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      Published in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook - WINNER

      Cristina’s from Spain

      June 14, 2011

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      The food of Spain has more and better cachet, and major food cred as time goes on. Lagging behind sister European countries like France and Italy due to the slow return from Francisco Franco’s dictatorial ways, Spain’s foods, cuisine and chefs are now hitting their stride on the world stage. Only due to lack of exposure this writer hadn’t fully experienced the wonders of Spain’s food until the last few years.  Assuredly much like many others who pride themselves in eating well, traveling and experiencing new things.

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      A basket of jamon and chorizo at a Cristina's from Spain booth.

      Cristina Rodriguez, owner of Cristina’s from Spain, was born and raised in Madrid.  She has lived for the last seventeen years in Los Angeles.  Missing many of the foods and flavors of her youth she sought out U.S.-based importers who were already importing some of her favorite things to eat from Spain.  She and her husband Tony Testa sell cheeses, jamons, chorizo, tortilla, almonds, olives and other delicacies at various farmers’ markets around Los Angeles.  The difference between what she sells versus what you may find at big box stores like Costco is that she went back to Spain, found the items she remembered she loved so much, then located the items through an established importer.  As a child she remembers a manchego maker in the countryside outside Madrid that sold his cheese village to village on a donkey.  She found him, he’s still making cheese and now she sells it in Los Angeles.

      A basket of cheese at a Cristina's from Spain booth.

      A basket of cheese at a Cristina's from Spain booth.

      All the items that she and Tony sell have a similar story.  After tasting one too many mediocre versions of something Cristina knew tasted better back in Spain, she and Tony set out to find the highest quality version of that specific item.  Among the many foods they offer are quince paste, olives, marcona almond flat bread, chorizo, serrano ham, manchego, goat and blue cheeses, and the Spanish favorite tortilla (a potato and egg fritatta).  The couple made sure each item was up to snuff by having Cristina’s mother in Madrid give her approval.  If she didn’t like an item they were considering it wasn’t added to the inventory.  When Cristina and Tony visited Cristina’s mother, Tony took copious notes.  He’s now the official cook in the partnership.  Anything the couple sells that is prepared is Tony’s doing.

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      Cristina’s goal is to share the flavors she remembers growing up; to find those Spanish delicacies that are a step above the rest; those that taste of the place they come from, the terroir which always affects the flavors in endless nuanced ways.  With the help of people like Cristina and Tony the glorious flavors of Spain will reach more and more willing and hungry mouths.

      Tony Testa manning the Cristina's from Spain booth.

      Tony Testa manning the Cristina's from Spain booth.

      Spanish tortilla. The recipe is Tony and Cristina's.

      Spanish tortilla. The recipe is Tony and Cristina's.

      Cristina’s from Spain (323-719-1974) can be found at these Los Angeles-area farmers’ markets: Tuesdays in Silver Lake, Saturdays at La Canada, and Sundays in Atwater Village.

      *A version of this post was previously posted on Honest Cooking.

      10 Comments on “Cristina’s from Spain”

      1. Phil says:

        I LOVE THIS!!! All of my favorite things are here, especially Spanish dry cured sausages and incredible cheeses. You’re so lucky to have a vendor like this at your farmers market. Take advantage of it as often as you can. When I want this stuff, I have to either drive to La Española Meats in Harbor City, or order online and have it delivered.

        I could never put my finger on what it was about Spanish food that attracted me the way it did. Then I read more history about Sicily (where my Grandparents emmigrated from) and found that Charles III of Spain ruled Sicily in the mid 1700’s, so we have a little Spanish blood in us (along with everything else – apparently the Sicilians laid down for everyone).

        I hope Christina’s does well. Great piece, Charles. :-)

      2. Great post, Charles. All that wonderful food out there in California!

      3. Kristen says:

        what a great addition to your farmer’s market! Sounds delicious :)

      4. pierre says:

        i love so much Spain and food is so good there !!cheers de Paris
        Pierre

      5. pierre says:

        bonjour Charles !
        yes spanish chefs are getting more famous ; spain is so welcoming and food can be so great there !!
        France is not bad either non?!!!
        Pierre

      6. Tammy says:

        Hello Charles,
        She sounds like a interesting go-getter–your neighborhood is lucky to have people like her! Have you ever had manchego with quince paste. ADORE. I have some in the fridge now, from when we were on the Costa Brava. I just can’t remember what it’s called in Spanish, I keep forgetting the name…but never the taste of the two together.

      7. Very interesting article. I really like to see how people around the world enjoy the spanish traditional food. It makes me motivated in order to continue offering the best spanish traditional food to all over the world.

      8. Chris says:

        This is a farmer’s market that I would like to visit!

      9. I’ve been to this booth. It’s possible that I ate too much of the manchego! One of my fave things is finding quality international products in your neighborhood, and they definitely offer a cool selection!

      10. Annie says:

        Thank you for sharing! This is a booth that I would love to visit, all that delicious meat and cheese!

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