The irresistible scents of steaming seafood, cooking rice, saffron and chorizo enticed a hungry crowd gathered at Gaucho Gourmet today for Viva Paella.
The event offered tastes for devotees of the famous rice dish who came and watched demonstrations by a chefs with the Chefs Cooperative, tasted everything — then shopped for paella cookware and ingredients, or whatever they had on their lists.
The warehouse setting of Gaucho Gourmet, at 935 Isom Road, draws chefs, cooks and serious foodies and shoppers every Saturday. But this week, Viva Paella offered an especially appealing draw judging by dozens of folks who squeezed into the store’s back room.
The participating chefs included Steven Paprocki, Chris Cook, Jeff White, Issac Cantu, James Canter and Tyler Horstmann. Leslie Horne, owner of Aurelia’s Chorizo, fried up samples of her spicy Spanish sausage, as well.
Link here for the Texas Quail, Chorizo and Mushroom Paella recipe from Aurelia’s Chorizo owner Leslie Horne.
Canter is a three-time winner of the San Antonio Corona Paella Challenge at the Pearl and demonstrated a seafood paella packed with gleaming mussels in the shells and finished off with squid ink and green peas. Visit here for more information on the Pearl paella challenge.
The chefs also prepared a traditional paella, showing the vibrant yellow color of the its characteristic spice, saffron. A less traditional paella, a gumbo paella, packed in shrimp as well as chicken and chicken livers, giving it a bit of a Cajun dirty rice flavor and texture.
Luciano Ciorciari and helpers at the warehouse, warehouse, also supplied a long table with everything a cook might need for making the dish, including paella in a multitude of sizes, small glass jars holding envelopes of saffron, cooking utensils, terracotta dishes and more.
In the main room of the store, a cheese demonstration was another crowded station. Cheese will be in the spotlight at another warehouse tasting soon, Ciorciari said. Special imports are on their way from Italy for that, but freshly made burratta was available, as always, in a basket next to the deli area — selling out fast. Coffee samples were also available from Susan Jaime’s Ferra Coffee.
GauchoGourmet’s regular warehouse opening hours during the week are Mon-Fri, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. On Saturdays, they are going to be open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Lunch is served 10.30 a.m. -2 p.m. and the deli will close at 2.30 p.m. For more information go to the website here or phone 210-277-7930
Photographs by Bonnie Walker and John Griffin