Spanish cuisine is not necessarily spicy, but that doesn’t mean these dishes don’t have any spices for flavor. You can find pimenton de la Vera, or Spanish smoked paprika, in many delicious plates. The oldest brand of Spanish smoked paprika from La Vera is ‘La Dalia’. Just like the long and interesting history of el pimenton, La Dalia has a heartwarming past that continues to provide amazing spices to this day.
The peppers came to Spain in 1493 from the New World
The pepper for paprika was introduced to Spain from the new world by Christopher Columbus in 1493. Like many new discoveries, the peppers were offered to the Catholic kings in the monastery of Guadalupe. The Hieronymite monks began to garden these peppers and spread the cultivation to their fellow convents, leading them to the monastery of Yuste in the region of La Vera. From here the peppers were also introduced to more monasteries in the province of Murcia, where cultivation also took place. In Murcia, the autumn is dry, so the peppers dehydrate in the sun. However, in Extremadura, where La Vera is located, the winters are humid so oakwood fires are used to dry the peppers. As a result, this gives them their characteristic smokey aroma. This explains the difference in taste between La Vera’s smoked paprika and Murcia’s not smoked paprika.
The history of La Dalia
To talk more about this tin can, we have to go back 100 years…
He says: “But to talk more about this tin can, we have to go back 100 years…”
In 1913, José María’s grandfather (Valeriano Hernandez), had an entrepreneurial spirit and soon dedicated his life’s passion to the preparation of paprika. The name, La Dalia, is significant and has a romantic backstory. Valeriano proposed to his wife with a dahlia flower and, in the spirit of creating a family-owned business, decided to name his company in this memory.
Valeriano’s knowledge of the land, sticking to tradition, and hard work has earned the company various medals and awards. The company strives to produce pure paprika for their costumers. In doing so, they are distinguished with the quality guarantee provided by the Protected Designation of Origin (DO).
La Dalia has promised quality and authenticity to their loyal clients and have kept this promise as well as gradually introducing their product to a global market. This is possible due to keeping the traditional processes and passing the knowledge of pimentón from parent to children for four generations now!
Why the pimenton from La Vera “La Dalia” is so unique
La Dalia has maintained and kept the old traditions of paprika production to ensure high quality. From hand picking the peppers to the slow drying process with oakwood fire, this attention to small detail gives the paprika that special aroma and color to make it unique in the world market. These great qualities have led to La Dalia being a Protected Designation of Origin product.
How the Smoked paprika “La Dalia” is made
Extremadura has the perfect weather conditions to grow the red peppers. Along with a good irrigation system and plenty of rivers. The peppers are harvested in September and October and then go through a long drying process. This can take up to 15 days in an adobe or brick shed over a wood fire. Oakwood is preferred because it doesn’t produce flames, allowing the heat to come from coals. The dehydration process is crucial in order for the peppers to obtain a smokey aroma and maintain their red color. This is exactly the trademark that La Dalia maintains, which gives their paprika an exclusive and distinct taste from other brands.
The last step is to transfer the dehydrated peppers to the stone mill for crushing. The peppers are crushed around 4 or 5 times to obtain the fine powder consistency. Interesting fact, La Dalia is an original brand that still uses the traditional method of stone mills (the same ones that the grandfather installed in 1920!) to achieve the characteristic, fine rust-red color powder. They manufacture the pimenton in small packaging that is famous for its bright colors to highlight traditional images.
How to use Pimenton
This spice is so versatile that you can incorporated it in almost any meal! This is because there are three types of pimenton: sweet, bittersweet, and spicy. All of them have a smoked taste.
Our favorite is the sweet paprika because it has a soft taste suitable for sprinkling on top of eggs or adding some color to any dish. Also, it has a smokey flavor perfect for paella.
These different types of pimenton pair nicely with the Mediterranean diet because they add additional flavor to any recipe. We love to experiment in the kitchen by adding a dash of pimentón to any traditional dish. Feel free to join us in creating foods bursting with flavor by supporting La Dalia de la Vera!
Here, you can watch a video about Valeriano’s family story. It presents the history of a family dedicated for more than a century to the manufacture of DO smoked paprika and natural spices. A summary of the commitment to the culture of a people who have a passion for excellent products. In this video, you will not only appreciate the legend created around La Dalia. You will also enjoy the power of their Pimenton de la Vera. The magic is in the kitchen!
If you have any questions or doubts, write to us and we will be happy to answer you!