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Focus on Kosher Food in Spain and Portugal – Part 1
People are often uncertain about the cultural differences, as well as different types of companies providing kosher food in Spain and Portugal, on account of their proximity to each other in the Iberian Peninsula. Two contrasts which immediately spring to mind are the different languages spoken in each country, Spanish and European Portuguese respectively and that Spain is a monarchy and Portugal a republic. Their respective cuisines, eating habits and customs are quite distinctive too.
Spain is renowned for their ‘tapas’, little plates with varied delicacies, intended for the type of lighter meal which lends itself to the culture of sharing impromptu meals amongst friends. The Portuguese, on the other hand, tend to prepare and eat a full plate of food and have a preference for earlier meal times throughout the day.
Both countries feature in the top ten producers of olive oil in the world, Portugal ranking as the world’s eighth largest producer with 50,000 tons and Spain holding the number one position globally with a huge annual production of 1.4 million tons, 75% of which is produced in Andalucia. Olive oil is the main cooking oil in countries surrounding the Mediterranean and forms one of the three staple food plants of Mediterranean cuisine.
When it comes to spices, an integral part of Portuguese cuisine is the small fiery chilli pepper, piri-piri, an affinity which is said to originate from the Portuguese exploration of the African coast in the 1400s. Cinnamon is frequently used in desserts and other spices such as paprika, bay leaves and coarse salts all feature strongly in Portuguese cooking. Saffron, sometimes referred to as ‘the spice beyond price’ is a favourite addition to both Portuguese and Spanish dishes.
Kosher Food in Spain
A Spanish company that manufactures and exports a comprehensive range of spices is Vicente Bravo. Based in Murcia, Vicente Bravo produces kosher food in Spain, such as capsicum paprika, citrus peels, spices and many varieties of common and less well-known medical and culinary herbs. Vicente Bravo has more than thirty years of experience in manufacturing its broad range of products and values certification with KLBD as an integral part of the emphasis it places on strict quality control.
Judging by the significant number of companies that have opted for KLBD certification in Spain and Portugal, it is clear that this highly valued logo is regarded as a sign of quality assurance and marketability by both countries. One such company is Ernesto Ventós S.A. which is based in Barcelona. Ventos holds by the philosophy that the success of a project is based on simple ideas and this has led to their aroma chemicals and essential oils being exported to over 48 countries. Speaking about the benefits of KLBD certification, Regulatory Affairs Manager, Jaume Riba, commented, ‘Our customers increasingly request certified products. At first, we could manage by delivering our suppliers’ certificates. Providing our own certificates has allowed us to simplify and, so far, the service provided by KLBD meets our requirements’.
Another KLBD certified company operating and providing kosher food in Spain is Lucta S.A which was founded in Barcelona in 1949 and manufactures fragrances, flavours and animal feed additives. Lucta acknowledge that flavours heighten the pleasure of eating and have developed a dedicated Flavours Division in order to develop cutting edge flavour compounds.
A company which has developed a long established reputation for successfully producing fruit products is KLBD certified Concentrados Villaviciosa SA, a subsidiary which forms an integral part of the Spanish family business, Grupo el Gaitero. This company has been producing fruit products since 1890 and specialises in the production of all apple derivated products, especially apple and pear juice concentrate.
Kosher Food in Portugal
There are several KLBD certified companies which are based in and provide kosher food in Portugal. One is the prolific sugar producer Sidul Acucares, Unipessoal Lda, which manufacturers a comprehensive range of raw sugar products over fourteen locations. Another is Amorim & Irmaos which produces and supplies cork stoppers for wine producers throughout the world. Operating from Santa Maria De Lamas, Portugal, the company was founded in 1922 and produces natural cork stoppers and agglomerated cork stoppers for wine, as well as stoppers for beers, champagnes and sparkling wines.
On the subject of alcoholic beverages, it seems fitting to conclude that the only known Kosher Sherry in the whole world is produced at Gonzalez Byass winery in Jerez, Spain. Branded as Tio Pepe Fino, this much sought after and popular sherry has carried the KLBD certification logo since 1998. The requisite grape pressing process has been closely monitored by Jewish supervisors from Gibraltar over many years. This exclusive product should be on the shelves of kosher wine retailers for many years to come.
To be continued…