Salmorejo from Córdoba: The book

Page 1










Translated from the Spanish by Sandra Meneaud

ISBN 978-84-697-5646-1




Letter from the Mayoress of Córdoba.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................5 Letter from the President of Córdoba Provincial Council.........................................................................................................................................................................................7 Foreword by Almudena Villegas..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................9 OLIVE OIL - Message from the Academic Director on the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Symposium.................................................................................................................................10 ARBEQUINO..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................14 HOJIBLANCA.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................15 PICUDO.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................16 PICUAL..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................17 SWEET COUPAGE .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................18 SPICY COUPAGE...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................19 BITTER COUPAGE..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................20 RECIPES: Oil and salmorejo...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................23 Gnocchi, romesco sauce, mushrooms and asparagus...........................................................................................................................................................................................24 Salmorejo, potato, fried bread and garlic purée and soft egg yolk........................................................................................................................................................................24 Carpaccio of Iberian pork shoulder with fleur de sel, thyme, salted egg yolks and macadamia topping..............................................................................................................25 Salmorejo with mushrooms and smoked vinegar truffle with acid nuances..........................................................................................................................................................25 TOMATOES ...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................26 HISTORY OF THE TOMATO.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................28 TOMATO TYPOLOGIES...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................30 SENSORY CHARACTERISTICS OF TOMATO VARIETIES FROM THE GUADALQUIVIR VALLEY ORCHARDS NUTRITIONAL VALUES OF THE TOMATO................................................33 NUTRITIONAL VALUES OF THE TOMATO...............................................................................................................................................................................................................36 MORPHOLOGICAL, SENSORY AND PHYSIOCHEMICAL CHARACTERISATION OF TOMATO VARIETIES FROM THE MIDDLE GUADALQUIVIR VALLEY ORCHARDS..........................37 RECIPES: Tomato and salmorejo............................................................................................................................................................................................................................41 Tuna marinated with diced vegetables and wasabi air..........................................................................................................................................................................................42 Tartar of tomato and lobster with lime avocado...................................................................................................................................................................................................42 Cherry gazpacho...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................43 Provencal tomato gratin.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................43 GARLIC.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................45 GARLIC IN HISTORY..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................46 GARLIC VARIETIES AND ECOTYPES.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................49 SENSORY CHARACTERISTICS OF GARLIC VARIETIES FROM MONTALBÁN (Córdoba) ..........................................................................................................................................56 GARLIC, NUTRITIONAL AND BENEFICIAL PROPERTIES.........................................................................................................................................................................................59 RECIPES - Garlic and salmorejo.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................67 Sautéed sardine fillets, garlic confit, pickled garlic, black garlic, floral touches and warm red pepper salad........................................................................................................68 Marinated baby sardines, sweet, natural garlic puree with beet and salmorejo...................................................................................................................................................68 Marinated anchovies with roasted sweet peppers................................................................................................................................................................................................69 Migas à la Subbética de Córdoba.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................69 BREAD..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................71 BREAD AND GASTRONOMY..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................72 THE HISTORY OF BREAD.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................74 SITUATION AND BREAD CONSUMPTION IN SPAIN: MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE... BUT ALMOST...................................................................................................78 SENSORY ATTRIBUTES OF WHITE BREAD: CÓRDOBAN TELERA BREAD................................................................................................................................................................89 RECIPES - Bread and salmorejo.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................93 ‘Jeringuilla’ or ‘Segadores’ gazpacho....................................................................................................................................................................................................................94 ‘Telera’ bread & butter pudding............................................................................................................................................................................................................................94 Garlic and ‘de la Vera ‘paprika soup......................................................................................................................................................................................................................95 Iberian pork or beef cheek with boletus mushrooms and angelica.......................................................................................................................................................................95 SALT......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................97 BRIEF HISTORY OF SALT .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................98 ARCHEOLOGY OF SALT (from inland areas) .......................................................................................................................................................................................................102 SALT IS NECESSARY IN MODERATION................................................................................................................................................................................................................111 THE FLAVOUR OF SALT .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................119 THE SALT OF LIFE AND THE LIFE OF SALT............................................................................................................................................................................................................122 RECIPES - Salt and salmorejo..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................127 Confit cod, polenta, black salmorejo and Cointreau...........................................................................................................................................................................................128 Raspberries and salmorejo..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................128 Scarlet veal tongue ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................129 Artichokes with oxtail.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................129 VINEGAR.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................131 VINAGRE de MONTILLA-MORILES AND ITS HISTORICAL INTEGRATION IN CÓRDOBAN SALMOREJO ...............................................................................................................132 VINEGAR - A GASTRONOMIC DISCOVERY..........................................................................................................................................................................................................137 VINEGAR - A HEALTHY CONDIMENT..................................................................................................................................................................................................................141 SENSORY CHARACTERISTICS OF VINAGRE de MONTILLA-MORILES...................................................................................................................................................................146 VINAGRE de MONTILLA-MORILES......................................................................................................................................................................................................................151 RECIPES - Vinegar and salmorejo........................................................................................................................................................................................................................155 Grilled Iberian shoulder steak, with bitter almond purée, sautéed apple and salted almond praline..................................................................................................................156 Pedro Ximénez vinegar ice-cream with Pedro Ximénez jelly...............................................................................................................................................................................156 Crab salmorejo with white shrimp, avocado and iced ceviche............................................................................................................................................................................157 Slow-cooked knuckle of young pork served with a wild mushroom vinaigrette, dressed vegetables and potatoes............................................................................................157




