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Spice Advice: Paprika

Spice Advice: Paprika

Paprika is a spice that has been tantalizing taste buds all over the world for centuries. It's vibrant color and versatile flavour make it a popular addition to dishes ranging from soups to stews to roasted meats and beyond. But where does this magical spice come from, and what's the deal with Spanish Paprika versus Smoked Paprika? Let's dive in and find out!

First things first, Paprika is believed to have originated in Central America, specifically in Mexico. Spanish explorers brought paprika back to Europe in the 16th century, and it quickly became popular throughout the continent. Today, Hungary is the largest producer of paprika in the world, but Spain is known for producing some of the highest quality paprika. Paprika comes from dried and ground Capsicum peppers. These peppers can be sweet or spicy, and the resulting paprika will reflect their heat level. The peppers are typically harvested in the fall, dried in the sun, and then ground into a powder. Sounds simple, right? But not all paprika is created equal.

Spicewalla carries two types of Paprika. One of the most famous of the two is Spanish Paprika, also known as Pimentón. This paprika hails from Spain, where it has been a staple of Spanish cuisine for centuries. Spanish Paprika is made from dried and ground red peppers that are slowly smoked over oak wood, which gives the spice a distinctive smoky flavour and aroma. The level of smokiness can vary depending on the type of pepper used and the length of time it is smoked, but it is always a prominent feature of Spanish Paprika.

But what about Smoked Paprika? Isn't that the same thing? Not quite! While all Spanish Paprika is smoked, not all Smoked Paprika is Spanish. Smoked Paprika can be made from any variety of Capsicum pepper, and it can be smoked over any type of wood. This means that while Spanish Paprika is always smoked over oak wood, Smoked Paprika can have a variety of smoky flavours depending on the wood used.

So, what are the differences between Spanish Paprika and Smoked Paprika in terms of flavour? Spanish Paprika has a deep, rich smoky flavour with a subtle, mild, sweetness, while Smoked Paprika can range from mild to hot (ours is pretty mild) and have a range of different smoky flavours depending on the pepper and wood used.  Smoked paprika is most commonly associated with Hungarian cuisine and is made from a variety of pepper called Capsicum annuum. Hungarian paprika comes in several different grades, ranging from mild and sweet to hot and spicy.

When it comes to using these two spices in cooking, they can both be used interchangeably, but their flavour profiles will give different results. Spanish Paprika is great for adding color and a smoky depth to stews and soups, while Smoked Paprika can be used in rubs or as a finishing touch on grilled meats or roasted vegetables.

Whether you're a fan of the rich smokiness of Spanish Paprika or the versatility of Smoked Paprika, there's no denying the magic of this all-purpose powerhouse!

1 Comment

  • This Smoked vs Spanish paprika spice advise is awesome. It not only clarifies the differences, but explains that I was somewhat wrong in believing that Smoked was the better version! Anytime you can use multiple selections of a product(peppers) to develop the end result you run the risk of differences that impact the desired end result, because your control is not your own, it’s now brand flavored simply because of using two or more cans, in this case, of “smoked” for your recipes.
    I now lean more toward using Spanish Paprika for consistantcy and will use spicier peppers for altering the result when necessary!
    Thanks for helping me learn something new for me!

    James Eggert on

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