Km 0 Maestrat Products
marcona almond – millenary olive oil – raw honey – black truffle – hazelnuts – aromatic herbs
Low water footprint products of the Maestrat
All our main ingredients are products of km 0, Maestrat products that are produced around us. Products that do not require to be carried hundreds of kilometers (if not thousands) to send them again later.
And produced in rainfed land with minimal water footprint, in an environment where the irrigated coastline lands exhaust the Maestrat aquifer, where the scarcity of water has made it a limiting resource.
In the last decades, almonds and olive oil have been the most universal products from all those produced in the Maestrat, but we have a few more that are pussing hard. The nougat makers of Alicant have always accumulated our almonds. The valuation of the Mediterranean diet a few decades ago has put the olive oil on the map. Honey has always been and the new trends in functional food are becoming to give prestige to the carob bean flour. We still have more, the appreciated black truffle, the ancestral medicinal herbs or hazelnuts. All of them are raw materials that we have in the Maestrat pantry and in D’Armela.
Consolidated and potential functional foods
Functional nutrition is a new world in constant evolution that is bringing back into fashion foods that we had forgotten. New scientific studies are being showed up throughout the world about products that until now seemed us tasteless. The consideration we have about foodstuff is repositioning and those that we produce in the Maestrat are also immersed in this trend.
At the moment we embrace that the diet that we follow is an essential part of our health, the importance of what we eat cross to another dimension. It is no longer about eating what I fancy, or anything to get out of the way, or simply because we are hungry. It ceases to be just a need in the short term. We start to consider what we eat by the long-term effects in our body, by how it modulates our metabolism and our future health. Many foods are already known for their properties and are associated with certain benefits.
One of the bases of D’Armela is the valorisation of the indigenous products of the Maestrat. These are our starting ingredients. We also believe that they have a long journey in the world of functional food, products with their own personality, all of them in our environment.
The honey of the Maestrat is of excellent quality. The variety of the honey flora and the dry Mediterranean climate make it very aromatic. Especially if we take as standard the processed and imported honey that we find at the supermarkets. D’Armela only works with locally produced raw honey. It’s a honey that has not had any homogenization treatment, so when the temperature goes below 15 ºC crystallizes. It is a natural phenomenon that indicates its purity and quality. The honey is strongly influenced by the climatology and the availability of flowers at any time, so it is a product in continuous variation of nuances. This constant variation is also part of its grace, in contrast to the industrial brands.
Virgin olive oil and oil from millenary olive trees
The olive oil (Olea europaea L.) has been produced in the Maestrat more than 3000 years ago. The more widespread variety is Farga, which includes all the certified millenary olive trees. There are many more, among which are outlined Empeltre, Cuquello, Villalonga, Nana and Picual. In recent years there has been an emergence of new makers and monovarietal oils that are gaining the recognition of experts at international level.
The Carob (Ceratonia siliqua L.) have also been linked with the Maestrat since immemorial times. Present throughout the Mediterranean basin, the carob tree stands out for its resistance to drought and adaptation to low-fertile terrain. The tradition associates carobs to past times of hunger and feeding for the herd. But the food industry uses seeds to extract carob gum, with thickening action. And also from the seed is extracted carob oil, with unique properties to lubricate precision instruments. Currently, carob flour has earned renown among those who follow a plant-based diet for its functional properties, and has entered as ingredient in the haute cuisine.
Any product with truffle aroma passes to another dimension. The black truffle (Tuber melanosporum) has been gathered at the Maestrat since the second half of last century. The “Black Gold” has become an indispensable complement for the economy of many families. Although the production was initially exported to France, the use that made and make the most prestigious Spanish chefs, has popularized it to the extent that the domestic market already absorbs much of its production. It is a “fruit” of winter, giving the best quality in the cooler months.
The hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) competes with almond in the world of pastry and snacks. In the Maestrat, the village of hazelnuts is Benassal. Located in the middle mountain, it has a slightly more wet and cool microclimate in the summer, favoured by a geography that protects it from the strongest winds in winter and not as cool as at the highest levels. The hazelnut trees were adapted to perfection and the fruit has become the identification card to the village, together with its reputed water.
Aromatic herbs and medicinal plants
Until well into the twentieth century, medicinal plants were the main source of remedies for our people. Even today, in most houses they are used, especially as a condiment. Among the best known are the rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) the thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) the sabory (Satureja Innota Pau) or the pennyroyal (Micromeria fruticosa (L.) Druce). We could list “100” more that are still used. In D’Armela, the aspect we are interested in are the nuances that they give to the products that carry them. A thrilling field that does not stop surprising us.