When I think of the cuisine of Spain one of the first things that inevitably comes to mind is Spanish Ham or jamón. While the word jamón in Spanish simply means ham, amongst English speakers it is specifically a reference to cured ham from Spain. Available in two primary varieties, jamón serrano (ham from the sierra or mountain) and jamón ibérico (ham that is at least 75% black Iberian pig) of the two the ibérico has a higher fat content when compared to serrano giving it a richer taste. Fortunately for us one purveyor, La Tienda, is providing us with a means to acquire not only these great Spanish hams but also many other Spanish foods and house wares. Keep reading to find out more.
Much to my surprise while making squid ink gnocchi last week I realized that I would require squid ink. This sent me to every local store I could think of and even to some that I couldn’t, but all in vain. Well not completely in vain I did have a rather humorous conversation with the Korean people at the local Asian market whereby I tried desperately to use every hand gesture I could think of to explain squid ink all to no avail. This turned my searches online which lead me to one of the best online purveyors I have found yet La Tienda.
Started in 1996 La Tienda was formed as a way for the Harris family to share the tastes, grace, and warmth of Spain, which they experienced as a family growing up in El Puerto de Santa Maria. Featuring over 700 items, La Tienda provides a broad range of Spanish food and food related products to people all of the world.
So back to the ham, La Tienda features what is, without question, the finest of all Spanish hams the jamón ibérico de bellota. This ham comes exclusively from free-range pigs in the forests found along the Spanish-Portugal border that eat a diet consisting of only acorns. With a smooth texture and super rich deep flavour, prized as the finest of all jamón available, La Tienda has a beautiful bone-in ham by Fermin for the low price of $96/lb setting you back a cool $1,395 for the leg. For the budget conscious you may want to try the Cured Meats of Spain Sampler for a more affordable $99.95. It features 5 cured meats individually packaged and includes the remarkable ibérico de bellota!
In addition to their amazing ham selection they also carry a dizzying array of paella accoutrements. From paella pans, rice, books, and burners all the way to complete paella kits, gift boxes and even pre-cooked paella they have you covered if your plans call for this iconic Spanish rice dish. They of course also carry Tinta de Calamar (squid ink) in not one but two varieties I purchased 2 boxes of 8 packets each for $8.95 per box and was not disappointed, by the product or the service. Also available is a larger size for $45.00 if you have the need for massive amounts of squid ink.
One could literally spend hours surfing all the beautifully laid out pages presented by La Tienda. Starting at Almonds & Nuts and ending at Vinegar one can explore the culinary landscape of Spain gaining a knowledge and appreciation of their rich epicurean history. Included at their site to make your journey through Spanish food a bit easier are a glossary (which will make you an armchair expert like me), articles, tips, and recipes. So head on over to La Tienda and impress your foodie friends with all your new found knowledge and ingredients, or like me just get yourself some squid ink and prepare something a little bit left of center!