Spain, Sangria, & Spring

I recently returned from a trip to Europe with my family that included a stopover in Sevilla, Spain. It was wonderful—not just because Sevilla is a particularly gorgeous and exciting city, but also because Sevillanos know how to live! Sangria with lunch (maybe gazpacho or salmorejo), followed by a siesta, then tapas (potentially with more sangria), followed by a late dinner (and the chance for more sangria!), which can then be followed by a leisurely walk around the beautiful city at night. Need to get lots of sleep? No problem! It’s entirely ok to sleep in a bit until it’s time for churros y chocolate with your coffee the next morning.

There is so much to talk about with regard to Sevilla that I’m going to have to break it down into parts, but, as always, there will be lots of discussion about food! Lately, I’ve been thinking about having a Sangria & Spring party to try and conjure up some of the warmth that Sevilla had. I think I’ll serve the following:

  • Sangria (obviously!)
  • Salmorejo (this is slightly thicker than gazpacho and perfect for dipping bread into)
  • Guacamole & Chips (ok, they didn’t have this in Sevilla, but I love it too much to exclude)
  • Salad (my style, not the “vegetables-and-lettuce-on-a-plate” style they serve in Sevilla)
  • Olives (another Sevillian staple)
  • Paella (so yummy!)

Salmorejo I can figure out by tasting as I go, my little brother is a guacamole expert, and salad and olives are a no brainer, but I’m a little concerned about the sangria and paella. I like my sangria to be sweetened with something other than sugar. My mother prefers Manischewitz, but I worry that might be too sweet. Anyone have any ideas on good combinations?

Sangria aside, I’m way more concerned about making paella. I don’t have the paellera required to make it, and I’m not sure I’m ready to invest in one just for this occasion. (Plus, I have a strict policy that all kitchen items must be multi-purpose—What else can I use a paellera for besides paella? And even if I did want one, where could I get it?) Does anyone have any good tips for first-time paella makers? Or good leads on buying discount-yet-quality saffron?

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7 Responses

  1. Trader Joe’s has it, at least sometimes. Inexpensive, not super high quality, but people online seem to be satisfied for the price level, and if you’re not, you can take it back (TJ policy).

  2. Thank you so much for the tip!

  3. honestly, the saffron i’ve gotten at shaw’s has served me very well. it’s fairly inexpensive (for saffron), and it makes everything it touches taste fantastic.
    i like to put some slightly flat sprite or 7-up in sangria sometimes. it makes it a little sweeter and, if you make it the way my grandmother does, it’s already strong enough to knock you out, so why not water it down a bit?
    and in my opinion, you don’t need a paellera to make good paella. if you wanted one…you could probably get one at williams-sonoma, or you could just get a wok, which i think is close enough.
    i love spanish food and everything spain-related, so sorry for the lengthy comment!

  4. Gillis–
    thank you so much for the tips! I keep telling myself that if paella is considered a “folk food,” it must be the kind of thing that lets a cook have a little wiggle room for error, so I will hopefully be ok.
    ~Sarah
    ps. Thanks especially for the shaws/saffron tip!

  5. As for multi-purpose and the paella pan: I use my mom’s (relatively small) paellera when I cook pasta sauce for more than four people. I can really recommend it!

  6. wiebke– do you know a good place to get a paellera?
    others– what did you use instead of a paellera?

  7. This party has probably already happened, but I’m behind on my blog reading, so here goes!

    The next time you’re in NYC, get a friend to buddy pass you into the Park Slope Co-Op — I once got some saffron there very, very cheaply! And I have used a shallow-ish wok for paella to great success, too.

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