A Taste of Spain

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Spain’s geography and climate are ideal for olive cultivation. The olive tradition existed prior to the Roman domination of Spain, although it was the Romans who extended cultivation and developed oil production.

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More than 200 varieties of olives are grown in Spain. Each one has its own unique flavors and aromas. Extra-virgin olive oil is made from 100% olive juice. These oils are obtained when olives have reached optimum ripeness and the oil is pressed out solely through mechanical means. Extra-virgin olive oil is the highest quality among olive oil. Because the olives are free from defects and picked at peak ripeness, they have excellent flavor and aroma, providing a feast for the senses. Extra-virgin olive oil, besides being a source of monounsaturated fatty acids, provide natural antioxidants such as olive oil polyphenols and vitamin E, which have demonstrated their ability to reduce cholesterol, a risk factor of heart disease.

What is a Tapa?

A celebration of our way of socializing, sharing and living!

melon con jamon

A tapa is a small plate of food to accompany whatever you are drinking in a bar.  Something to nibble: simpler or more complex, smaller or bigger,.. depending on the type of establishment you choose. In northern Spain they are called ‘pinchos’ because many of them have ‘a pincho’ or toothpick through them. The toothpick is used to keep whatever the snack is made of from falling off and as well to keep track of the number of tapas the customer has eaten. Differently priced tapas have different shapes or have toothpicks of different sizes.

People in Spain go for tapas as an aperitivo before lunch during the weekends or something to snack on in the evening before dinner. Sometimes people feel like enjoying the classic Spanish tapas like jamón, tortilla, croquetas, olives, etc.. and others they prefer to enjoy a more modern fine dining approach to them. Whether modern or traditional, individual or for sharing, free or not.. the wonderful thing about Spanish tapas is that they are a celebration of who we are, the way we socialize and our love for enjoying live with our people.

Conservas: Yes we can!

Gourmet food from the Cantabrian Sea to your table.

conservas 3

Conserva means preserve in Spanish and it is an important part of Spanish gastronomy. The best quality seafood from the North of Spain are processed at the best of their freshness. Producers of these conservas take great pride in the quality of ingredients, including the oils and seasonings that blend with the food over time in the can.

They are in our opinion the easiest way to experience the quality of the seafood from the North being anywhere in the world. One mouthful, and they will take you to the coast of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria or even Basque Country.

These products are considered to be luxury foods that are typically served as tapas along with a glass of wine or vermouth. In fact there are restaurants that specialize in just conservas, either serving them straight from the can or even using them as ingredients in other elaborations.

If you have never try them, TRUST US they won’t dissapoint you. Once you give them a go you’ll never go back to anything different!

Where to find them in Australia?

Arroz: Spanish Rice

One of the most unknown products in Spanish gastronomy worldwide.

8971604 - rice sack isolated on white background

Close to 900,000 tons of rice are grown per year in Spain with three areas in eastern Spain holding a certificate of origin called Protected Designation of Origin or PDO.

  • Calasparra (Murcia) PDO.
  • Valencia PDO.
  • Delta del Ebro (Tarragona-Catalonia) PDO.

All rice produced in these PDO areas is of the species Oryza sativa L. and subspecies Japonica. Bomba rice is common to all three and without a doubt is the star of Spanish rice.

It is known for its nonstick properties due to its high amylose content. It is short grained with a pearly white color and a uniform consistency. One important property of bomba is its ability to absorb two or three times its volume in water without bursting. As a result, more water is needed to cook bomba than other similar varieties, and the grains of rice tend to hold their structure well after cooking.

These are some of the recipes you can make with this type of rice:

  • Arròz a banda, (rice on the side) is a dish of rice cooked in fish stock. It originated with the fishermen of Alicante, who sold off their best fish and kept the leftovers for stock, used to cook the rice. It is usually served with alioli.
  • Arròz negro (black rice) is a Valencian and Catalan dish made with cuttlefish or squid and rice. The traditional recipe for this dish is squid ink, cuttlefish or squid, white rice, garlic, peppers, paprika, olive oil, and seafood broth. The dish’s dark color comes from squid ink which also enhances its seafood flavor. Fideuà negra (“black noodles” in Catalan) is a variation made with noodles instead of rice and is usually served with aioli as well.
  • Arroz caldoso (brothy rice) is a dish that consists of broth and rice with diverse flavorings and extra ingredients. The recipe is quite varied depending on which region of the Iberian peninsula it is prepared.
  • Paella, a Valencian dish that has ancient roots but its modern form originated in the mid-19th century in the area around Albufera, Valencia. Many non-Spaniards view paella as Spain’s national dish, but most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish. Valencian paella is believed to be the original recipe.

