05 May 2022
Paprika has been a go-to addition in recipes for centuries and is one of the world's most popular spices. It is the spice which gives chorizo its red hue, makes a goulash soup so hearty and rich and it adds that spicy kick to a Spanish paella or patatas bravas.
From central Mexico to Southern Europe
Paprika is a ground spice that is made from the dried sweet peppers of the plant Capsicum annuum. Our paprika is produced and harvested in Spain but 500 years ago paprika was quite literally half a world away. The sweet peppers used to make paprika are native to central Mexico. It was the renowned Italian explorer, Christopher Columbus, who can be thanked for bringing these luscious peppers to European shores.
When the peppers arrived in Europe they became hugely popular and quickly made their way to Hungary, where it became a household ingredient, and is where the name "Paprika" first came from. The peppers that remained in Spain were cultivated by a convent of monks, the same order who still make the most coveted paprika in all of Spain to this day.
Sweet, spicy & smoky, with a rich heritage
Spanish Paprika is naturally sweet and spicy, and traditional techniques add an incredible smokiness to the spice. Our special Pimentón de La Vera smoked paprika is produced using these old methods, where the spicy-sweet peppers are hand-turned and slowly smoked over oak for up to 15 days. This unique process is used to intensify the natural colour and flavour of the spice.
This method was developed by the monks of the La Vera region in the 17th century and results in a beautifully rich deep-red Paprika with a distinctive, smoky, bittersweet flavour. This exclusive heritage has earned this paprika Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status.
The unique soil and climate of the La Vera region also means that the peppers grown are high in carotene, a pigment which gives them the iconic red colour. This colour is graded according to a scale known as ASTA. All our paprika is graded as 120 ASTA as standard - a rating which is classified as premium quality.
A store cupboard essential
Paprika really can be used in a great many ways. Whether it be to add a spicy kick, a delicate sweetness, to enhance colour or to add a vibrant smokiness. It is one of the worlds wonder spices and a kitchen cupboard truly isn’t complete without it.
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