Monday, October 29, 2012

How to Wash a Jarapa



how to wash a jarapa rug
Washing a Spanish jarapa will depend on the type of jarapa you have, some jarapas are thicker than others and of course, they come in different sizes. Larger jarapas cannot generally be washed in the domestic washing machine so it is better to take these larger rugs to the launderette. Jarapas that are full of water are also incredibly heavy - especially long haired or fluffy jarapas, this is also something to consider when hanging your jarapa on the line to dry as even a smaller wet jarapa will add considerable weight.

When your jarapa arrives it is a good idea to give the rug a good shake, this will loosen any excess cotton which your hoover will thank you for later as will your washing machine.

Jarapas are made from recycled material so temperatures are best kept low – a 30 degree cycle is more than sufficient. After removing your jarapa from the washing machine it is advisable to check the washine machine filter which is usually located at the front near the bottom of the machine. Remove the filter and give it a quick rinse to remove any excess fluff or stray cotton, this is important especially after the first time you wash your jarapa.

Spanish jarapas also achieve a fresh look after a thorough hoover, hoovering removes all the dust and dirt that can settle in between the weaving so unless your jarapa has suffered a stain or spillage a good hoover may be all that is required to restore the vibrant colours and texture of the cotton. There will be however a time when every jarapa needs a wash so here are some basic guidelines:

·       Shake the jarapa to remove excess dust.

·       Always use a cold wash.

·       Long haired jarapas should be tumble dried to enhance appearance and depth.

·       Do not bleach.

·       Do not iron.

·       Do not dry clean.

Arabe Material
washing spanish fabrics and cushions 
Spanish arabe material, similarly to jarapas is made from recycled materials so need to be washed on a cold cycle – 30 degrees is more than warm enough for this fabric.

Curtains, table runners, sofa covers, bed spreads and cushion covers (inc other authentic products made from ‘arabe’ material on this website) can all be machine washed on a cold cycle. For drying you can either hang outdoors to dry naturally or use your tumble dryer.

·       Please note that your ‘arabe’ material can only be cool ironed.

·       Do not bleach.

·       Do not dry clean.



Ever considered a Jarapa Cushion?  Find out more

Friday, October 26, 2012

Spanish Ceramics – Merchandising a Market Stall


Merchandising a market stall with your first range of Spanish ceramics is an exciting prospect, looking forward to a busy day serving customers and selling your wares as well as turning over a healthy profit is what market trading is all about but how do you maximise sales through merchandising the stall itself? Appearance, organisation and clever merchandising is where a good sale can turn into a ‘very’ good sale and this can be achieved in a number of ways – luckily your Spanish ceramics will do all the hard work for you as far as colour and originality is concerned, if you have decided to add Spanish ceramics to your range then you have made a good choice.

cazuelas Australia
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Keep it Simple!

Having a clean fresh look to your stall is essential, one way to achieve this is to use plain fabric which will visually enhance the product to your customers, hand painted Spanish ceramics are quite ‘busy’ through their own design so plain blacks, whites and greens are a good choice for tablecloths or fabric used to cover your tables or stall fixtures.

Using Props

Using props is a good idea to both make your market stall stand out and to help sell your product. Props need to be simply done, complimentary to your range of ceramics and suggestive where possible so that customers are offered an opportunity to easily envisage how a certain product can be used and its purpose. If your business deals with terracotta cookware then one of the best props available is food… Terracotta cazuelas and other clay cookware is designed to do just that, cook! An arrangement of colours through food will both extenuate the terracotta and bring it to life, use garlic bulbs (an essential Mediterranean ingredient), lemons and tomatoes simply and your cookware is immediately sending out the correct message. Think about how your stall will shout SPAIN! Will a Spanish flag fit in with your set up or perhaps Spanish material? Props also do not have to be visual, they can also be something to hear such as Spanish music.

