How to Throw a Paella Party (Rain or Shine)

I'm no stranger to marathon Sunday lunches, but this past weekend's double header was one for the books. I was invited to friends' houses on both Saturday and Sunday, making me question the need to go grocery shopping. 

My friend Daniel had been talking about making a paella for the past few weeks. He even brought back a special pan (big enough to make paella for 10 people!) and a frozen block of fish soup (a key ingredient--who knew?) all the way from Spain. 

Photo by Anne Kathrin Raab. 

Photo by Anne Kathrin Raab. 

As the date drew near, preparations for Operation Paella ramped up. I was sent on a mission to find bomba rice from a Spanish shop in the Croix-Rousse (where else?) The cleverly named Iber y Co is run by a guy and his brother who lived for five years in Sevilla. Besides the rice, they carry all sorts of tasty looking imported goodies from Spain.

1 kilogram of bomba rice from Iber y Co. (9 euros!)

1 kilogram of bomba rice from Iber y Co. (9 euros!)

Finally, with all the makings of a perfect paella assembled, the day of our fiesta arrived. The weather forecast was not in our favor, with ominous looking clouds rolling in around noon, but we stubbornly carried on, determined to make this paella party happen, rain or shine. As it turned out, there was more rain than shine, but that was where things started to get interesting.

12 pm: Head out to the garden to enjoy a Spanish style aperitivo despite the darkening sky.

Photo by Anne Kathrin Raab. 

Photo by Anne Kathrin Raab. 

Eat: Chorizo + Cheese + Tortilla Española 

Drink: Vermouth, Homemade Coconut-Infused Rum

Photo by Anne Kathrin Raab. 

Photo by Anne Kathrin Raab. 

2 pm: Grill is fired up and ready to go. Starts raining.

In almost comedic timing, it started to downpour just as we wrapped up the aperitif and fired up with imitation Weber grill. Umbrellas came out and our teamwork was put to the test as the situation grew more frantic. Whatever you do, protect the paella from the rain! 

I know it doesn't look like it from the photo, but I promise I helped! Photo by Anne Mandron.

I know it doesn't look like it from the photo, but I promise I helped! Photo by Anne Mandron.

Teamwork! Photo by Anne Mandron.

Teamwork! Photo by Anne Mandron.

Determination. Photo by Anne Mandron.

Determination. Photo by Anne Mandron.

3 pm: In true Spanish fashion, we sit down for lunch around mid-afternoon.

Eat: Seafood paella!

After a lot of frantic stirring and running around with umbrellas and and bowls of soup and shrimp, we finally sat down to enjoy the (delicious) result. I think we all agreed it was worth it in the end. Just look at that bomba rice, cooked to perfection! Shoutout to Master Chef Daniel.

Result! Photo by Anne Kathrin Raab. 

Result! Photo by Anne Kathrin Raab. 

Drink: Kiwi-Apple Rosé Sangria

Can you even have a paella party without sangria? To me it seemed unfathomable. I whipped this batch up using pineapple, kiwi, apple and a bottle of rosé. Not very traditional sangria ingredients, but it's what I happened to have on hand. Besides, it's tough to go wrong with wine and fruit. 

After a deliciously light strawberry-mascarpone dessert made by Daniel's girlfriend Anne, we spent a few more hours talking and playing a card game (some of us more enthusiastically than others, ahem). Between laughs, everyone agreed the day was a success. We may have been rained out but we certainly did not go hungry.

-Stephanie