On Valencian Community Day, the city turns to, well, community activities. Fairs, races, and family events go well with the mild weather that Valencia offers. On this particular day, two things emerged on my calendar: a medieval “fair” and a baked rice cookoff. I arrived early to get a table with five other friends, including two Brits, two South Americans, and two North Americans. Conveniently, the medieval fair was right beside the cookoff!

This event was held at the same place as the ensaladilla russa cookoff, a lovely restaurant called Cafe Museu. This time, however, the competition was for baked rice, a dish called arroz al horno. Say it with me: arROTH al ORno. Usually laden with all sorts of meat and sausages, I was unable to get any pictures of the dishes because there were so many people. Instead, I sat at the table with my friends, who enjoyed the event quite a bit.

For three euros, you could get two servings of rice, a drink, and a vote on the winning dish. Before and after, it was pleasant to stroll along the medieval fair to see some of the sights there, too. This was truly an excellent way to spend an afternoon.

Oh, one other thing: The lady in the costume is my friend Bárbara, a local artist who often organizes civic events. We call her Doña Bárbara for a reason… she is a good friend with a great deal of talent. You will notice that the center of her belt is, quite appropriately, a paella. Such style!

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