Bomba and Calasparra rice are types of paella rice.
They are grown around the town of Calasparra, in Spain in the Murcia mountains neighbouring Valencia. The rice is grown along the Segura River, which brings cold water from the top of the mountains. The water passes through the paddies; its coldness slows the growth of the rice down so that it grows one-third more slowly than other rice, and produces rice kernels that are drier than other rice kernels.
Bomba rice will only expand in width, not in length, as other grains of rice will. The rice can absorb three times its volume in liquid (other rice will absorb two times.) Consequently, the ratio of liquid used for these two rices is 3 to 1, instead of 2 to 1.
Owing to this, though it is well known as a rice for paella dishes, it is also equally valued as being good in soups.
Bomba rice sells for about $17.00 to 20.00 US/kilo (2020 prices) and Calasparra rice (also called Ballila Sollana) costs about $10.00 US/kilo (2020 prices.)
Bomba now has PDO status.
Bomba is its own actual variety of rice; Calasparra is the variety of rice called “Balilla.” ”Balilla rice from Calasparra, sold with the Denomination of Origin seal on it, can cost two to three times as much as the same variety grown elsewhere in Spain.” — Weinzweig, Ari. Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003 Page 179.
Neither Bomba nor Calasparra rice will become starchy with cooking.
Another paella rice.
The Bomba variety was in danger of dying out, owing to the labour-intensive production methods required and the resultant high price, but it has been revived by demand from chefs and foodies.
Harpham, Zoë. The Essential Rice Cookbook. Murdoch Books, 2004
Miller, Laurel. In Spain, paella is all about the rice. California: Oakland Tribune. 13 April 2005.
Wittenberg, Margaret M. New Good Food: Essential Ingredients for Cooking and Eating Well. Pages 55 – 56.
|↑1||”Balilla rice from Calasparra, sold with the Denomination of Origin seal on it, can cost two to three times as much as the same variety grown elsewhere in Spain.” — Weinzweig, Ari. Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003 Page 179.|