Right at the start of the food section of Fremantle Markets is the most incredible smell. It's a combination of spices and flavours and just general food items that wafts around to curl you enticingly.
While Jeremy and I have spent the day eating, we can't help but get drawn in by just how good it smells. And the obvious line at Ole Paella, indicates that this seems to be the culprit behind the aroma. There's more people than I can count waiting in front of this stall, all walking away with steaming piles of paella and big grins. Unfortunately we miss out on this serving so we take a seat to watch them finish off the next batch that is currently cooking - wild mushroom paella. It doesn't sound as exciting as the chorizo, squid and sweet corn one, but we're still very keen to try it.
The way they cook the paella at this stall, it's clear to see how they are a corporate function or event catering company. The pans are huge and the grills even bigger. It's paella on a large scale and the scents are almost overwhelming.
When we get our serving, I'm pleasantly surprised by how big it is for only $10. The taste isn't quite like your traditional paella since it's missing the overly saffron taste and the lovely crust that forms on the bottom of the pan. This is more like a risotto mixed with paella - somewhere between the two. But the taste is warming; the rice plump and creamy. The selection of mushrooms used is varied and I like the contrasting woody tastes and textures.
The beginning of paella
It looks like hot work for the ladies attending the stand, but with three different paellas all on the go at different cooking stages, I can see why. It's really interesting sitting next to the pans and watching them in action. You can understand why there's so many people hanging around, all waiting for the next lot to be served.
The paella under way