When the Rotary Club of Zihuatanejo was considering a theme for its annual fundraiser, it wanted to do something different.
It hit on the idea of staging a paella festival, mainly because it would be unlike all the other gastronomical events in the area. Besides, it would be a great way to introduce the traditional Spanish favorite to the Pacific coast resort.
Held February 1 on the municipal beach in front of the archaeology museum and set against the backdrop of a cruise ship that happened to be docked there that evening, the second annual edition of the Paella Festival was a magical and tasty experience for the 360 people that attended.
The committee invited various restaurants and four major hotels to whip up their best version of the saffron-infused rice dish from Valencia. Aside from the traditional paella of seafood and/or chicken, there were vegetarian options as well.
The beneficiary of this year’s event was the Neonatal Intensive Therapy Unit and the toco-surgery area of the General Hospital of Zihuatanejo. The hospital’s wish list ran up a hefty price tag of 600,000 pesos and included a special crib for premature babies.
“Everything related to the paella festival was donated,” says organizer Claudia De Leon Mederos, from the cutlery, plates and flowers to the wines and, of course, the 23 different paellas provided by 11 businesses.
For last year’s event, the municipality contributed 40,000 pesos to the cause for a grand total of 200,000 pesos. A silent auction was added and various business contributed with gift certificates and products — another example of how important the cause is to the city.
Mederos says she has every reason to believe that the proceeds from this year’s fundraiser will exceed last year’s, given the generous contributions from the community, and that over time everything on the hospital’s list will be purchased.
Mexico News Daily
CORRECTION: The previous version of this story contained incorrect information regarding the beneficiary of the festival.