Just like the clacking castanets, pimentón de La Vera is an intrinsic component of the Spanish identity. This essential ingredient lends a ruddy colour to meat stews such as goulash and adds a natural, earthy smokiness to lamb, chicken and fish dishes. The process of drying and smoking paprikas begins in autumn when the vine-ripened pimientos are harvested by hand. The fruit is then dried over smouldering oak for two weeks, and during that time paprikas are hand turned every twenty-four hours. At the mills, the fruit is pulverised for up to nine hours in a carefully conducted operation designed to bring out its natural flavours and pigments. To make your taste buds sing, try some smoky split pea and carrot soup, enjoy the paella a la Valenciana, or drizzle some smoked paprika vinaigrette over grilled meats and vegetables.
Packed with vitamins, iron and beta-carotene, which lighten complexion and inhibit the occurrence of freckles and age spots, paprika is also rich in capsaicin, known to have the ability to relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure. If you’re looking to increase your energy levels, the magic dust of smoked paprika will help alleviate fatigue, improve your mood and make you feel alive again!