Inside our sourcebook of Spanish ingredients

FM RM IMAGE V9 BLOG

We take as much care in sourcing our ingredients as we do in preparing them, and we’re proud of the stories and makers behind our star Spanish products. We’ve selected producers who insist on preserving traditions that have been handed down over centuries, resulting in the most sustainable products of the highest quality. Take a gastronomic tour of Spain through five of our most prized ingredients:

Our olive oil comes from the Jaén province of Andalusia, known as the “World Capital of Olive Oil” for its 60 million olive trees providing 60 percent of Spanish production and 20 percent of global production. Whether used to sauté vegetables or to finish a dish, our “liquid gold” is raw and first cold pressed, retaining its full flavour and nutritional value under the most minimal processing.

Our bonito — the prized white tuna of northern Spain — is from Bermeo, a small fishing village on the Basque coast. Conservas Serrats have been fishing and canning there using artisanal methods since 1890. They are known not only for the quality of their fish, but for respecting the traditional practice of fishing one-by-one, which protects the seabed and prevents bycatch. At Conservas Serrat, everything is done by hand, from the cleaning to the packing of the fish.

Our first press, raw vinagre de Jerez, or sherry vinegar, comes from the family-run Ximénez-Spinola bodega in Andalusia. Founded in 1729, this wine producer is known for producing fine sherries and vinegar using natural methods. Their vinegar is taken directly from the oak casks where it was aged and bottled with no further treatment. As representatives of the perfect blend of climate and soil of the “Sherry Triangle” area, Spinola’s products carry the Denominación de Origen Protegida, Spain’s seal of approval for its highest-quality food and wine.

To find our rich, buttery Idiazábal cheese, Chef Roberto went directly to the source: shepherds in the Etxarri village in the Navarre region of Spain. Here, the Bikain dairy live up to their name (“bikain” means “excellent” in the Basque language) by producing award-winning raw-milk cheeses from their own sheep.

We can thank the free-roaming, pure-bred black pigs of the Extremadura region for our jamón ibérico de bellota, or cured ham. While wandering the oak forests of western Spain, these pigs feast on acorns, which impart a nutty flavour to the melt-in-your-mouth richness of the meat. This acorn diet and free-range lifestyle leads to healthier pigs, which leads to a healthier ham — the bellota variety has more omega-3 fatty acids than standard ham. Our ham is cured in the traditional way, with real salt and no nitrates, for 36 months.

Share: Facebook Twitter Google+