March 15, 2016
The Festival of the “Paella Gigante” is a collaborative fundraising event for the Sociedad Española de Beneficencia. Every year, this 10-foot-wide Paella Valencia is cooked on the spot by the country’s top chefs from the LTB (Le Toque Blanche).
With the support of the Tourism Promotions Board, Spanish Tourism Board, and Ayala Malls, the Department of Tourism jumpstarted its second month-long “Flavors of the Philippines” campaign with the partnership of Madrid Fusion Manila at Greenbelt Park on March 12, 2016.
Here’s a photo essay of the event…
The Paella Gigante yields approximately 1,000 generous servings made by the country's top chefs like Robby Goco, Fernando Aracama, J Gamboa, Juan Carlo de Terry, and more!
All proceeds from the event go to the Sociedad Española de Beneficencia’s shelter and healthcare assistance programs for the aged.
Starting at around 3:30PM, the chefs begin to prepare the “stove” made with branches and coconut husks.
If you think it’s hot in the kitchen, think about how hot it is by a 10-foot-wide “stove”!
We don’t recommend you go near the flames just yet since the flying ash is sure to make you tear up profusely.
To tame the flames for optimal cooking, the staff adds charcoal.
The Paella is made with nearly 660kg worth of ingredients—100kg of rice, 13 liters of olive oil, and 265kg of combined ingredients of chicken, mussels squid, and chorizo!
The custom-made Paellera spans 10 feet and needs more than 5 people to carry.
It was warming to see the chefs collaborate for a good cause, especially since the event was pro bono on their part.
The festival kicks off with the ceremonial pouring of the olive oil.
The chicken and squid are sautéed first with shovels in place of spatulas.
Chorizo, or Spanish Sausage made with pork and paprika, is added to the mix.
Minced garlic and assorted peppers go in once the meat and squid are cooked…
…along with the succulent deveined shrimp.
One of the key ingredients that give the Paella its key color and flavor is the smoky Spanish Saffron used in the stock.
100kg of Japanese rice is added to boil in the stock…
…then the mussels are added for color, flavor, and complexity!
The Paella is covered with tin foil and left to cook under low heat for approximately 30 minutes.
While waiting you can enjoy live performances by Emma Estrada and The Grupo Nuevo Flamenco.
Flamenco is a highly expressive performance popularized by Spanish regions Andalusia, Extremadura, and Murcia.
It is a combined performance of Toque (guitar playing), Baile (dancing), Jaleo (singing), Palmas (clapping), and Pitos (snapping).
You can also chill to the sexy summer beats of Nyko Maca with a Sangria in hand!
If you get too hungry, a variety of Tapas and wines from Tapella, Espa Fil, Casa Armas, and Cerveseria are available at your disposable.
Don’t forget to purchase your ticket before anything else—only P250 per person!
After the wait, the foil is removed and the savory aroma of the seafood and saffron fills the air.
We really couldn’t wait to try out what the chefs cooked up.
You get a very generous serving of the freshly cooked Paella, which has a strong seafood flavor.
Lechon also makes for a delicious side.
The event was such a success that there were almost no seats left.
The aftermath—all 1,000 servings of the delicious Paella gone in an hour!
Congratulations to the chefs, Ayala Malls, participating bodies, and La Sociedad Española de Beneficencia for another delicious fundraiser!
If you would like to know more about the La Sociedad Española de Beneficencia’s programs and how to contribute, please visit their official website here.
Live an Awesome Life,
Nico & Sheila of Our Awesome Planet Team
Disclosure: Our experience was courtesy of the Tourism Promotions Board. Read the Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.
P.S. Don't miss Madrid Fusion Manila on April 7-9, 2016 at SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia!