Juan Manuel Sanz /© ICEX
This rice comes from the Japonica variety. The grain is medium-length or short and has a greater capacity for absorbing aromas and flavors than Indica rice, so it is more flavorsome. Its texture, once cooked, is soft, smooth and moist.
Most of the round-grain rice grown in Spain stays on the domestic market, this being the most widely-consumed variety in Spain. It is mostly grown in Catalonia, the Valencian Community and Andalusia.
The two types of round-grain rice cultivated in Spain are Senia and Bahía, two relatively new native varieties. These broad, pearly grains are favored in the Spanish market because their composition ensures a creamy texture after cooking and absorption of the flavors from the cooking liquid. This quality is essential for many traditional recipes, especially paella.
Bomba rice is another traditional, native variety which, unlike others, swells instead of breaking up when over-cooked, retaining the starch and not becoming sticky. It is therefore much appreciated in catering. The grain is short and small and doubles in size when cooked.
These varieties are the basis for the two Spanish Designations of Origin for rice - Calasparra (Murcia) and Valencia, and for the Protected Geographical Indication Arroz Delta del Ebro (Tarragona, in Catalonia).