Hot Spots

spanish ceramics Australia
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In retail terms a ‘hot spot’ is a product (or group of products) which are placed strategically around a store, in the case of shelving or gondola end fixtures these products are almost always at ‘eye level’ (therefore intentionally hard to ignore!). Your market stall will be different but the same concept can still be applied – depending on your stall location discover which way the majority of the footfall comes from then place your display/top sellers in front of the passing public. Larger items such as cazuelas and sangria jugs always stand out at the back of a table display with smaller tapas dishes taking up the front space. The afore mentioned props can also help direct the eye to a specific display or group of products on special offer or new to the range direct from Spain

Grouping

spanish sangria jug and tubos from granadaSpanish ceramics of all types are suitable for grouping. Grouping is essentially placing like for like products or products which are complimentary to each other to together creating a ‘pack’ or ‘set’ which when done well should offer the customer a better price compared to purchasing the products separately and also functionality as well as potential ‘solutions’ to gift ideas. A few good examples of grouping would be a nest of cazuelas, containing six terracotta cazuelas ranging from 8cm to 18cm, Sangria jugs are complimented by glasses (tubos) of the same design, tapas bowls can be arranged in odd numbers of three and five and almost every type of cookware can be organised into a ‘set’ offering originality.

Uniformity

Hand painted ceramics come in several different colours so uniformity is crucial to a tidy and organised display on the market stall, we recommend keeping colours together in batches. For terracotta displays all products are the same colour so merchandising by size and shape is more effective ie: round products such as cazuelas need to be grouped together, square shapes and oval designs should follow suit and smaller items arranged in the same way towards the front of the display.

POS

Point of sale is just as effective on a market stall as it is in the largest of chain stores and high street retailers - point of sale speaks, educates and offers persuasive messages such as current offers, pricing and much more. You will have seen POS in retail stores, known as ‘shouters’ or ‘barkers’ these are the messages found on shelving (almost always at ‘hotspot’/eye level), there are of course larger examples of POS but on a market stall every inch of space is valuable and with limited promotional space small is the new big. Decide which messages will have the most impact for your market stall, and display them at key points within your display ie:

~ MADE IN SPAIN, HAND PAINTED, TRADITIONAL SPANISH CERAMICS ~

The use of simple and highly visual information on the photograph (right) works well through its simplicity, as a laminated printout this particular use of POS has a strong emphasis on Spain as it details photographs of the manufacturers premises, his product with the simple message ‘Made in Spain’, a clever and non costly way of getting the message across to customers. Need Spanish product photos for your point of sale material? No problem, simply drop us an email with your order and what you would like to display. In the case of Spanish hand painted ceramics each item (even smaller tapas bowls) have a stamp on the base stating ‘Hand Painted ~ Made in Spain’.

product knowledge - using spanish cazuelasProduct Knowledge

So the pitch looks fantastic, vibrant, very Spanish, ready for business and the early bird customers are beginning to filter through the market, armed with the right product knowledge you can feel confident in advising anyone on your range of Spanish hand painted ceramics and terracotta cookware. This is important if you sell or plan to sell terracotta cookware – don’t worry the instructions are very simple so much so we have created a ‘Buyers Guide to Spanish Terracotta’ (PDF) if you would like a FREE copy simply contact us


Do you run a market stall and are looking for something different? Why not drop us an email or visit the website to discover more?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cooking in Terracotta

With the ever increasing interest in Spanish clay pottery and cookware we were asked by Living Spain magazine to contribute to their Autumn issue and offer up a comprehensive guide for 'cooking in Spanish clay'. Previous features in the magazine have included Spanish meats such as the chorizo and serrano ham as well as a case study of the business so when it came to terracotta cookware we were more than happy to offer a comprehensive article for readers and customers alike.

There are a few important points to consider before using your terracotta cookware such as soaking and introducing to heat most of which has been covered in this blog - for the comprehensive guide to cooking in clay click here or buy the 2012 Autumn edition of Living Spain magazine.

