powder - sweet
powder - Spanish (de la Vera)
powder - Spanish
Brick red and slightly clumpy, this rich-looking smoked Spanish paprika powder is from the La Vera region. As the name would suggest, this spice's flavor profile is smoky and not as sweet as Hungarian paprikas. Instead, it has a complex savoriness. It has woodsy notes with a slight touch of heat and a sharp finish. In America it is a favorite for BBQ sauces and meat rubs.
All Capsicum annuum paprika peppers originated in the Central America region but there's conflicting stories on how they were brought to different parts of Europe. In Spain, there's a legend that the peppers were a gift to King Ferdinand by Christopher Columbus in the form of seeds. When the planted seeds grow to peppers that didn't ripen properly, monks then tried to compensate by smoking them. Another plausible legend is that it was the monks themselves that brought the seeds back from the Americas after their missionary work.
Whatever the methodology for their arrival in Spain, it became customary to smoke the peppers over oak fires giving them a distinctive campfire quality.
Like all paprikas the powder is a result of blends of types of peppers. In Spain the most common types blended include Bola (Cascabel), Jeromin, Jariza, Jaranda chiles. Depending on the mix this will yield either sweet (dulce); bittersweet (agridulce); or picante (hot) paprika powders.
The flavor profile of Hungarian paprika and Spanish smoked paprika is very different. Substituting one for the other will change the taste of the dish. Hungarian is generally more intense and sweeter.
In the 17th century Spanish-speaking Mexicans adopted the Aztec name for spicy peppers: chilli (Nahuatl language). At that time they modified it to its current spelling of chile, this moniker has also been adopted by the Spanish-language influenced American Southwest.
Exported and anglicized in the 17th century it ironically appears again spelled as chilli in English texts of that age. Americans simplified this to chili, with a single "l". In the early 1800s the popular frontier dish "chili" was concocted and the spice blend marketed to make this favorite at home was called chili powder. Today it contains a blend of spices which often includes cumin, oregano, paprika and one or two different types of ground chile peppers.
In culinary circles in the U.S. it has become practice to defer to the Spanish spelling when referring to a single pepper variety. Chili with an "i" ending is reserved for the spice blend.