From Spain with Love
Beverly Stephen / June 28th, 2013
When it comes to restaurants, über chef José Andrés has Spain covered. Now he’s branching out to retail products. His line of specialty products from small Spanish producers is launching officially at the Fancy Food Show in New York City this weekend.
From potato chips to cockles and mussels—not “alive, alive, oh,” but canned, Andrés is bringing the foods he loves to America. “I arrived here 23 years ago,” he recalls, “and there were hardly any Spanish products. Today, more are available.” But he believes there is room for more still, particularly from these small producers he personally selected.
“You know the economy in Spain is not doing so well,” he says, hoping to help out “by uniting a group of small producers” and importing their products.
What, you might ask, is special about a potato chip, even one topped off with a sprinkling of Himalayan pink salt? “This guy is one of the best fry masters in Spain,” Andrés enthuses. “He fries them in extra-virgin olive oil. Spain is the land of olive oil and frying. He is a great soul, not a company.” Andrés notes that the chips can make a great tapa if you top them with canned seafood.
In Spain, quality canned foods are highly regarded, and there are even tapas bars that serve foods from cans. The Andrés line includes clams, white tuna in olive oil, and sea urchin caviar, as well as the cockles and mussels. “You know the clams are cured and their flavor develops over time, like wine,” Andrés says, noting that some places will wait until a can achieves a certain age before serving it.
Several varieties of olives and olive oils, Sherry vinegar, purple garlic from the Castilla-La Mancha region, breadsticks and rustic Catalan toasts, tomato puree, and the classic roasted eggplant escalivada are also available.
The products are currently available online at JoseAndresFoods.com and soon at select supermarkets. Andrés says he’s thinking about opening his own retail space in the future.