Here in Tarifa we have our own little mismatch family surrounding the local surf school Kite Local School.’ Owned by a tarifeño, this colourful shop provides the heart of our experience in this windy little town. As part of the kitesurfing courses the owner, Lara, hosts a weekly paella night in order to welcome newcomers, to get locals involved and as an excuse for a get together.

The night usually involves el baile del mono (the dance of the monkey: the symbol of the school), turning up with a bottle of rum, coke and limes to make Cuba libres, and the main feature paella! This quintessential Spanish dish is cooked up in a special paella pan on the premises, with everybody contributing a little. We usually take the limes: a very important part which not only adds that bit of colour but is the essential ingredient that really brings out the flavours.

Crazy paella fun

I will save featuring a recipe until a couple of weeks time when I will visit the motherland of paella, Valencia, where my mission shall be to snap up a truly authentic paella recipe from the time when the main ingredients were not seafood, but snails and rabbit. This is how paella really should be and the seafood variety has been created to adapt to tourist preferences. Though as Tarifa is a seaside town, it would be a waste not to use local freshly caught produce!

These paella nights really epitomise the importance of food not only due to its taste but also to it’s nature of bringing people together, whether they be friends or family, acquaintance or stranger. The dinners bring a huge diversity in nationalities, age and personality, giving the evenings a spontaneous nature and thus no Kite Local paella night is the same… Here’s to whatever is in store for the next one!

Paella in the making!