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IAN & SPAIN

WELCOME TO MY BLOG. I WILL BE WRITING ABOUT SPANISH FOOD AND DRINK AND IN PARTICULAR MY OBSESSION FOR OLIVE OIL, ONE OF SPAIN'S MAJOR ASSETS AND GREATLY MISUNDERSTOOD BY THE MAJORITY OF CONSUMERS WORLDWIDE. I WILL ENDEAVOR TO PROVIDE YOU WITH ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO ENJOY THE WORLD OF OLIVE OIL WITHOUT BEING TAKEN FOR A RIDE! HOPE YOU ENJOY IT AND PLEASE LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS!

What's That Fish Called?
31 January 2014

I’ve been in Spain for quite some time now and there has always been an area of language that has always caused me problems and still does today, and that is fish. I have real difficulty sometimes translating the names of fish. The funny thing is my knowledge of fish and seafood before I came to Spain was already pretty limited and when I say limited I mean at most I had eaten Cod, Haddock, Lemon Sole, Trout and Plaice maybe a few others and my seafood was limited to Scampi, Mussels and Prawn, so my fish vocab was not extensive.  We were never big fish eaters in my family so when I came to Spain it wasn’t really high on the agenda of things to learn. However over the years I have come to love many varieties of seafood and fish, the majority of which I have discovered here in Spain and consequently learnt the Spanish name first, it wasn’t until a relative came to visit and asked what we were eating that I even thought about the English translation and that happened so rarely that the English names never really sunk in and I still get confused to this day with a few.  Now, I’m not sure if this is something unique to me but just in case other readers are having difficulty with fish and seafood names, I finally decided to put together a list of the most common varieties you will come across in Spain along with their English equivalent, hope you find it useful!  smiley

I could have done with it a long time a go!! 

 

                         FISH   

 

Anchoa/Boquerón

Anchov

Anguila Eel
Arenque Herring
Atun Tuna
Bacalao Cod
Bonito Bonito
Caballa Mackerel
Calamar Squid
Carpa Carp
Caviar Caviar
Dorada Gilt Head Bream
Eglefino Haddock
Fletan Halibut
Galupe / Mujol Mullet
Lenguado Sole
Merluza Hake
Mero Grouper
Perca Perch
Pez Espada Marlin/Swordfish
Platija Flounder
Solla Plaice
Pulpo Octopus
Rape Monkfish
Raya Ray / Skate
Rodaballo Turbot
Salmon Salmon
Salmonete Red Mullet
Sardina Sardine
Sepia Cuttlefish
Lubina Sea Bass
Trucha Trout

 

 

                    SEAFOOD

Almejas Clam
Berberechos Cockle
Bogavante Lobster
Buey de Mar Edible / Brown Crab
Cangrejo de Rio Crawfish
Carabineros Scarlet Prawn
Centollo Spider Crab
Cigalas Scampi
Erizos de Mar Sea Urchin
Gambas Prawn 
Langosta Spiny Lobster
Langostinos Prawn (large)
Mejillones Mussels
Navajas Razor Clam
Nécoras Small crab
Ostras Oysters
Percebes Gooseneck Barnacles
Pulpo Octopus
Tellinas/ Coquinas Bean Clams
Vieiras Scallop


Like 3        Published at 18:09   Comments (28)


Iberian Ham protection gets under way
28 January 2014

Apparantly it has been a crazy couple of weeks at the offices of the Inter-professional Association of the Iberian Pig (Asici). The organisation is responsible for handing out the coloured seals that will denote the quality and origin of Iberian meat products, under a law passed earlier this month. The phones have not stopped ringing since the legislation came into force. The most urgent thing has been to attend the abattoirs because all of the animals being slaughtered since last Monday now have to be colour-coded in accordance with the new rules.

The four colours tell consumers the breed and feed of the meat they are purchasing: black for pure Iberian pigs that have been fed only oak acorns in open orchards (bellota); red for cross-breeds that have also foraged acorns; green for grazing cross-breeds; and white for mixed-breed animals fed on fodder in enclosures. A fifth colour, brown, denotes animals fed on a mix of acorns and fodder, a category the new law has eliminated but that will remain in circulation until current stocks expire.

However, this system will not be visible on the shelves for some time. The government has established a generous crossover period, "so that producers can adapt to the new classifications without losing money," says the state secretary general for agriculture, Isabel García Tejerina. This will allow businesses that have products in the curing phase, or that are ready to be released onto the market, to use the old labeling system for their remaining stock.

It could take as long as three years, taking into account the fact that some Iberian hams take that long to cure. But many farmers, above all those who breed pure Iberians, are going to try to apply the new colour code as soon as possible because it makes things much clearer for consumers, even though they'll have to pay to throw out all the old labels and replace them with the new ones. At least they hope to save all the explanations they have to give every time they want to sell a ham.

Part of these explanations is the result of an image of fraudulence that has overshadowed the sector in recent years. According to Aeceriber, 30 percent of all products marketed as pure Iberian are not certified as such, a situation attributed by associations and the government not so much to a lack of regulation but to an absence of strict inspections. There has been a lot of criticism of the companies responsible for certification for labelling products as 100-percent Iberian when they are not. "They are private companies that depend on what the farmers pay them, so sometimes they look the other way and certify what they are asked to," says Urquijo. Regional government inspectors have also fallen short in their duties at sales points. The result is a market that has been flooded with hams purporting to be pure Iberian in origin but that in some cases are not even 50-percent pure. Others bear images of acorn-fed animals when the pigs that provided the product had never set a trotter in an open field. 

