Haven't you heard? Spain is the new France. According to food journalist Arthur Lubow, Spanish chefs have a fresh, exciting approach to food that is finally knocking French nouvelle off the throne it claimed in the '80s. Enter La Tienda, a not-so-new website (they've been around since 1996) that is a gold mine of fabulous traditional Spanish foods waiting to be plundered.
For those who have the cooking doldrums and want to learn to dish up something new, La Tienda sells paella kits ($34-$129), which include top-quality Spanish ingredients such as rice from Calasparra, La Mancha saffron, wood-fired piquillo pimientos, and even a paella book and a zesty paella pan in which to whip it up. These ingredients are also sold separately to replenish your supplies for future fixes. And if you're anywhere near as obsessive as me, you'll need a good supply of smoldering smoked paprika ($4.75), which comes in three delightful intensities sweet, bittersweet and hot ($12.95 for all three). I use them to spice everything from popcorn to roasted meats.
There's a wide variety of deliciously plump and flavorful Spanish marcona almonds, a personal addiction. I started on the small 12-ounce cans ($12.95), but quickly moved up to needing 11-pound bags ($124) to cure my cravings. Also delicious are the chocolate-covered variety ($7.95), which come in an adorable little box. (Thank goodness they don't sell 11-pound bags of these!)
Some of my other favorites include aged manchego ($15.95 per pound), a ripe, nutty sheep's milk cheese from Viejo; anchovy-stuffed olives ($2.95) packed in a village on the Costa Blanca; bitterly fragrant Seville orange marmalade ($4.50); and a staggering assortment of aged chorizo sausages and Serrano hams. They have just about anything you might want to stock the Spanish pantry, as well as books, bath supplies, beautiful ceramics and even botas.
Spain might be the new France, but thanks to La Tienda, home is about to become the new Spain.
1 (888) 472-1022
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