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We Blog the World - December 15, 2015
We Blog the World

We Blog the World 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Spanish Flare with La Tienda
Renee Blodgett

For the best of Spain, La Tienda has such a variety of items, it’s impossible not to find something you either need or is far too much fun to pass up. While you can get wine (and wine collections) on their site as well as cava, sherry, Sangria and wine accessories, we are doing a round-up of fun California wines later this month, so we thought we’d focus on some of the other delicacies they do so well, such as olive oil, their cookware and tableware, as well as other food items that are perfect for the holidays, like chorizo, paella, ham and cheese.

And, listen to this, it’s not just any ham — they have whole bone in-hams, whole boneless hams, sliced hams and grilling porks and for cheese, since the cheese is SO delicious in Spain, we had to try some out. They offer cow, sheep and goat cheese or combinations of all of them. Sweet! They even do vinegars, nuts and seafood and with such a wide variety of choice, it’s hard to know where to begin.

While you might find meat an odd thing to find on a Gift Guide, I’ll be honest with you, when it showed up in a box specifically designed to keep it cold, I was impressed….and we were excited to try it out. There’s something alluring about meat (and cheese) arriving on your doorstep.

In this case, the Spanish flare was there. Central to Spanish cuisine is the parrilla, or grill, fueled with natural charcoal or grapevine cuttings. Depending on the region of Spain, you will enjoy grilled chorizo, butifarra, chistorra or morcilla sausages, sizzling hot and full of flavor. Grilled lamb chops and aged steak are a favorite, but acorn-fed, free-range Ibérico de Bellota pork is arguably the finest meat for the grill.

We also love their pottery, which comes in serving and tableware. Why? It’s fun and brightly colored in an oh so Spanish style. And, the prices are right, which is great for even last minute holiday gift buys. For example, how about this stunning Mediterranean Blue Terra Cotta Sangría Pitcher? What a better way to serve the famous Spanish cocktail OR even water on the table for a dinner party than with this bright Sangría pitcher? I personally love the color since it combines earth tones with Mediterranean flare. Apparently, the pitcher is made in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains.

If you’re a cheese lover, you’ll love their selection. We particularly fell in love with their Villajos Reserva Manchego Cheese which you can get in a four pound box – what an incredible gift idea? If you love cheese, you know that sheep and goat cheese from Spain, Italy and Greece is to die-for! And, you’ll also know that it’s not that easy to get high quality imported cheese at most grocery stores in the states — even specialty ones in higher profile cities like San Francisco have their limitations. Why not splurge on the holidays?

Their Villajos Reserva is an authentic handmade, raw sheep’s milk cheese cured for over one year. Many connoisseurs apparently rate this Villajos as the best Manchego in Spain. The cheese is “homemade” – made in small quantities by two brothers from milk supplied by local shepherds. Oh so yum!

It is made with raw milk from the Manchega breed of sheep, which are tended by shepherds in the hills surrounding the village. As story has it, the family collects the fresh milk and makes the cheese within hours of milking in order to preserve its natural aroma and taste. Because the milk is so fresh, it does not need to be pasteurized which would tone down the rich flavors of the cheese. And yup, it has won a bunch of awards, including Gran Seleccion Medal Winner for three years in a row — two thumbs up!

While we’re on cheese, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention their olive oil selection. They have everything from Reserve to more standard extra virgin olive oil. While we tried a more standard olive oil in their collection, we WISHED we tested something that caught our attention after the fact – the Mas Tarres Extra Virgin Olive Oil Siurana, which is a fruity mild oil but in a signature whiskey bottle. Looks absolutely delish and also beautifully presented, which makes for a great holiday gift selection.

Head on over to www.tienda.comhttps:/// for a ton of browsing fun.

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