Pimentón de la Vera, the smoked paprika of Spain is made from several varieties of red capsicums or peppers. The ripe capsicums are placed on racks above an oak-wood fire, and are flipped-over daily by their respective growers, so that they are evenly roasted on both sides. This venerable old drying procedure usually endures for two weeks.
Once fully dried, the capsicum-stems and most of the peppers’ cores are removed. Then, these sweet, smoky-flavoured red capsicums are ground slowly in traditional stone mills which are now powered by electricity. The resulting paprika or pimentón is packed in rectangular spice cans and distributed to markets in Spain and around the world. The price for 70 grams of smoked paprika imported from Spain to the United States lies anywhere between five and fifteen USD, depending upon the purveyor. Pimentón de la Vera is available on-line at Amazon.com as well as at La Tienda. Pimentón is nearly always a component of Spanish paella, and is an excellent spice-rub, imparting an interesting, piquant barbecue flavour to various meats. The oak-wood smoking process used in La Vera, Spain, gives their paprika a very special, unique quality.
©M-J de Mesterton