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Latin Mamas Paella Party

05 June 2014

With members representing Spain, Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, Argentina, Cuba, and even some “fake” Spanish from the UK and Romania, the Latin Mamas paella stall is not only a favourite food stall at the annual Summer Festival, but also one of the biggest fundraisers on the day. Sonia Castro, whose kitchen was the venue for today’s cook up says, “Anyone who speaks Spanish and is comfortable with us is welcome.”

To hugs, kisses and lots of good-natured laughter, the ladies got to work cutting onions, carrots, peppers, pork and chicken, in preparation for filling the huge paella pots that will feed the masses this Saturday.

The paella cook-up has become a tradition for the Latin Mamas, bringing women from many Latin cultures to prepare this quintessential Spanish dish that originated near Valencia in the mid-19th century.

Of course, the secret to their success is in the recipe which has been devised especially for Summer Festival. Sonia explains, “It’s the Summer Festival recipe because we use chicken, pork and vegetables. In Spain, you have different paella with seafood, but we use ingredients that are easy to find and safe.”

The pre-prepared ingredients are cooked with organic Chinese rice similar to the traditional Spanish rice, a special chicken stock direct from Spain, and the essential saffron. Even the paella pans have been brought from Spain.

Just as the Summer Festival has grown to become a huge summer bash, the Latin Mamas own membership has grown and, along with it, the amount they have raised from their stall to be donated to charity. The first stall in 2007 was run by just four families, while 26 mamas are involved this year. From 10,600RMB in 2010, the funds raised reached a whopping 20,200RMB last year, an impressive sum but one which brings with it some pressure.

Long-term mama, Marcia Calvi, who was one of the original four families says, “It’s hard. We need to beat that record!”

The Latin Mamas, who also sell quesadillas, nachos, ice cream, sangria and beer on the day, say long-term sponsors are one of the secrets to their success. While “seed” funding each year comes from the individual members, all of the tortillas and corn chips are donated by Mission, while the Corona beer is donated by Inbev, and ice creams by Unilever. The result is that 100 percent of the price of the food and drinks is donated directly to charity.

To our BISS Pudong Latin Mamas – Sonia, Claudia R, Maricarmen, Marcia, Nicola, Cecilia, Marcela, Lorena, Carolina, Sole, Ale R, Andrea, Paulina, Gloria, Rosalinda, Patricia, Ale L, Fernanda, Valeria, Claudia N, Ana, Begona, Patty, Silvia, Agnes and Danay – thank you for the preparation and we all look forward to tasting the results at Summer Festival.

Summer Festival is on Saturday 7 June from 3-8pm.