The Tarragona Dixieland Festival is a potpourri of musicians and artists from all over the world. Thirty bands, 180 musicians, 122 concerts and countless jam sessions will rock the streets of Catalonia for one entire week. There will be dancing, there will be singing, and because this is Spain, dios mio, there will be paella.
Gourmet legend attributes paella to the Valencian region of Spain near lake Albufera. There are three different varieties of the famous rice dish: Valencian paella (veggies, rabbit, chicken and um, snails), seafood paella (if you’ve ever had a bad seafood paella, you will remember what’s in it), and the anything-goes edition known as paella mixta.
At Carnestoltes (Catalonia’s version of Mardi Gras), behemoth paellas are cooked right on the beach and served up to a boisterous mix of tourists and Catalonians, along with local wine. Paella isn’t exactly a “light” dish, so after a week’s worth of it, a little detox is called for. The end of the Carnestoltes carnival falls on Ash Wednesday, and is represented by the burial of a sardine in the sand. The sardine is a gift to the salt-loving sea, and symbolizes the beginning of Lent — the 40 day period where good Christians give up vices like chocolate, Shiraz, Ebay, or snails.
Traditional paellas can take entire days to make, but Tyler Florence has a tasty version that only takes an hour. Don’t have an hour? Read more about the Tarragona Dixieland Festival or find other tempting going-ons in Catalonia.
- Courtney Maum