Saturday, November 24, 2012

Packing Spanish Ceramics



packing spanish ceramics
Packing Spanish ceramics is a time consuming process however it is well worth the effort to reduce breakages after all there is nothing more disappointing than to receive a parcel of fragile items which have been subject to a ‘rough ride’. The current modern approach is to use recyclable materials and that is exactly what we do but with a Spanish twist. The village of Orce is a typically rural Andalucian affair, if you have ever visited any of the tucked away white washed Spanish villages then you will have probably noticed one of two things – Spanish curiosity and friendliness.

In such a small village it is hard, if not impossible for the locals to not to catch on to what you do for a living so for the purposes of packing materials it has always been advantageous to speak to the local bar owners, news agents and indeed just the locals themselves to collect newspapers. The generosity never ceases to amaze with Spanish women stopping outside the door with a shopping buggy full of read newspapers!

Newspaper is good for packing ceramics, there is a knack to it but once mastered newspaper can protect everything from the smallest tapas server to the largest sangria jug as well as being a great void filler. If you have received a Spanish ceramics order from Orce Serrano Hams & Ceramics recently then you are guaranteed to have a copy of various ‘local rags’ from around the region! Recycled packaging materials have, over recent years been a point that many businesses tend to emphasis and rightly so, its good for the environment, saves waste, landfill and all those things but good old newspaper gets down to basics and in the case of wholesale orders we encourage our clients to re-use again for their own packing requirements.

What to do with your packaging? For wholesale orders customers are encouraged to use this FREE packaging as void fill and wrap their products safe for transit, if you retail Spanish ceramics promoting the fact that they are manufactured and come direct from Spain then what better than your customers orders arriving securely packaged in Spanish newspaper! If you are the lucky recipient of Spanish ceramic items then you can always recycle the newspapers again or alternatively use the paper for lighting the stove or keep them for the summer barbeque.

how to pack ceramics
The Pan Man

‘Pan’ ~ (Bread) Wrapping and packing terracotta cookware and hand painted ceramics obviously involves boxing up which is where our local Orce village ‘pan man’ comes in. Again a recyclable material these bread boxes are perfect for distribution of Spanish ceramics. Being big on recycling hence dramatically reducing costs and retail prices due to limited expenditure on materials these bread boxes are ideal for securing your order. Flat packed every Friday morning our bread man ‘aka Pete Pan’ puts his bread boxes outside ready for pickup  - a service Pete appreciates as it saves him waste disposal and offers you good genuine packing material which is in another stage of recycle.

Securing a Safe Delivery

Some Spanish ceramics require extra attention, those with handles such as sangria jugs or a pack of tapas trays in a bundle. In this instance single ply cardboard offers extra protection against cracks and breakages, again cushioned in newspaper. There are however going to be occasions where a breakage does occur, unfortunately the nature of the products and their fragility dictate that accidents will happen from time to time which is why we offer a no quibble replacement policy on both retail and trade orders.

Like to find out more about wholesale Spanish terracotta and hand painted pottery from Andalucia? Visit Orce Serrano Hams & Ceramics

Friday, November 16, 2012

Spanish Christmas Gifts

ceramic gifts from spain
If you are shopping for something original this year, something Spanish or would simply like to give the gift of Spain then why not consider hand painted Spanish ceramics? For traditional colours of Granada take a look at your 'Granada range' page here and discover a variety of hand painted pieces detailing the pomegranite or 'Granadina'. There are of course several other designs such as the 'Olive Gold' design pictured to the left, a bright and vibrant design in typically Spanish deep yellows and reds matched with one of the country's most served tapas - the olive.

 For those who love to cook there are over a dozen unique selections of terracotta cookware to consider, these sets are put together with both indoor and outdoor cooking in mind, if you have a brick oven try the terracotta oven set or if you like cooking and serving hot tapas (great around Christmas time) then there is a set for you. Besides from terracotta cookware you can discover one of the most extensive ranges of terracotta tableware items from cazuelas and terracotta tapas servers to sangria jugs and earthenware dinner plates so if you plan on a Spanish themed Christmas this year a great selection of Spanish cookware and tableware solutions can be seen here.

spanish cave interior design
Spanish Textile Gifts

Extending your Spanish experience from the table and making unique Andalucian products available has been one aim which we are happy to say we have (hopefully) achieved during 2012. The introduction of Spanish 'Arabe' textiles really did offer a real influence from the region and was an immediate hit so if you know someone who would enjoy hand made textiles from the Granada region pop into website where you can find a range of striking colours through a range of products from the material itself to cushions, curtains, jarapa rugs and the very special 'jarapa cushions' which now include a selection of large and very comfortable jarapa floor cushions.

