7 Spanish staples to add to your pantry. Give your everyday cooking some Spanish flare.


1. Manchego Cheese
Manchego cheese is made from sheep’s milk and is aged anywhere from 3 months (called Semi-Curado) to 6 months (Curado) to a year or more (Viejo). Thin slices are often served with membrillo, a jelly-like paste made of quince. It has a tangy, nutty flavor. Manchego is a great choice for your cheese platter or for a different twist on top of your spaguetti sauce. Your salads will have character with its strong taste.

2. Serrano Ham
It is made from a special Spanish breed of pork. It’s usually thinly sliced and served alone or with crusty bread as a tapa, but it also adds flavor to stews, your rice and pasta.

3. Piquillo Peppers
Piquillo peppers are small, sweet-hot peppers that are roasted over open flames, peeled and packed into jars or tins.They can be stuffed with cod or meat with a beshamel sauce. They have an intensely sweet and smoky taste. Use them in a salad of mixed tomatoes and some good olive oil and sherry vinegar.Serve them on top of some toasted baguette as an apetizer.

4. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a must in Spain. Drizzle it over salad or mix it into your salad dressing.
Use in your marinades or sauces. Add at the end of cooking for a burst of flavor.
Drizzle over cooked pasta or vegetables or as a healthy dip for bread. Pour a little olive oil into a small side dish and add a few splashes of balsamic vinegar,which will pool in the middle making an attractive add on to your diner table.
For an easy appetizer, toast baguette slices under the broiler, rub them lightly with a clove of garlic, and add a little drizzle of olive oil.
On your baked potatoes. Or give your bangers and Mash a spanish flavor- mash your potatoes with some roasted garlic & olive oil.
Make a tasty,dip by mixing cooked white beans, garlic & tahini with olive oil in a food processor; season to taste with your favorite herbs.

5. Marcona Almonds
Marcona almonds are a rounded Spanish variety of almond that has become popular with chefs and in cheese shops in recent years. They have a buttery flavor and a moister texture. In Spain, they’re often fried in olive oil and seasoned with loads of salt, but we recommend buying unseasoned blanched Marcona almonds and toasting them yourself. If you can’t find them, regular raw almonds are a good substitute.

6. Sherry Vinegar
Sherry vinegar is made from sherry. This caramel-color vinegar gives an oaky flavour to your cold soups,vinaigrettes and your romesco sauce. Drizzle over your cooked stews.

7. Smoked Paprika
Smoked paprika is made from smoked chile peppers. The vibrant red powder, called pimentón in Spanish, comes in mild and hot varieties and adds a ton of smoky flavor to everything from marinades to paella. It’s delicious, but a little goes a long way. Look for smoked paprika in colorful tins in gourmet shops and some grocery stores.

8. Spanish Sherry
Spanish sherry is made from fortified white wine (fortified with brandy) and aged in oak barrels They have solera. Solera is a process for aging liquids Sherry comes in a range of styles: (dry) Fino and Manzanilla, (medium-dry) Oloroso and Amontillado, (sweet) Vino Dulce, a dessert sherry. Substitute your cooking wine with one of the dry Jerez and/or the medium dry one. If making a punch for your guests try a rebujito- Manzanilla with clear lemonade – served with some good quality olives is a great start to your main course!