Jamón

Types of Jamon? Serrano and Iberico.jamon-iberico-de-bellota-ecologico-pack-80-gr-madrygall

JAMÓN SERRANO

Jamón Serrano comes from the white pig. The color varies from pink to purple tones. Mild flavor, slightly salty and pleasant aroma. It is also homogeneous and has slightly fibrous texture. Compared to the Iberian, aroma, flavor, and texture are slightly softer.

There are 3 main types of Serrano:

– Bodega: with a cure time between 9 and 12 months.

– Reserva: a curing time between 12 and 14 months.

– Gran Reserva: a curing time of more than 14 months. These are the best Spanish hams to be found in the market. The longer curing time allows hams to develop nuances of aroma and taste, and therefore guarantee of success.

JAMÓN IBÉRICO

The Iberian pig was introduced by the Phoenicians who interbred them with native wild boars so their color is darker than a Jamon Serrano. In Spanish, we called it Pata Negra, or the blackleg. The color of iberico ham goes from pink to purplish red. It has a slightly fibrous texture and fat infiltrations. The combination of the delicate flavor and intense aroma of this delicious food, makes it an attractive, indispensable product in every good gourmet table.

There are 3 main types of Jamón Ibérico are in accordance with the pigs’ diet, which obviously determines the quality:

– Jamón Ibérico de Bellota (acorn): The finest of all hams. Free range pigs that roam the oak forests. The meat is cured for at least 36 months.

-Jamón de Recebo: The pigs are pastured and fed a mixed diet of acorns and grain. The meat is cured for at least 24 months.

-Jamón Ibérico de Cebo: The pigs are fed on grain and the meat is cured for up to 24 months.

Pimentón or Spanish paprika.

A must-have in your pantry.

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Spanish paprika is used in many, many dishes in Spanish cuisine. The varieties of plants that are used to grow the peppers are only found in two Spanish regions. In fact, pimentón is considered so important as a unique high-quality product of Spain that it is protected by law – a D.O (appellation of origin) regulates the varieties allowed, cultivation, harvesting and production process.

This process produces different styles of pimentón, according to the plant varieties from which it was milled: the sweet and mild (dulce) version is highly popular in Spain and used in a wide variety of dishes. The bittersweet (agridulce) pimentón, which is moderately spicy and great for adding some fire to Spanish stews and soups. The fiery, hot (picante) pimentón is used in many dishes in the regions of Galica and Extremadura. And lastly, the smoky Pimenton de la Vera from the Caceres region, which has a wonderful smoky flavor produced from its unique drying process. The peppers are hung next to tobacco leaves and left to dry under holm oak fires. A great product that is produced in small amounts, under the meticulous care of growers who have worked these lands for decades.

Spain’s pimentón heritage is strictly protected by law and only the finest fruit is used to produce the various styles. It is an essential feature of Spain’s gastronomic tradition and a highly prized item by everyone, from the humble bar owner to the nation’s Michelin starred chefs.

Manchego cheese, DOP.

BREAKING NEWS about the most famous Spanish cheese in the world.

thumbnail_CMANCUR - Manchego Don Juan 12M 3Kg
Credit: El Colmado

Important changes are going to happen for one of the pillars of the Spanish cheese: Manchego, has changed their casein characteristic stamp. Check always for the casein stamp when you buy a Manchego. No casein Stamp means that you are buying a fake product. By law every cheese must include a casein stamp and even the portions has to include a little portion of the stamp. Please don’t buy imitation. Buy tradition.

thumbnail_El Colmado 150x Orange

Spanish saffron

The most expensive spice in the world

thumbnail_SAFINTER jar 1g.
Credit: El Colmado

Saffron, or in Spanish azafrán, is a spice that is obtained from the stigmas of a flower called Crocus Sativus Linnaeus, commonly known as Rose of saffron.

To obtain a kilogram it is necessary to collect by hand, mostly by the woman, the stigmas of more than 150,000 flowers.

The region of La Mancha is one of the few saffron production areas in Europe and the only one in Spain with an EU certification of its authenticity, called Denominación de Origen Protegida (DOP).

They are grades of Spanish saffron depending of the quality: coupé, mancha, rio or sierra, and you’ll see this clearly on the label.

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Rioja Wine

Spanish DNA in a bottle of red.

rioja glass
Credit: Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja

One of the most famous red wines in Spain is named after the province and autonomous community, La Rioja.

The three main regions of La Rioja are Alavesa, Alta and Baja with each area producing its own unique expression of the wine.

The wine is known for its structure and tannins, similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, but it also has a fruity characteristic. This is a wine perfect for a drinker who loves Cabernet.

When choosing to buy a Rioja, the most important thing to know is that the wine separates into four levels of classification, which depends on the amount of time the wine spends in oak.

The classification of each Rioja will be labeled clearly on the bottle: Rioja (the youngest), Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva (the oldest).

rioja labels

For more info go to https://saberquieneres.riojawine.com/en/

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