Think paella and pink

The Oakland Tribune


October 11, 2006

Most often, my inbox is packed either with ready-made products or sauces, foods that someone else has prepared for me or cookbooks filled with recipes that invite me to do everything from scratch.

I love both, but I was especially pleased a few weeks ago when I received a two-for-one. It was a recipe for authentic Spanish paella -- and nearly every ingredient I would need.

This ultra-creative invitation to cook had arrived courtesy of Gloria Ferrer's Cuvee Club, who apparently put together the $60 kit in order to promote Rene Barbier Petillant, a $6 effervescent rose wine from Spain. (The packet was printed on Rene Barbier stationery.)

Even though the suggestion was to take my kit to a park or to the beach for an outdoor picnic, I just couldn't wait. I plunked it in the middle of my kitchen table, unpacked the wares and got to work. An hour and a half later, I pulled my first effort at making paella out of the oven and called the troops to dinner.

I have no idea if my paella was authentic tasting or not, but it was a lively dish, thanks to the smoked La Chinata paprika, the saffron, and the perfect beads of Peregrino Calasparra rice. The best part is that even though I would never select a pink wine for dinner, this inexpensive Petillant wine was a perfect companion for the spicy richness of the dish. Alone, it tastes slightly sweet and sour. With the paella, it was clean and refreshing.

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