One of the most important reasons for our last trip to Spain was to learn about smoked paprika and, above all, to choose a good supplier that had a product of a high enough quality for our valued customers. I’m pleased to say that I achieved this.
I learned everything I wanted and more about paprika; about its production in the region of La Vera, about the people of La Vera, and (how could I not) I tasted some of the very best recipes made with paprika along the way.
The cultivation of peppers for paprika was introduced in La Vera in the sixteenth century by the Jeronimo monks of the Yuste monastery.
Tradition and wisdom go hand in hand, and the infinite calm of the monastery is the most precious treasure the Jeronimos could give to the senses. In La Vera, the peppers used for paprika enjoy a privileged microclimate for its natural development; rocked by the rugged peaks of Gredos, along with the courses of the gorges and the fertile plains bathed by the river Tiétar.
The peppers grown are of the species ‘ Capsicum annuum ‘, and the cerasiforme and longum sub-species that give rise to three types of paprika:
Sweet, Sweet & Sour and Spicy.
The paprika is obtained from the pressing of ripe and dry peppers. These peppers are dried with oak wood, giving the required heat for perfect dehydration of fruits, which gives the paprika its three main characteristics: AROMA, COLOR STABILITY and FLAVOUR. AROMA and FLAVOUR: Is obtained thanks to the traditional system of smoke-drying. COLOUR STABILITY: a consequence of the high degree of fixation of carotenes that occurs in Capsicum along with its cultivation in the microclimate of La Vera, and the drying process.
In Cuacos de Yuste, I had the opportunity to meet the Lopez family. They opened the doors of their factory, and allowed me to see firsthand all the production processes of this precious product. A family business of three generations, the company was founded in 1940 by Mr. Salvador Lopez, later was his son Mr. Miguel Lopez and finally is the granddaughter of the founder, Mrs. Alicia Lopez who manages the company and bringing the Smoked Paprika to the worldwide.
Mr. Lopez devoted all the time in the world to explain each step in the production of paprika. For me, it is a product that I have always felt some passion for, as my friends know well. Stew with smoked paprika is very special, but now, after seeing its origin, I have to say that I have a new love. Paprika and I will, in some way, be forever united!
Tradition and innovation come together in this factory to name one of the best smoked peppers in the world. La Vera paprika, Las Hermanas which come in three varieties; Sweet, Sweet & Sour and Spicy.
You can not speak of paprika without knowing the region of La Vera, without feeling peace when visiting the monastery of Yuste, without a tour of their gorges, strolling through their villages and breathing in the pure air of its mountains.
I felt very privileged, and after a visit to factory and the consequent meeting to agree our terms and conditions, I was shown some of the beautiful sites and sights in the area. I was very lucky and can see firsthand withMrs. Alicia Lopez the best sites in the area.
I highly recommend you visit sites like the monastery of Yuste , the small village of Garganta la Olla , where you will just have to make a compulsory stop at The House of the Inquisition – a fantastic Museum which explains in detail the harshness of the Inquisition and its methods of torture! But those times are in the past! To regain your energy on your trip, make sure you stop to eat in the restaurant La Finca . As well as a carefully selected selection of fine wines, you will have the opportunity to taste some fantastic food. My recommendation is that you ask for the Presa Iberica with potatoes and slices of Iberian ham. Simply amazing!
I want to say thanks to the lopez family and especially to Alicia for your time and for teaching me the best of La Vera. I am absolutely in love!
A new love has been created, and soon we will have the best paprika from La Vera LAS HERMANAS over here in the UK.