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Viva España!

Viva España!

Spain offers so much to its millions of yearly visitors, and when foodies travel to Spain, they come back craving all of the exquisite gourmet foods they ate with abandon while there. Each region in Spain has its well known dishes and treats, and while these Spanish delicacies can be found at every food market in the country, many travelers often wonder why they have to make such an effort to locate them when they get back home. These edibles leave quite an impression – and frequent cravings have been reported! Two of the most famous foods, jamon y queso (ham and cheese), are in a class by themselves and are universally considered to be required eating while in Spain. So where do these foods come from and what makes them so special?

Jamon Iberico (Iberico Ham)

Few other foods represent authentic Spanish cuisine like Jamon Iberico. The most famous of the Spanish hams comes from the province of Huelva, which is in the southern part of the autonomous community of Andalucía. Close to the Portuguese border and with a generous coastline, Huelva is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for sun, scenery, and great food! You can hike in the largest park in Andalusia to burn off some of those delicious calories, or go for a run on the white sandy beaches. But you can’t miss the opportunity to see how Jamon Iberico is cured. Be sure to visit the epicenter of its production for over 100 years at Cinco Jotas in Jabugo.

The Cinco Jotas brand is world renowned for its quality. The black-footed pig that feasts on acorns in the inner forests of Jabugo guarantees an exquisite product. The skill and care taken during the curating process, which can take several years, requires decades of experience and an attention to detail that reflects passion and tradition. Nothing is left to chance as skilled artisans expertly find the perfect balance of humidity and temperature in the curing cellars. As an added bonus, this Spanish ham is good for you! Cinjo Jotas Jamon Iberico is truly a feast for the senses.

When you get your Iberico ham, try this fabulous soup recipe using two 70 g packages of Cinco Jotas Ham:

For the soup:

Chestnuts 200g

Chicken Broth 1 Litre

Salt To Taste

For the stew:

Fresh mushrooms 2 units

Dehydrated morel mushrooms 8 units

Kale 2 bunches

Chicken Broth 1 L

Garlic 1 clove

Salt To taste

To prepare the base of the soup, cut each chestnut with a cross shape, blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds, and peel. Place the peeled chestnuts into a pot with the chicken broth and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes. Mix the soup in a blender and add salt. Put this mixture aside for later.

Take the Cinco Jotas Ibérico ham out of the refrigerator and leave aside at room temperature.

For the mushroom and kale stew, boil the dehydrated morel mushrooms for 10 minutes (after having washed them well), drain, and put aside. Wash and unevenly chop the fresh mushrooms and kale. Mince the garlic, sauté it for a few seconds in olive oil, and then add the mushrooms. Sauté the mixture for a minute or so, then add the kale and chicken broth, stirring along the way. Cook the whole mixture for two more minutes and add salt to taste.

Manchego Cheese

A perfect complement to Spanish Iberico ham, Manchego cheese has the added benefit of being high in protein, but low in lactose. It is a full-bodied and very versatile cheese that is produced in Castilla La Mancha, another vibrant autonomous community in central Spain.

When visiting this storied region of the country, Cervantes and his masterpiece Don Quixote immediately comes to mind. In addition to the sites associated with this timeless novel, Castilla La Mancha also boasts several amazing castles and cathedrals, as well as geological wonders in the form of the rock formations of Ciudad Encantada. You can’t miss a trip to the ancient city of Cuenca. But the jewel in the crown of Castilla La Mancha is its imperial city, Toledo. A UNESCO world heritage site, this city has the impressive Alcazar fortress, mosques and synagogues as well as a gorgeous cathedral, and many famous museums including the El Greco museum.

And like every other city in Spain, you can’t leave without eating as much Manchego cheese as you can! Award winning Gran Valle Manchego Cheese is a good place to start.

Gran Valle Manchego comes from a dairy in La Mancha that produces only sheep cheese and this specialization means they know how to do it perfectly. Gran Valle ages its cheeses so that the Manchego taste shines through and they guarantee that every block of cheese has been aged at least three months, and sometimes even a year. The sheep that produce this rich cheese wander freely and graze the pastures, ingesting only what Mother Nature had intended. They are of the highest quality, and therefore produce cheese of the highest quality. When you pair your Manchego cheese with a slice of jamon Iberico, you’ll be transported to food heaven, but also try this recipe and see if the unique flavor Manchego cheese produces a winning dish.

Potato Scallion Frittata with Manchego Cheese

Ingredients

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 white onion, finely chopped

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

2 cups thinly sliced cooked potatoes

18 large eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika, preferably pimentón de la Vera

6 ounces Manchego cheese, shredded (2 cups)

Serves 8-10

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a 12-inch, nonstick ovenproof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the scallions and potatoes and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and swirl to coat the pan with oil.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the cream, salt and paprika. Pour the eggs into the skillet, add half of the cheese and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the side of the frittata begins to set, about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, lift the side of the frittata away from the pan to allow the uncooked egg to seep underneath. Cook over moderate heat until the side is browned, about 6 minutes.

Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese and bake the frittata for about 14 minutes, until set. Turn on the broiler and broil the frittata for 1 to 2 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. Slide the frittata onto a large plate and let stand for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.