© Denzil Green
Valencia Rice is rice that is grown in Valencia, Spain. Valencia is a seaport in Spain; Valencia is also the name of the province that that city is in.
Note that the term is a geographic one, indicating a region of origin, rather than indicating a specific cultivar or variety of rice.
The most well-known rice cultivars that may be referred to as Valencia rice as Bahia, Bomba, and Senia. These are medium short-grain rices.
Rice isn’t native the area, or even to Spain — it appears to have been introduced by Arabs in the 800s. An entire ecosystem, however, has grown up around it now. The main growing area for Valencia rice is a marshland national park named Albufera. There, wildlife live amongst it and feed off it, and in return help to reseed the crops. The birds also keep down populations of insects such as mosquitos which otherwise might thrive in the marshy land and cause malaria.
Valencia Rice is primarily known for its use in Paella — thus the term is often used synonymously with Paella Rice. It can be used for many other things, though: croquettes, desserts, soups, stews, stuffings, etc, and specifically Arroz con Polla (rice with chicken), etc.
Three rices from Valencia have Spanish “Denominación de Origen” (“DO”) status: Bahia, Bomba and Senia.
Note that only 6% of Spanish rice production is long grain rice, much of which is grown in the Andalucía area.
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.