How We Bargained Our Way to the Best Paella in Spain

Craving, Paella from it’s homeland? Leaving Spain without scrapping into socarrat (that crunchy layer of rice) simply not an option? I know how you feel. Like you, I had dreamed of Paella in Spain for years before our trip. After experiencing dry, socarratless Paella in Valencia, my dreams turned into our determination. We sought out Paella everywhere we went.

Unquenchable hunger followed us for days through Spain, until we ventured into the Catalonia region. Turns out, Cava is not the only perfect thing served up in this wine country dotted with small towns.

La Barraca del Delta
La Barraca del Delta

La Barraca del Delta is an unexpected surprise perched outside the main square in Villafranca.

On our visit, we timidly stuck our heads inside the door. Was this where we wanted to lunch? A glimpse of the half carved Iberico Ham on the counter said, yes.

An exchange of “Reservation?” “No.” Followed by  “Mamma…” and stream of rapid Spanish yelled back into the kitchen, revealed La Barraca to be a small, family gem.

Mom runs the front of house welcoming all customers as family with genuine charm and warmth. Dad mans the kitchen sending out perfect, yet simply prepared seafood. His love of food both clear in his plates and his person. A large man, he’s hard to miss as he pops out of the kitchen, behind the bar for an afternoon nip with his Daughter and son-in-law working the tables.

After feeling lucky at snagging one of the four tables, we ordered Cava to toasts the possibilities bubbling forth from the menu. Paella there it was!

Cava
Cava

Having not planned ahead, I knew we were at risk, yet we gave it the old college try. Pointing to the menu with no English we asked, “Paella?”

“No.  Order yesterday.”

This is one of the extremely rare occasions in the life of a Foodie where flat out rejection rings the bell of promise. After seeing a Paella pan hit the next table, no was now a starting point. The bargaining began.

“For tomorrow? Can we order?”

“Si”

There were four of us.

“Una Valencia, Una Seppia, Una Mariscos, Una…

“No. Una. Only One.”

Rejected twice, YES!

“Ok, Una. Perfecta. Mariscos.”

“Si, Time?”

“1:00?”

“No, 2:30.”

“Ok!”

Despite being told no three times, we were thrilled. Everyone was happy, a bargain had been reached and it was smiles all around.

We stayed for lunch that day and it was magnificent. We might have been turned down for Paella, but the squid, calamari and octopus let us know we were in for a treat.

Pulpo at La Barraca del Delta
Pulpo at La Barraca del Delta
Squid at Calamari at La Barraca del Delta
Squid at La Barraca del Delta
Calamari at La Barraca del Delta
Calamari at La Barraca del Delta

The next day, we returned to Villafranca on a bright beautiful day for our Paella date.

The gracious family of La Barraca del Delta greeted as if we were old friends, despite a language barrier. Jokes were played, pushing bottles with netting off the end of the bar, caught by the crook of a finger.

When the food hit the table, we went from laughing to drooling. Our appetizer, perfectly prepared Sea Snails, provided a treasure hunt for the taste of the sea.

Sea Snails
Sea Snails

Then this beauty, Paella the main event arrived.

Seafood Paella
Seafood Paella

A scrapping with the back of the spoon revealed the end of our quest. Paella with socarrat had just been served and it was good. Like, I want to travel to Spain all over again just to eat this very dish, good.

Socarrat!
Socarrat!

A region of natural beauty, wine, Cava and Paella, Catalonia Spain delivered on all my hopes and foodie dreams.

Sunset in Villafranca Spain
Sunset in Villafranca Spain

Found perfect Paella in Spain on your adventure? Please share where in the comments below. Foodie sharing is caring!

More Travel Food Stories: Where Romans Lunch, Lazy Cows Make the Best Cheese, Agriturismo Gluttony Perfected

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