Matiz España: From Culinary Collective

When Culinary Collective was formed in 1998 in Seattle, it was by two people passionate about travel, about gourmet international food staples and about bringing the joys of both to homes stateside.

Pere Selles is originally from Catalunya, Spain and Betsy Power is from Salem, Massachusetts, and back in 1998, they began importing small farm and fishing village products directly from Spain. Then, they expanded to Peru, featuring iconic-but-artisan Peruvian delicacies. 

Today, Culinary Collective supplies dozens upon dozens of gourmet food items from different producers in both countries.

“Pere and Betsy found the best products from each region, from the best producers,” says current Director of Marketing for Culinary Collective, Chrissy Weiss.

“These were often old-world producers who would be too small to get to market in the United States, but Culinary Collective helped bring them over. Matiz is one line that we own as a company, and while people cannot order directly from Culinary Collective, we make sure that they can get Matiz España products at fine retailers around American cities. Amazon is another good resource for finding our food items, as is The Spanish Table site.”

Paella is a dish you can now find globally, but originally, it was invented in Valencia, on Spain’s eastern coast, where seafood is plentiful and incredibly fresh.

Invented in the middle of the 19th century, the dish’s name comes from the low, wide, metal pan that’s used for cooking it. Traditionally, this pan is placed over an open outdoor grill, for even heating. It also works on your stovetop, but depending on your particular stove, you may have a trial and error of moving it occasionally, to ensure even heating.

“Paella rice is a style of grain that absorbs lots of water and really plumps up. At the same time, it won’t become soggy. It still has that toothsome quality to it when cooked.”
Chrissy Weiss

The word paella is now synonymous with rice. It’s a term common in the lexicon of diners from Toledo to Tuscany and that rice isn’t any ordinary pantry staple. You cannot use Basmati in a pinch or reach for Jasmine.

The word paella is now synonymous with rice. It’s a term common in the lexicon of diners from Toledo to Tuscany and that rice isn’t any ordinary pantry staple. You cannot use Basmati in a pinch or reach for Jasmine.

“Paella rice is a style of grain that absorbs lots of water and really plumps up,” says Weiss. “At the same time, it won’t become soggy. It still has that toothsome quality to it when cooked.”

For paella, you have to have paella rice and this bag by Matiz España features grains harvested in one of the most lauded areas of Valencia.

You begin with a sofrito, made of braising onions and tomatoes in olive oil. Then you’ll want to add an ultra-quality broth. Seek out another Culinary Collective import for that, too.

“The Aneto brand is great,” says Weiss. “Your rice is really where you get the flavor in paella. You add in seafood or meat and other vegetables as the last step. But it’s the saffron and the broth that really infuse the rice.”

Aneto makes a whole lineup of broths, from chicken to seafood to a vegetarian — all specifically crafted for perfect paella every time.

Look out for a recipe later in this booklet, and after you’ve perfected your home recipe, reach for Matiz’s other paella rice grain called “Bomba.” It absorbs one-third more water, and is really a chef’s-choice for the top echelon of paella crafting. Both are delicious beyond measure, but the Bomba offers a graduate-level opportunity once you’ve gotten the hang of the dish.

Spain is all about passion. And, while we definitely associate red with this fiery nation–– from the flags waved by Matadors to the red roses tossed at flamenco dancers––we also associate the color green. Because Spain is legendary for peppers.

If you pop in the markets in Madrid, you’ll see vendors hawking the famous pimientos de padrón––a blistered, grass-green pepper from the northwest. They say one out of every 10 served is wildly hot.

Spain is all about passion. And, while we definitely associate red with this fiery nation––from the flags waved by Matadors to the red roses tossed atflamenco dancers––we also associate the color green. Because Spain is legendary for peppers.

If you pop in the markets in Madrid, you’ll see vendors hawking the famous pimientos de padrón––a blistered, grass-green pepper from the northwest. They say one out of every 10 served is wildly hot.

However, we wanted to dig deeper this issue and introduce you to a pepper that is beloved in Basque country and beyond, but probably isn’t in your pantry until now.

Guindilla peppers are slender, waxy and light green or yellow, grown in Basque country, where frequent rainfalls create perfect conditions. It’s a pepper variety that’s been passed down through the farming generations, and they are most often served pickled in vinegar. Once in a jar, the Spanish refer to them as Piparra peppers.

This little jar packs a lot of flavor. Matiz España’s piparra are incredible on so many things, thanks to a bright, vegetal note, light sweetness and very little heat. You can snack on them right from the jar, or serve them on sandwiches, burgers or alongside rich soft cheeses. One of our favorite options is to add them to a spear with an olive and set them on the rim of a spicy Bloody Mary. The acid in the vinegar plays so well with tomato juice and vodka. For your Martini? Yes, indeed. Make sure to splash a little juice in with your gin and vermouth, as well.

“In Spain, they put their best seafood into tins. It’s a very typical luxury product to find served in a home or party setting.”

— Chrissy Weiss

Our final selection of incredible goods by Matiz España is the Spicy Wild Sardines. If tinned fish gives you pause, it shouldn’t.

“In Spain, they put their best seafood into tins,” offers Weiss. “It’s a very typical luxury product to find served in a home or party setting.”

Known as ‘Conservas,’ premium, colorful cans of tinned seafood are line the shelves of the best specialty shops across Europe, and inside, delicate, ultra-flavorful selections of oysters, small fish and clams are packaged in the world’s best olive oils, often with spices added. From Matiz, you have a gorgeous tin of wild sardines, caught in the deep waters off the coasts of Spain, Italy and Croatia. To the Spanish olive oil, the packers place the delicate fish with a little salt and piri piri peppers for heat. Your jar of peppers is mild and sweet, but this tin of sardines has some fire and spark to it.

Matiz Sardines are considered some of the finest sardines available in the world and this tin of Spicy Wild Sardines with Piri Piri Chilies was awarded the sofi Silver Award 2020 for best in the meat/poultry/seafood category.

“We’ve been selling these for ten-plus years,” Weiss says, “and we like to say it’s a ‘tin-to-table’ movement. One of the easiest ways to serve them is to open a tin, get some crusty bread and dip that in the oil. Then just eat the fish. It’s an amazing, protein-packed meal or snack on it’s own. If you’re having a crowd, we’d suggest slicing and toasting a baguette and smearing it with a little sour cream or crème fraiche. Then, take a spicy sardine and put a filet on each piece. Top it with a little drizzle of the oil from the can and a little chopped green onion or parsley.

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