Spanish Food Gifts

A Spanish delicatessen would of course not be a delicatessen without a full range of artisan produce for the dedicated Spanish food lover. A selection of specially hand picked Serrano hams are available from 12 month cured bodega grades to 22 month grand reservas, each boasting a tremendous Spanish flavour coming direct from the Andalucian curing houses or 'secaderos' right here in the Granada province. For sausage fans you can choose from over 10 different types of chorizo including the extra hot Orce Fire Chorizo which was voted No2 in the BBC Good Food top ten list of Spanish chorizos, made in small quantities by the local village butcher every Tuesday and Friday these chorizos are guaranteed fresh and are not vacuum packed until the day they are dispatched.

orce fire chorizo As you would expect there is much more in a Spanish deli than just jamon and chorizo so customers can also choose from other specialities such as sobrasada sausage, cured pork tenderloins and much more on the meat front. No Spanish ham tapas would be complete without Manchego cheese, in fact Spanish cheeses really are something to discover with combinations such as chilli pepper, black olives, coffee, garlic and red wine. For cooks and all Spanish food enthusiasts there are also some unique gift gift ideas in your hampers section from Spanish ham starter kits to gourmet selections presented in terracotta cazuelas ~ you really will be spoilt for choice!
salted spanish cod
The traditional Christmas eve meal is seafood, in fact the fishmongers stay open extra hours the day before or on Christmas eve selling an impressive range of seafood ready for the big family gathering on the 24th. One such product that was born out of necessity decades ago and which is now a gourmet product in its own right is bacalao salt cod. A firm favourite at any time of year but especially at Christmas bacalao are the salted fish of choice and are available here in two sizes (full cod)

We hope that Pots of Spain has whetted your appetite and offered some unique Spanish gift ideas for this Christmas and future occasions. If you have any questions regarding products in this post or indeed on our main website Orce Serrano Hams then do not hesitate to drop us an email and get in touch.

Iain & Gayle

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chilli Pepper Gifts

chilli pepper tapas bowl
Sometimes when something jumps out at you have to have it and this is what happened the first time we saw these Spanish chilli pepper ceramics being painted. Chilli pepper ceramics are different purely through their striking simplicity, indeed this design only three colours - Spanish yellow, chilli red and forest green, the result is something quite unique boasting a vibrancy every chilli enthusiast will love.

Spanish chilli pepper gift setThe chilli design, as with all other Spanish ceramics in the range are painted by hand, look close enough and you will even notice the brush strokes and the fact that every chilli pepper is a slightly different shape making the pieces in this range as unique as they come. To begin with we have introduced a range of chilli related salsa dipping bowls and tapas servers as well as a few pots and storage solutions for the kitchen ideal for keeping your dried chilli peppers, chilli pepper seeds and more, for those who like to make a fiery hot chilli salsa you can even have a pestle and mortar in the same design for bashing up all those essential ingredients.

No selection of Spanish ceramics would be complete without a couple of unique collections using complimentary pieces to create the ideal gift for, in this case the chilli lover which is why you can choose from chilli ceramic kitchen sets and salsa dipping sets. The chilli painted range does not stop there however, we know that if you like chilli's then the chances are you like to grow your own too which is why in the near future we are introducing a range of planters and chilli growing pots painted in the same design. If you are looking for a great gift idea for the chilli pepper enthusiast or want to brighten up your current range of Spanish ceramics then consider the Spanish reds and yellows of this very simple yet unique range and with new pieces being introduced all the time there is always something to add in the future!

Recipe for Chilli Pepper Salsa

You will need: 

6 - 8 medium ripe vine tomatoes
Garlic (amount depending on preference)
1 - 2 Chilli peppers
Olive oil
salt to taste
1 tbsp of sugar

Method 

1. Chop the tomatoes and then blend until they become a liquid. Transfer tomatoes to a pan, add the salt and cook for roughly 20 minutes. 

2. Meanwhile, remove the seeds from the the chilli peppers (optional) and dice then chop the garlic. 

3. In a frying pan, add a little olive oil, the garlic and the chilli. Allow to cook gently until the garlic begins to brown.

