May 07 2018

Innovation and Originality, in the DNA of Spanish Foods

The Spanish food industry is committed to giving its all with regard to innovation. Every year, new products are launched that seek to unite concepts like research, health, flavor and, more often than not, an element of play.

Text: Rodrigo García Fernández/@ICEX.

The international market is increasingly inundated with competing products and a growing number of players, which is why making advances in the field of innovation can translate into a competitive advantage for Spanish companies.

So far in 2018, Madrid Fusión and Alimentaria Barcelona have given us opportunity to get a first hand look at some of the most groundbreaking innovations presented by Spanish companies. Here are just a handful of them to whet your appetite.

“Confeti de Chorizo”

Innovation in Spanish Food

Martínez Somalo is an important Spanish company in the charcuterie sector (cured ham, chorizos and other cured meats and sausages), located in La Rioja and known for its innovative bent. They were the first to use the packaging of a line of the company’s chorizos to explain that the products are made using artisanal ingredients like salt from Añanapimentón de la Vera and Las Pedroñeras garlic. They also created a line of different flavors of special chorizos for barbecuing: wine, curry, spicy, Mediterranean herbs and “Arizona grill.”

Now they have managed to surprise us once again with an eye-catching new product: cured ham and chorizo “confetti.” These products – comprised of natural 100% ham or chorizo – are made without any additives, preservatives or coloring. They are gluten and lactose free. These dried meat products are also low in fat and high in protein. They are perfect for enhancing the flavor and presentation of numerous dishes, including pastas, creamy and cold soups, vegetables, scrambled eggs, potatoes, fish and more.

Low temperature egg

Innovation in Spanish Food

It’s always curious to confirm once again how the most avant-garde culinary trends can give rise to great ideas in the agri-food industry. In this case, it is the company Granja Campomayor that has managed to recreated one of these ideas. For the past ten to fifteen years or more, it has been very typical to find creative dishes in fine dining establishments and modern tapas bars featuring a low temperature egg as the star ingredient. Now the time and effort needed to create this delicacy have been greatly reduced thanks to this company, which has made this final product available to both professional and home chefs – ready to add to any recipe in only one minute.

Spherified olives

Innovation in Spanish Food

Another example of how innovative professional cuisine can yield ideas for the food industry is that of Caviaroli by Albert Adriá. This product is the commercial version of one of the landmark culinary techniques developed by brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià, that of the spherified olive. Now, it is no longer necessary to set up a small laboratory in your home kitchen to create this stunning snack of “olives,” which reveal a liquid center when you bite into them. Thanks to Caviaroli, these products are now at our fingertips, without forsaking their original flavor.  

Morcilla de Burgos “bonbon”

According to Roberto da Silva, the driving force behind thecompany Embutidos de Cardeña from Castile-León, the bombón de morcilla (blood sausage “bonbon”) will soon be available in two varieties: crocanti, a crunchy blood sausage and apple bonbon with a chocolate shell covered with pieces of candied hazelnut; and picante, consisting of a smooth external shell protecting a spiced blood sausage interior. A completely new approach to a product as traditional and classic as Spanish morcilla from Burgos.

Rice liqueur from the Delta del Ebro

Innovation in Spanish Food

The Delta del Ebro is a protected natural river delta found along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and treasured for its rich fauna and flora. This area is still home to traditionally-farmed rice paddies, and it is from these that the company Licors Jane sources the ingredients for its singular rice liqueur, which is sold under the brand Licor de Arroz El Petonet. In addition to its unique flavor, this product is apt for vegans and people who are gluten or lactose intolerant. The company recommends drinking it neat, with ice, or added to coffee or tea.

Cheese and chocolate? Yes, please!

Experimentation is the best way forward, regardless if we achieve the desired outcome or the results are a big disaster. Along these lines, many people might be inclined to think that mixing chocolate and cheese is not the best idea. But they would be wrong! One of the country’s most daring cheese companies, La Antigua, has launched a product consisting of a soft cheese made with pasteurized ewe’s milk and natural cacao, which lends it a very characteristic color and aromas. Those who dare to take a bite will find chocolate nibs on the inside of this exquisite and surprising morsel.

Translation: Adrienne Smith/©ICEX