Other Useful Links:
How to season a cazuela

Further details on terracotta cookware with tapas ideas and traditional Spanish meals can be found at Mouthwatering Spanish Recipes (download) on Amazon

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cushions from Spain

spanish arabe cushionCushions from Spain come in typically vibrant Andalucian colours and can be seen in many homes across southern Spain. The material used (known as 'Arabe' material)  is also used for curtains, bed spreads, sofa covers and also traditional ponchos as well as bags and other traditional Spanish gifts.

Autumn 2012 saw the introduction of Spanish material which has grown significantly both through product range, styles, patterns and colours. With over 20 different styles of material to choose from there is sure to be an Andalucian colour scheme for everyone.
Andalucian Arabe Cushions
Arabe cushions are made using semi automatic machinery from a small family run manufacturer in the altiplano region of Granada, the cushions are then finished by hand with a traditional edging, zip and liner meaning the cushion covers are removable and can be cold washed.

Each cushion is also made using 80% recycled materials making them eco friendly and similarly to the Spanish 'jarapa' each one is different, the style and colours may be very similar but ultimately due to the production process no two cushions will ever be exactly the same ensuring you receive something unique. Spanish Arabe cushions can be matched with curtains from the same pattern as well as sofa covers and even table runners and material place mats.

Spanish cushions and fabrics are also available to the trade so if you are a tapas bar or restaurant owner considering a refit or simply need some traditional Andalucian influence for your customers to enjoy then why not discover the full range here or discover wholesale opportunities through our main website

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Handmade Spanish Tiles

handmade terracotta tiles from spain
Visiting Spanish ceramics manufacturers often throws up a few surprises, you certainly can't knock the generosity of the Spanish when it comes to food... There have been numerous occasions where we have been blessed with homemade cakes, fresh strawberries for the kids, home grown veg and all manner of other delicious stuff from the kitchen or garden.

After a trip to to see Juan Manuel who's studio lies hidden away in the backstreets of Guadix town in Granada to investigate his range of handmade Spanish tiles we actually came away with not just some beautiful tiles but an enormous bag of fresh mushrooms. 

setas de cazuela
Juan, besides from spending most of his day behind the potters wheel creating all types of objects and cookware is also a fan of the Spanish tapa. In his usual style which involves informing us of clay types (most of which he makes himself) and telling us about his adventures in Indonesia on a Harley Davidson on this occasion (and having passed comment that we always come away knowing something different) he offered to show us what else goes on behind his studio.

Upon entering a room which was almost as vast as the main part of his business we entered what was clearly a storeroom full of sculptures, clay and.... mushrooms. Half a dozen black bags lay on the floor which were stuffed with hay gathered from the countryside, each bag had holes from which mushrooms grew apparently a fairly rapid rate especially during the colder winter months.

Out came the pocket knife and Juan lopped off a couple of  bundles for us, of course the various ways to cook them then followed! 'Setas' which are commonly available from greengrocers in Spain are commonly known as wild mushrooms but by the best way to eat then is as fresh as possible - and they didn't come more fresh than this! After an hours journey home they went directly into a cazuela on the gas hob and were served within minutes, we also cooked some setas which had bought from the village a couple days previously and the difference in flavour was quite extraordinary, a difference perhaps the same as between fresh eggs from the farm and those from the supermarket.

Setas de Cazuela (Tapas)

1. Choose the freshest mushrooms you can.
2. Chop larger mushrooms in half if required.
3. In a cazuela heat a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.
4. Sprinkle with fresh cracked black peppercorns.
5. Lightly fry for 4 - 5 minutes.
6. Serve with fresh crusty bread with another drizzle of extra virgin.

Tiles: Up and coming will be a new range of Spanish handmade terracotta tiles, made and glazed by Juan in Guadix, smaller quantities will be available through the website and Juan also welcomes larger commissions. The initial range is due to be published this coming Nov/Dec 2012.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Cooking in Terracotta

Cooking with Spanish Terracotta
Cooking in Spanish terracotta? The first thing you need to read is this. Preparation is the key as cooking with almost all types of terracotta cookware soaking is required first before introducing to heat.

