The quality and range of Spanish food throughout the UK and in particular the capital has changed enormously in the past ten years. In this blog we hear from one the pioneers who brought this about, GOCV member and founder of Brindisa, Monika Linton, who shares her experience of current Spanish food trends in London.
Written: August, 2019
Spanish gastronomy in London is evolving and adapting to consumer’s priorities and interests. The tapas culture of eating a variety of small plates continues to be popular and I would say is finding a growing number of fans.
Both dinners and shoppers are rethinking their life style choices and are far more conscious and conscientious about what they eat and drink and how much. This engagement is extremely rewarding as it allows suppliers and restaurateurs to continue to specialize their offer and as long as front of house teams and shop servers are well trained and communicate these details then you can embrace more devoted and dedicated customers.
Within gastronomy we are seeing a very keen interest in dishes that are healthier while still authentic – fish dishes be they fresh or cured fish recipes are growing in popularity, ingredients that suit vegetarian dishes such as pulses and grains are also attracting a huge number of consumers. Equally rice & Spanish fideo pasta recipes are very definitely in fashion and becoming better understood and cooked with greater skill. So although Spain is very famous for its fresh & cured meats it is also very capable of satisfying this new meat free trend in food.
Spanish cheeses are finally getting far more attention and as the recipes include predominantly sheep and goat milk with certain ones made with vegetarian rennet these also are highly suited to this wave of alternative thinking or move to flexitarian foods.
In contrast possibly to this swing to healthy choices there is a conflict between consumers wanting greater convenience while also wanting to use less packaging and plastic. It is fair to say that because people cook less than before, the use of unnecessary materials to present foods & drinks is very much greater. This is a environmental challenge as well as an aesthetic challenge as consumers at the same time do buy with their eyes and responded very strongly to highly designed and good quality packaging. Due to busy life styles and less home time people need speed, convenience and fast service all of which involves packaging.
In addition, there is an obvious growth in purchases at all venues that include experiences, learning and a level of bespoke service. This plays well into the strengths of specialist food and wine outlets. As long as one sticks to one’s core knowledge and principles this adjunct to a small business can be very gratifying.
As a very broad overview, Spain is best known for its savoury foods and flavours so that the sweet pastries and chocolates rarely gain much traction here as yet. Sweet wines and sherries that can accompany desserts and so on tend to be enjoyed more often with cheeseboards.
Recently however we have witnessed a far stronger interest in wines from lesser known areas such as the Canary Islands and wines without DOP. This is an encouraging trend for the considerable number of smaller grower-wine makers across Spain and we at Brindisa Kitchens are keen to support them.
It is hard to imagine now but, back in 1988 when Brindisa was founded by Monika Linton, knowledge of Spanish gastronomy was almost non-existent in the UK. Starting with a conviction that the foods she loved in Spain deserved to find a wider audience, Monika launched her company on a shoestring. Visit www.brindisa.com to learn more.
Monika was made a member of the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino in 2015 and published Brindisa – The True Food of Spain in 2016.