Rey de La Vera is a brand of pimenton produced by Sanmel, a family run company that’s been producing traditional pimenton for over a century. The founder’s great grandchildren now run the company, directing hand-selection of peppers from hand-harvested small farms and drying them for fifteen days over an oak wood burning stove. Once the chilies are dried, they are carefully stone ground to the proper consistency.
Pimenton (aka Spanish smoked paprika) is an essential spice in Spanish cuisine. It’s broken down into two basic varieties: sweet (dulce) and spicy (picante) which are made using similar methods, but different chilies.
Sweet pimenton is made from nora chilies, while spicy/hot pimenton is made from guindilla peppers (which provide the heat) & jarandilla peppers (which provide color).
The peppers grown in the Vera Valley to produce pimenton were introduced there from Mexico by monks in the sixteenth century. Pimenton has such an important heritage that it has been given designated Denomination of Origin status, ensuring that it can only be produced in the traditional regions (the Vera Valley in Extremadura, or Murcia) with traditional methods to a high level of quality. Later the pimenton tradition was carried into central Europe where it took on the Hungarian name that is commonly used in the US: Paprika.