What is sweet Paprika?
Paprika, or Pimentón, is one of the most versatile spices. Sweet peppers are dried and ground into a vibrant and fruity powder which brings explosive colour and sweet flavour to uncountable recipes. Unlike most ingredients where cultivar reflects the name of the end product, paprika is a much more general term which is applied to almost any dried red pepper. Bola Americana is the variety of pepper most commonly grown in the fields of Spain. After the pepper has been harvested and dried it is referred to as a Nora pepper. Finally once the pepper has been finely ground to a powder it becomes pimentón or paprika.
Bola Americana Sweet Red Peppers - Murcia, Spain.
What does sweet Paprika taste like?
Sweet paprika is quite a mild spice, bringing sweet fruit notes with almost berry like character to dishes. Some paprikas can be quite spicy depending on the cultivar of red pepper that is used. Often paprika is made with different red peppers imported from different countries. This is why consistency of flavour and quality can change quite significantly from batch to batch in most other brands.
Sourcing & transparency
Due to the difficulty in recognising the origin of a dried and ground red pepper there still remains ambiguity over origin, even in certified products. In order to try and mitigate this uncertainty we have chosen to work directly with a farmer co-operative in Murcia. They are bell pepper farmers first and foremost who combine their produce each year to make paprika. From what we have experienced first hand, this paprika looks and tastes like the real deal. It tastes so good in fact that it won a Great Taste Award in 2021!
Paprika (ground Nora Peppers)
What is Paprika used for?
The peppers that are used to make paprika will dictate largely what the flavour of the final product is. Some paprika may have a mild or more pungent spice if they have used hotter peppers. Others will remain sweet and sometimes slightly bitter depending again on what pepper has been used and also which part of the pepper has been processed. Paprika is a very versatile spice that goes well with many different cuisines but remember to check what type you are buying to ensure it matches the flavour you want in your food. Aside from flavour, paprika also acts as a colourant in cooking and can impart an attractive deep red colour to your food.
Paprika is common in spice blends across the world from Cajun cuisine to Thai. It’s what is known as an amalgamating spice, which means it helps to bring together other flavours.
Here's a few of our recipes using our award winning paprika:
Malolo - head of the farmer co-operative where we buy our paprika
Names and Origins
The word paprika is of Hungarian origin and translates to bell pepper, Paprika is still the national spice of Hungary where it is used liberally in Paprikash. Bell peppers are cultivated all over the world but the largest producers and exporters are in India, China & Peru. Although Spain is one of the largest exporters of paprika, most of the dried peppers that are used in its production come from overseas. This has given rise to an important but sensitive discussion in Spain over provenance.
Around 1/3 of paprika produced in Spain is made using red peppers grown within the country. The remaining 2/3 are made from peppers that have been imported from overseas, Peru & China being the most common. While there is of course nothing inherently wrong with using peppers from different countries, paprika made with peppers from Spain can achieve a higher market price. Many producers therefore are looking to certify their product in order to guarantee provenance and achieve more for their crop.