Tuesday, November 13, 2012
PAELLA On Top of the World! Sancho Panza - La Paz, Bolivia
The squabble over proper method to cook Paella is one that began long, long ago and will continue as long as there are people who love Spanish food and pour their hearts into making it distinctive and wonderful. Passion is as much of an ingredient as any selection of seafood, saffron or type of olive oil. This being the situation, no arguments will be resolved here!
However, one thing that disappoints no end is an establishment that cooks all ingredients separately: the rice cooked with colorant giving the look of saffron, seafood in one pan, all other ingredients finished in anothers. Then they´re combined in a chafing-dish, rice at bottom and the expensive stuff arranged prettily on the top. No! That is not Paella! In many places there is much nonsense of this sort served to the unsuspecting. Simply put, Paella is an open approach with regional differences but one dictate remains firm. All ingredients are cooked in one pan. That pan is called a Paella and the dish takes its name from this unique shallow Spanish cooking vessel. And the difference is in the taste, texture and aroma of Paella done properly!
With that established let´s talk about delicious Paella at 3600 meters (12,000ft), cooked perfectly with threads of pungent saffron in the traditional way and served beautifully at table! Sancho Panza - La Paz, Bolivia shines! Our Paella arrived with ample food for four. The fun of Paella is that it is a dish of community. And being two, we shared with the friendly table next to us. The Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) was chilled nicely and dry enough to accent the feast. Our conversation was dominated by the miracle. What miracle, you might ask? Well, water boils at a much lower temperature at altitude than at sea level thus slowing the cooking process. And in the best conditions having rice and all other ingredients cooked perfectly at the very same moment is tough timing. But at altitude in the Andes Mountains? Now that is a feat of extraordinary culinary prowess. At Sancho Panza, our meal was flawless. We ate, laughed and with our neighbours poured more Cava! The evening felt like those we´d loved so much in Spain. Undoubtedly a chef that can transport you to heaven for a short time surely works magic. And if a little magic is what you seek while dining, at Sancho Panza you´re sure to be carried away. Enchanted!
Restaurante “Sancho Panza”
Avenida Ecuador 738
Edificio Miguel Ángel, Sopocachi
La Paz, Bolivia
Copyright © Mick Huerta 2012. All Rights Reserved.
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