The iconic showman stars in a video with his particular humour as part of the Intercun campaign, where he insists on the importance of including this deeply-rooted ingredient in popular recipes.Spain is the leading producer of rabbit meat in the EU and the fourth largest in the world, a food that stands out for its flavour, nutritional benefits and gourmet status in haute cuisine.

Each person’s true homeland has to do with those everyday elements that he or she considers to be his or her own and inalienable. They may be very small, but inside they feel very big. These include Sunday rituals, meals with friends and, in the case of all Valencians, the traditional recipe of paella. A territorial dish with an unparalleled cultural value, which is often threatened by the alteration of the classic ingredients. So much so that Joan Monleón, iconic regional television presenter in the 1990s, has had to return from beyond the grave to remind us that there is an essential element in the preparation of these rice dishes: rabbit meat. An ingredient which, in the words of this recognisable figure, “li dona tot el gustet a la paella”. Because without rabbit, there is no paella.

Behind the campaign to promote the consumption of this meat that is so deeply rooted in traditional recipes, in traditional cuisine and with incomparable nutritional values, is Intercun, a non-profit inter-professional organisation that represents producers and marketers in the rabbit sector throughout Spain. Its aim is to inform consumers of the nutritional benefits, without forgetting the flavour component, and at the same time to remind them of the sentimental value it has in traditional recipes throughout Spain. Specifically in the case of Valencia, to renounce rabbit is to renounce a part of this ancestral heritage, since generation after generation, paella has been prepared using this meat. Hence the use of a figure like Monleón, who is tremendously emotive among a whole generation, to underline this.

The Valencian showman, who after a long career in music, film and theatre, achieved great popularity on regional television, directed a highly rated family programme, where one of the favourite attractions was the prize draw through the game of ‘La paella rusa’ (Russian paella). He died in 2009, but the AI allows us to recreate his figure descending from the sky, to emphasise that #SinConejoNoEsPaella. A campaign slogan that has been joined by various artists, opinion leaders and influencers on their social networks, as well as the most popular chefs in the region. All of them are aware of the need to win back consumers who have stopped eating rabbit, but also to win over new followers who link this meat to enjoyment, traditional dishes and family days out.

In order to inform all consumers of the importance of including rabbit meat in the diet, and of course in key dishes such as paella, the campaign will be visible in the main large-scale distribution chains, as well as in the retail channel. In addition, until the month of July, and in these establishments, shoppers will be playing with the iconic ‘paella rusa’ in a particular way. So much so that, with the purchase of this product, they will enter a draw to “win 5,000 pessetes” and a paella for ten friends.

 Emotional and rational consumption

Spain is the leading producer of rabbit meat in the EU and the fourth largest in the world, behind only China, North Korea and Egypt. This is also why rabbit meat is an identifying ingredient of Spanish gastronomy in its different regions. For some time now, however, consumption has fallen among the younger generations, threatening to impoverish the cultural heritage. Currently, its sales are equivalent to 6% of the consumption of chicken meat, and 65% of its buyers are over 50 years old. Intercun therefore aims to familiarise young people with the flavour of this unique product, linked to culinary and emotional tradition. Special emphasis is placed on Valencia, one of the areas with the highest consumption in Spain, where the meat is particularly available in the summer months.


As we have been saying, the consumption of rabbit is closely linked to regional dishes and traditional gastronomic culture. Just think of rabbit Rioja-style, Biscayan-style, chilindrón (Navarre), llauna-style (Catalonia) or salmorejo (Aragon and the Canary Islands). Each region has its own inherited idea, and among them, Valencian chicken and rabbit paella is an iconic dish on an international scale, even if we find somewhat sporadic adaptations all over the world. Without rabbit there is no paella, because its intense flavour is irreplaceable for those who know how to appreciate it, which is why it is a meat that is widely used in haute cuisine and is considered a gourmet product. At the same time, it is easy to cook at home, thanks to the new cuts and formats.

It is a white meat of excellent nutritional quality, as it has a large quantity of proteins of high biological value and low levels of fat, calories, uric acid, purines and sodium. However, according to surveys, the reasons for consumption continue to be “taste” and “pleasure”, without taking into account that it is the most nutritious of the “big 6” meats. Finally, it should be stressed that rabbit meat is a meat of the cooker, whose consumption is considerably higher in areas with a high gastronomic culture. It is no coincidence that its main market is the northern half of Spain, which is also the half with the highest concentration of Michelin stars. Apart from haute cuisine, its importance in popular gastronomy has to do with the ancestral love of good food. It speaks of the pleasure of cooking with time and care.

Without rabbit, it is not paella. But without rabbit, neither are many other things. This is the tastiest of the healthy meats, and the healthiest of the tasty ones. A food that is enjoyed wherever it is cooked with love and that brings a unique flavour to dishes.   A unique culinary product that makes us who we are and perpetuates a legacy. Joan Monleón had to come and remind us of this, but deep down, we already knew it.

Click on link to see the video:


Report by ‘24/7 Valencia’ team

Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’

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