un paseo por ella y estar al día de eventos y las mejores marcas en zapatos, ropa flamenca, músicas… Date una vuelta por www.flamencoymas.es o pásate a verlas a C/ San Luis nº 120. Estarán encantadas de saludarte y atenderte como es debido.

Flamenco y más:
Calle San Luis, 120
41003 Sevilla (junto a la Iglesia de la Macarena)
Tlfno: +34 954 908 707
Email: tienda@flamencoymas.es

Seville | Day Trip to Ronda

The little city of Ronda is one of Andalucia’s most underrated destinations, and although it’s not quite as easy to get to from Seville as Córdoba and Cádiz, taking about two hours each way on the bus, it’s well worth the extra effort, especially as the road winds through some beautiful mountain scenery.

For a small town (the population is only about 40,000), Ronda is full of surprises, and when you arrive you should head straight for the first of these – the spectacular Tajo Canyon that cuts the town in half, and the Puente Nuevo or New Bridge (it’s not so new now, as it was built in the second half of the 18th century). From the top of the bridge there is a breathtaking view across the Serranía de Ronda on one side, and an equally breathtaking view of the gorge on the other. The buildings that seem to perch on the very edge of the precipice make it look even deeper. It’s one of Spain’s most impressive and iconic sights, and it’s hard to describe the effect of seeing it for the first time.

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