The surface area of Valencian rice fields exceeds 17,500 hectares, including the wetlands of the Albufera Natural Park and the marshes of Almenara and Pego. The main varieties grown are those that best meet the requirements of taste and yield, such as the Sénia-Bahía, Bomba and Albufera types of rice. The rice is sown from the end of April to mid-May, a period which varies according to the water level, weather conditions and the development of the crop. Once the rice plants have germinated, 'eixugons' (water suppression for a few days) are carried out to combat algae. After the rice is harvested in September-October, it is dried, cleaned, milled and packaged.
The Regulatory Council of the Valencia Rice Designation of Origin was created in 1998 to guarantee the excellence of a product with more than 1,200 years of history, with great gastronomic projection within and beyond our borders, and to promote its enormous cultural and environmental value.
Rice is a food with a high starch content, which makes it an excellent source of energy. Its proteins have a higher yield than other cereals and it is a hypoallergenic and easily digestible food. The varieties grown in the rice fields of the Valencian Community are characterised by their great capacity to absorb flavour, which makes them ideal for the preparation of all kinds of dishes.
The Valencia Region has several natural wetlands, with the Albufera Natural Park being the largest with a surface area of 21,120 hectares. l'Albufera is one of the most representative coastal wetlands of the Mediterranean basin and is located just 10 km from the city of Valencia. Rice cultivation has a fundamental environmental value for the park, as it makes a decisive contribution to the conservation and development of birdlife and the entire ecosystem. Throughout the year, the enormous biodiversity of this protected natural space allows us to observe an important variety of flora and fauna.
Every year, coinciding with the rice harvest, the Fiesta de la Siega (Harvest Festival) is held in La Albufera. Prestigious chefs such as Bernd Knöller, Evaristo Miralles, Quique Barella and Pablo García Vernetta have analysed the behaviour of each variety of DO Valencia rice -sénia, bomba and albufera -, its capacity to absorb flavour and its expression in the kitchen through recipes that reflect the three ways of cooking the grain: broth, mellow and dry.