Next week, 16 May sees a new gastronomy competition in the town of Sueca. Originally scheduled for the 28 April, bad weather saw it postponed to a new date when better weather could more or less be guaranteed! The new competition, ‘Concurso de Allipebrat’ in Castellano, is the brainchild of the Gastronomy Association, ‘Cradle of Rice’ based in Restaurant Sequial 20.
Back in October we were invited to the launch of the competition. Opening the presentation, the President of the Association Juan José Bartolomé placed the new competition in its context.
Sueca is of course in the heart of Valencia´s rice growing area around the Albufera and already host to the International Paella Competition now in its sixty first year.
But this is a competition based very much on the traditions of the Albufera itself, rice and eels. Arroz Allipebrat is a dish which takes elements of “All i Pebre”, the stew of eels, potatos, garlic and kind of paprika called pimentón in Spanish, and combines it into a dry rice dish cooked in a paella pan.
Juan José was keen to emphasise this tradition of cooking with local ingredients. But it is an up to date rice dish taking each element, cooking it separately then assembling the elements in a modern presentation as the rice cooks in the stock.
The most important element as in any seafood rice dish the stock is key and the base for this is a stock that would be made for an All i Pebre including the potatos, because they add a very important part of the flavour, but the potatos are removed before the stock is used to cook the rice.
Silvia Ferris, chef at Sequial 20 explained that eels were used to help make the stock but removed and the flesh released from its spine so that it can be presented on the surface of the rice.
The rice dish itself is relatively simple with a small number of ingredients which allows the flavour of the key elements to shine through. The key elements are the correct point of cooking of the rice, the eel remaining tender and the ideal level of piquancy which should be notable whilst not causing a burning sensation in the throat!
A star studded jury will decide the winner of the competiton, including President Adolfo Cuquerella (master rice chef) ;Belen Arias, the new President of the Valencian Academy of Gastronomy; Paqui Ruiz and Diego Gallego of La Plaza Restaurante (Torrent), Dani Vidal, chef and Gastronomic assessor; Juanma Romero of Es Radio; Manuel Diaz of Bon Estar restaurant (Valencia); Jose Antonio Garcia , organiser of the Arroz del Senyoret contest and owner of Evenser in Mas Camarena.
21 restaurants are participating currently, and cooking will take pale in the Masía Teular in Sueca. Restaurants include El Raco, Miguel y Juani, Casa Picanterra, Tahbik Lounge, Asador L’Alfábega, La Mar Salá, Pilar, Bon Aire, Amadeo, La Pepa Blue Space, Chaparral, Avenida 2.0, Méson el Molino, Rincón del Faro, Catering La Despensa, Rocher, Ulises Piga, Arrels, La Salud and Valhalla.
Presentation of the rice dishes will be from 13.00pm, attendance is strictly by invitation. The winner will take 1500€, second prize is 750€ and third prize 400€.
The concurso is being supported by Murviedro wines, Cervezas Turia, Panamar Bakery Group, Cafés Hervas, Procomar Constructions, Makro, Belseher, Banco Sabadell and several others.
On the day of the presentation we enjoyed a meal whilst the President took us through the arrangements.
These included three types of croquettas, bread, tomato and jamon, excellent cremaets and a selection of home made desserts. Vi Vid highly recommends Sequial 20 for its homemade, traditional dishes and noted it does a roaring takeaway service!