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Paella Experience
Paella is the Experience
Spanish Paella Catering in the
San Francisco Bay Area


One of the under appreciated aspects of paella, and the reason for the name of our company, is the communal experience of cooking paella.  Paella is cooked in a large pan, and people gather to watch and smell the aromas as each ingredient is added.  With a glass of wine, great conversations are had as everyone eagerly waits to eat some delicious paella.  At most events, people gather around the pan to talk, watch, and take in the experience with the expectation of eating something special when the paella is done cooking.


Paella is one of the best known world foods from Spain, and why shouldn't it be?  It is a delicious, iconic dish that has its roots in Valencia, Spain.  It started as a humble dish made near the rice fields in Valencia where the short grain rice for paella has been cultivated since the 1200s.  Paella Valenciana was the original paella made with rice, added proteins when available of chicken, rabbit, duck and snails, olive oil, saffron, garrofó beans, and flat green beans.  You will find our Paella Valenciana is made very close to the original with chicken being the usual protein, but other proteins available if requested.  

As the cooking of paella spread throughout Spain and the world, variations began to be developed to fit wider tastes and local ingredients. Common today, and well loved, is seafood paella.  Made with various shellfish and fish, it is a wonderful evolution.  As many people choose not to eat seafood or chicken, vegan paellas have evolved as well with delicious roasted vegetables in addition to the rice.

At Paella Experience, we offer three types of paella for your enjoyment:

Paella Valenciana - Chicken

Paella de Mariscos  - Seafood

Paella Vegetariana - Vegetable

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Tapas & Pinxtos

We serve a number of tapas and pintxos and can tailor them to your preferences for a full paella dinner experience.  If you have preferences for gluten free, vegan, or fish/non-fish, we can meet your needs in a delicious and satisfying way.  We generally assume a commercial kitchen is not available at your event site, so we make the tapas and pintxos ahead and assemble them at your event site.


It is generally held that tapas originated in Andalucia and come from the Spanish word tapar which means to cover.  Tapas are often served in Spain free with a glass of wine.  Pintxos are more from the Basque region and generally more elegant small bites.  Whether you call them tapas or pintxos, they are delicious, small bites of food to enjoy with wine or other drinks.  We mostly serve these delicious bites as the paella is being made.  Below are several that we make, but are open to special requests as there are hundreds of different ones in Spain.  



Olives wrapped in anchovy with a Guindilla Pepper



Cold vegetable soup

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Pan con Tomate y Jamon

Baguette with tomato and Spanish Ham

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Pintxo de anchoa

Baguette with anchovy cream cheese, egg and capers


Pimentos de Piquillo rellenos de Atún  o Queso de Cabra

Piquillo Peppers stuffed with Tuna or Goat Cheese


Empanada de Atún

Galician tuna empanada


Tortilla de Patatas

Spanish Tortilla with potatoes, eggs & onions


Ensalada de San Isidro

Romaine lettuce with tuna, olives, eggs


Pimientos de Padron

Padron Peppers with Salt

About Paella Experience

Clyde has been a culture, cooking and food lover for years.  After living in Spain for 3 years learning about the regional cultures and cuisines of Spain, he has been sharing the traditional Spanish cuisines with family, friends, and guests for over 13 years.  Partnering with long time friend, Spanish traveler, and award winning chef, Mark, we founded Paella Experience to spread the love, fun, and appreciation of paella and Spanish foods to future friends in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Mark and Clyde have won multiple awards at the Paso Robles Pinot and Paella Festival, and look forward to bringing our award winning paella to your next event.

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Why is Paella Experience Unique?

We want to honor the rich and varied culture of Spain and its traditions through our Spanish food offerings.  That means we focus on traditional, Spanish ingredients and techniques.  The paella we make has the characteristics of great, Spanish paella.  Most paella served in the US and even some tourist places in Spain is "arroz con cosas" or rice with things.  What makes our paella traditional and great? 

Bomba Rice is the main ingredient that sets paella apart from other rice dishes.  Bomba is the rice from Valencia, Spain and absorbs 3 times its weight in liquid making the rice really flavorful yet maintains its shape and firmness. 

Saffron is by weight the most expensive and luxurious spice in the world.  Saffron threads are the stigmas from the center of the crocus flower.  Each thread is harvested with tweezers individually and gives paella an earthy and floral aroma and flavor.  

Pimentón creates wonderful aromas as the paella cooks.  Pimentón is made in Spain from peppers and is called paprika in English.  There are a few varieties used in paella - dulce (sweet), agridulce (bitter sweet), and picante (hot).  Our preference is agridulce which produces a smell and taste you cannot forget.

Socarrat is the carmelized, somewhat toasted bottom layer of rice in paella.   Socarrat can only be achieved with proper cooking technique.   The Socarrat is the part of the dish paella lovers crave most!  If you experience a well made paella, the rice layer is fairly thin, around a 1/2 inch, to maximize the rice on the pan to create socarrat. The rice at the top should be al dente while the rice on the bottom is carmelized and somewhat crispy.  I still remember my first experience in a paella restaurant in Spain.  The predominant sound was scraping.  At several tables, diners where scraping the prized socarrat from the bottom of the pan.

Paella is also the Spanish word for the pan paella is cooked in.  Paella pans are wide, round and shallow.  We choose the pan size based on the number of people eating to ensure a thin layer of rice with the perfect textures and flavors.  Without the paella pan, paella is not possible.

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