Pictured left is a Spanish terracotta cazuela (we call it 'old faithful') as its 8 years old and has been used over every heat we have including the bbq, grill, in the oven, clay oven, on the hob, in the microwave and over the open fire. A cracking piece of kit for only a few euros. (Recipe in this picture is Spanish meatballs with a egg cracked in the center)

Some of the more commonly asked questions we get asked about our terracotta cooking equipment are:

Q. Can I use my cazuela on the barbeque?
A. Yes

Q. Is my Spanish terracotta suitable for the gas hob?
A. Yes

Q. I have leftover food can I freeze it in a terracotta dish?
A. Yes.

Q. Is terracotta cookware suitable for the microwave?
A. Yes

Q. Do I need to soak my terracotta tableware such as sangria jugs etc?
A. No, only cookware needs to be soaked however soaking terracotta tableware will increase the longevity of the item as it will 'toughen up' the clay and offer a higher degree of protection when washed/handled etc.

Q. Can I wash my terracotta in the dishwasher?
A. Yes.

Q. What is the best sized cazuela for tapas?
A. Depends on the tapas being served but generally a 12cm cazuela covers most tapas, we do however suggest considering other terracotta items for tapas serving, example here.

For further information on Spanish terracotta cookware click here




Monday, October 8, 2012

Fabric from the Alpujarras

Visiting the factory where products such as the  Andalucian jarapa rug, arabe curtain fabric and all other manner of traditional Spanish textiles were produced was to say least the least an educational visit. We ourselves have typical Granada curtain material hanging in almost every interior door of our own Spanish cave house so to see the 'ins and outs' of how each pattern is made was very interesting to say the least.

This particular manufacturer  has been producing traditional fabrics and jarapa rugs for the past 35 years, there are older family run businesses doing the same thing but this business's vision, modern thinking and customer service is clear making this Father and son team a great addition to our list of Andalucian producers and we are very pleased to detail their products on our website.

With Spanish fabric comes flexibility:

Made to measure curtains in over 20 designs - no problem! Spanish curtains are due to hit the virtual shelves this winter 2012 as well as a whole host of other traditional Spanish home wares. In the meantime of you are handy with material and need something traditionally Andalucian then take at look at the Spanish material available here.

Should you be looking for restaurant or tapas bar interior design or simply something for the home, conservatory or even the caravan then why not get in touch and see what we can do? Watch this space for Andalucian signage, rustic lighting and more to add an even more southern Spain rustic influence to your interior design ideas.

www.orceserranohams.com



Saturday, October 6, 2012

Andalucian Textiles

Andalucian textiles offer a vibrant array of colours and come in a plethora of differnt styles and patterns. The material itself named 'Arabe' is quite thick and was traditionally used to make into 'cortinas de la calle' or street curtains. These curtain would be hung on the outer side of the Spanish house or cortijo which helped keep out the heat during the summer months as well as the invasion of flies that tend to appear after springtime.

Spanish material has made a comeback having first been on our website back in 2006. Now though (and part of a new Spanish homewares section) customers can choose from no less than 20 different styles and colours. Arabe material is available to buy by the meter so if you enjoy making your own items such as cushions or curtains then this traditional material certainly offers something out of the ordinary.

Also due to hit the virtual shelves and using the same material are Spanish cushions (40cm x 40cm & 50cm x 50cm), ready made door curtians (1.6m a 2.2m) and also made to measure curtains so if you need specific measurements or are looking for custom made material then we can offer a unique service where all you need to do is send us your required sizes.

Wholesale Spanish textiles are also available, ready made curtains for example come in tidy retail packaging and a vibrant selection of cushions (more on these coming up) look great merchandised in store or the niche market stall. Coupled with hand painted ceramics, garden pots and terracotta cookware is this something your business has been waiting for? If you are searching for unique products both made in Spain and dispatched direct from Spain then contact us for a trade price list.

We look forward to hearing from you

UK, USA and Australian enquiries welcome.