Passion for paella

Longford Anglican priest Edrick Corban-Banks. Picture: SCOTT GELSTON

Longford Anglican priest Edrick Corban-Banks. Picture: SCOTT GELSTON

RABBIT is an integral ingredient to the official Valencian paella, along with chicken, stock, white and green beans and the possible addition of snails.

This is according to Longford Anglican priest Edrick Corban-Banks who fell under the spell of this Spanish national rice dish when studying classical guitar in the late 80s.

It was not until Mr Corban-Banks took up an Anglican chaplaincy at Ibiza that he began to understand the real passion of paella.

He is now part responsible for bringing the prestigious Concurso Internacional de paella Valenciania competition to Manly next month, where 15 top-end Australian restaurants will compete for an instant spot in the paella finals.

Mr Corban-Banks entered the coveted competition in 2013, and out of 180 paella entrants, managed a place in the top 30 finals and came fourth.

He said the best paellas used charcoal flavours and a constant stream of rosemary, cooked according to a set process.

``Paella is a flavour explosion if cooked correctly,'' he said.

``This rice dish is something that is based on tradition. There are so many different recipes and ways of making paella but there is only one official Valencian recipe used in the competitions.

``It is an art form over there. The seriousness of Valencianios is such that that there is a paella watchdog, who monitor all the restaurants in Valencia.''

Mr Corban-Banks said paella was embedded into the lifestyle and culture of the people.

``There is nothing like sitting around on a Sunday afternoon with the paella on the fire with all the other families, talking and drinking wine, the atmosphere is absolutely phenomenal.

``The actual competition in Spain is absolutely incredible, you have parades, people dressing up, it is a four-day celebration.''

Mr Corban-Banks said two Spanish judges would arrive in Australia for the May 25 event before flying to Miami, Shanghai and Tokyo to also judge the corresponding events.

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