The so-called "ham bubble" has not helped matters. Traditionally, Iberian ham has been inextricably linked to the open fields and an extensive system of production, based on grasses and acorns and a breed adapted to that ecosystem. Under these restrictions, Iberian ham has always been situated in a consumer segment of exceptional quality, with prices to match, and which therefore occupies a relatively small share of the domestic market. Internationally, it is also restricted to certain countries and types of consumer.

But this system was reduced to tatters in the early 2000s when Agriculture Minister Miguel Arias Cañete attempted to impose some order in a sector that was then practically unregulated by introducing a category system for Iberian ham products: Acorn free range Iberian pigs and free range and farmed half-breeds, all under the Iberian umbrella. This allowed breeders of other pigs and industrial meat producers to bring in pure-breed animals to raise the price of their stocks, leading to a price popularization that saw some Iberian-based products retailing at cheaper rates than the less-valued Serrano ham. But this also resulted in huge confusion in the market and among consumers.

The new law, while not definitively shutting the door on mass production, will at least afford consumers a broader knowledge of what they are buying: as well as the color-coding system for alimentation, the pureness of the breeds employed will also be displayed on the labels: 100-percent Iberians; 75-percent (a pure-breed mother and a father crossed with another breed, usually a Duroc); and 50-percent (a pure-breed mother and a Duroc father). Furthermore, it prohibits the use of the term pata negra for any product that is not 100-percent Iberian acorn-fed pig in origin, as well as the misleading practice of including images of bellota animals or oak orchards on packaging for products that are not pure Iberian.

The system seems simple but the problem, again, is how to ensure it is adhered to. The government has set up a coordinating committee to oversee the regulation and has enlisted the aid of Aeceriber to monitor breed certification — its remit will give it power over the private certifying companies. As of now, every animal marketed as 100-percent Iberian bellota must be recorded in the Genealogical book of the pure-breed Iberian pig, a sort of Domesday tome for the species that Aeceriber has kept for the past 30 years.

Under the new rules, only hogs listed in the book can be certified as pata negra animals.

 

source - el pais



Like 0        Published at 13:22   Comments (0)


New regulation on Spanish ham qualities
13 January 2014

 

The Spanish Cabinet on Friday approved a new color-coded system for different types of ham products. Introducing the new classification at a news conference, Agriculture, Food and Environment Minister Miguel Arias Cañete explained that it would include a trade description of the product and the breed of pig it comes from. Products from 100% pure Iberian pigs fed exclusively on acorns will be labelled with a black tag and with a red tag when mixed-race but fed on acorns. Ham from grazing pigs will be tagged green and fodder-fed pigs will receive a  white tag.

Among the new quality controls, legs of iberico cured ham below a certain weight will not be allowed to be sold, checks and inspections on curing times will be much stricter and minimum space requirements have been set for live pigs raised in fields and pens.

 

The most sought-after hams in the world, the best quality Spanish cured ham is made from a purebred, black-hoofed Iberian pig, which has been fattened on acorns as it freely wanders open fields.Once slaughtered, cured, and expertly sliced into nearly transparent slices, it marks the pinnacle of Spanish cuisine.

"Jamon iberico is a star produce of Spanish gastronomy. It is the flagship" said Agriculture Minister Miguel Arias Cañete. But the rules were "enormously confusing, leaving consumers in Spain and abroad puzzled about what they were buying”, he said.

Under the new rules, labels must tell shoppers if the product came from a pig that was 100 per cent Iberian or of a lesser percentage, depending solely on verified breeding records and how they were fed.

 



Like 0        Published at 14:01   Comments (1)


Mediterranean Diet May Protect from Diabetes
09 January 2014

In the latest trial of the ongoing intervention study PREDIMED, Spanish researchers found that following a Mediterranean diet may cut the risk of diabetes by about 30 percnt compared to the control diet, which was characterized as a low fat diet.

The study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, involved 3,541 men and women who were a subgroup of the larger PREDIMED study that enrolled over 7,000 participants from seven communities in Spain since 2003. The men and women for this particular trial were between 55 and 80 years of age and at high risk for heart disease, but without diabetes.

As is standard with the PREDIMED study, the participants were assigned to one of three diets: Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil, Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts, or a control diet (participants were advised to follow a low fat diet). The participants were not asked to exercise or lose weight.

At follow up which was on average 4.1 years, 101 individuals from the control group developed diabetes, while only 80 individuals from the olive oil Mediterranean diet group developed the disease. The researchers noted that adherence was much higher in the Mediterranean diet groups and concluded that a Mediterranean diet enriched with extra virgin olive oil without caloric limitations may reduce diabetes risk in individuals with a high heart disease risk.

This is not the first time that the Mediterranean diet has been found to have a preventative effect against diabetes. In 2011 a smaller trial (418 participants) of the PREDIMED study showed that a Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of type II diabetes by almost 50 percent compared to a low fat diet.

source:  olive oil times



Like 0        Published at 16:50   Comments (4)


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