4. After about 20 minutes of cooking the tomatoes, almost all of the liquid should have evaporated and you will be left with a thick sauce. If necessary, cook a little longer. 

5. When you have a thick salsa, turn the heat right down and add the sugar to the tomatoes. 

6. Add the cooked garlic and peppers to your tomatoes and heat gently.
 
7. Serve in your chilli bowls adding a little olive oil to the salsa.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jarapa Floor Cushions

jarapa floor cushion
Jarapa floor cushions are one of those artisan products from Spain which are completely unique in every sense of the word. Jarapas or Andalucian rugs from which these special cushions are made are all different - no two are exactly the same due to the manufacturing process which can still be seen using traditional wooden looms today.

spanish jarapa cushionTo compliment a new Spanish home wares section we were looking for something unique, in fact so unique that it had to be made especially for us - welcome jarapa cushions!

Jarapa cushions come in two different sizes, 60cm x 40cm as a standard size and the luxurious and very large floor cushions which measure in at 70cm x 130cm. Having cushions well over a meter long does require some floor space however these jarapa cushions really are something special! Made from long haired or 'shaggy' jarapas these cushions are soft yet heavily textured offering a luxurious feel, they are also available in various colours and being so unique are sold individually.

Cushions are made by a family run, artisan manufacturer in Andalucia southern Spain and each cushion is finished by hand. Complete with zip and liner means that these cushions can also be washed (cold wash only) and are extremely hard wearing. If you are looking for something from Spain to compliment your home then consider a jarapa floor cushion to add some real Spanish character!

View cushions here

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ceramic Apliques from Granada

Ceramic 'apliques' can be seen all over Andalucia, on restaurant walls, in the tapas bars and outdoors on the courtyard wall or house facia. The aplique itself is a very simple design, similar to an antique roof tile the aplique can also be used as a light shade - in this case as an uplighter.

Spanish apliques vary considerably in shape, size and design, traditional models are usually carved from hand moulded clay and finished in bare terracotta, more intricate and painted apliques can detail almost anything from Spanish scenes, towns and villages to simple and typical patterns such as the blue and white glazed style seen here.

Sticking with the hand made nature of local ceramics these new apliques as well as a brand new range of different designs are due to hit the virtual shelves in December 2012. Had made by artisan Juan Manuel each aplique is original and unique and come in range of shapes from tapered (pictured) to square, rectangular and hand carved designs - either in simple terracotta or hand  glazed and painted. Full of character for Spanish restaurants, tapas bars and even the home or conservatory apliques can be shipped worldwide.

Full range due for the 2012 winter season.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Spanish Cocktail Stick Holders

spanish terracotta cocktail stick holder
When it comes to all things small in the world of Spanish terracotta then the cocktail stick holder is probably one of the smallest items you can get. This little piece of terracotta however will stand its ground on the table surrounded by even the largest of terracotta cazuelas, sartenes and serving trays because this it what everyone will be reaching for after the barbeque, seafood tapas or corn on the cob.

Carefully hand painted with the word 'Palillos'  this cocktail stick holder maintains a rustic appearance and adds that little bit of character to the table, you could say that small is the new big with this piece!



CHORIZO WITH MUSSELS & WHITE WINE TAPAS  (Toothpicks at the ready)

mussel and chorizo tapasIngredients:

2kg Fresh mussels, cleaned
2 Hot chorizo sausages (chorizo picante), sliced
5 Large vine tomatoes, chopped (400g tinned, plum tommies are also good)
1 Small onion, finely chopped
2 Cloves of garlic, diced
Pinch hot smoked paprika
Pinch cracked black pepper
250ml white wine
Broadleaf parsley to garnish
Olive oil

How to cook:

1. Add a splash of olive oil in the bottom of your Spanish "olla" or cooking pot.

2. Gently fry the garlic and chorizo until they begin to turn brown then add the onion and fry for another 2 minutes.

3. Add the chopped tomatoes, season with pepper and paprika and cook for 2 minutes.

4. Pour in the white wine and reduce until you end up with a salsa consistency.

5. Add the mussels, mix well in the salsa and place the lid on the pan.

6. Cook for 5 minutes before serving hot garnished with roughly chopped parsley, discard any mussels that have not opened.

8. Enjoy with fresh crusty bread.