Letter from the Mayoress of Córdoba

The dish has managed to survive all the different periods in the history of our city, from the Romans who made it without tomatoes, until today. This quality of permanence is also a characteristic of Córdoba, which, like its most emblematic dish, strives to maintain its role as a place where all peoples and cultures of the world can be found, and where dialogue and compromise reign. It should be highlighted that besides being an ancient dish, salmorejo is made from simple ingredients, so making it affordable for rich and poor alike. This has united all the social classes around a common food that has been enjoyed in our lands for generations, In this book we delve deep into salmorejo, both as a



whole and into each of its parts, and show its versatility as the basis of many other dishes. For this we must thank the Gastronomic Guild of Córdoban Salmorejo and the

f there is a definitive dish that symbolises Córdoba

magnificent work of Celia Jiménez, Zahira Ortega, Andrés

in the world of gastronomy, it is without doubt

Ocaña, Manuel Bordallo, Daniel Cortés, Timoteo Gutiérrez,

salmorejo, the consequence of raising the simplicity

Matías Vega, José Salamanca, José María González, Noé

of its ingredients to the most exquisite of dishes.

Carmona, Rafael Muñoz, Francisco López, Antonio Juliá, Juanjo Ruiz, Matías and Guzman Vega, Antonio Jiménez,

Salmorejo is a blend of bread, water, salt, olive oil,

José María González and, of course, Almudena Villegas

vinegar, garlic and tomato; simple ingredients that have

Becerril of the Academy of Gastronomy, as well as a large

been fundamental not only in the history of food but also

team of specialists.

in Spanish and Andalusian cuisine.

I’d like to end with the sonnet Julio G. Alonso dedicated to our emblematic dish:

Moreover, it is proof of how a dish made from the most basic of ingredients can become a culinary delight and a

Ay, blessed humility, that in a sauce you put tomato, bread, oil, the joy of garlic and a pinch of salt, companion of this modest delicacy you create.

sign of identity for Córdoba. The city itself is also the product of an elaborate ‘recipe’ of history, in which many civilizations have left their legacy on the city and influenced the character of its inhabitants.

In the searing heat of ovens exquisite dishes are made every day, but just the colour of this sauce suffices, one created simply and with all its gifts.

Salmorejo bears similarities to other dishes, but is also quite unique in its blend– just like the Córdoban people themselves. It is a dish that allows us to enjoy all its

Cool, mild and gentle in the way it conspires to seduce us with its humility and aroma of harmonious balance .

nuances, in much the same way as we delight in all the different nuances of our city. And, as Alessia Cisternino said in her book La República de las Ideas, salmorejo was

Created without doubt from the ancient cask of knowledge, this sauce, salmorejo, from nourish took its name.

a type of fusion cuisine long before this kind of cooking became fashionable.




Letter from the President of Córdoba Provincial Council

It is a source of great pride for me as president of Córdoba Provincial Council to be able to honour and praise this emblem of our province - the result of a precise mix of five ingredients: bread blended with tomatoes from the Córdoban Subbetic region and enriched with the renowned golden olive oil from the Subbetic and Guadajoz

ANTONIO RUIZ CRUZ President of Córdoba Provincial Council


regions, Montoro-Adamuz, Priego de Córdoba, Baena or Lucena, cradle of the four Designations of Origin oils. To this mixture we add garlic from the southern regions and salt from the old salt flats of the eastern parts; not

almorejo s the only dish that can boast of being

forgetting the vinegar from the south and the Iberian ham

the backbone of our province since it combines

from Los Pedroches and the Guadiato Valley in the north.

in a single dish a whole territory - from north to

A perfect combination that allows us to savour with all

south and from east to west. This is due to its tradition

our five senses this traditional delicacy and icon of the

and history as well as its ingredients which come from

Mediterranean diet.

each corner of the province of Córdoba.

Córdoba Provincial Council is committed to supporting

This delicious soup, simple to make but with complex

the Gastronomic Guild of Córdoban Salmorejo in its

nuances, is a gift for the most discerning palates. It is a

efforts to preserve, divulge and perpetuate salmorejo and

unique blend of the best ingredients our province can

our gastronomy in general. The guild works tirelessly to

provide and which manages to unite both history and

encourage research and innovation around salmorejo and

tradition. A unique gastronomic experience that gives

raise awareness of this precious local product. The guild is

status to our origins, our ancestors and our region.

an example to follow -steadfast in its vocation to promote

This is our Córdoban salmorejo, one of the dishes most

our province, products and cuisine.

acclaimed by gourmets and whose importance is reflected

As president of Córdoba Provincial Council, I would like

in this work: a manual that takes us on a journey through

to highlight not only the importance and symbolism of

the most important intricacies of this product; and if we

this dish, but also the value it has for tourism as a sign of

go on this journey - to where our imagination takes us -

our identity and uniqueness. Therefore we will continue

we will remember that our city has been forever linked to

to promote salmorejo as a brand and legacy of our past,


worthy of preserving and perpetuating.




1 kg tomatoes

100 g. extra virgin olive oil

200 g. Telera bread from Córdoba (candeal)

1 garlic clove

10 g. salt

purée tomatoes again

…the oil,


Clean and purée the

Strain and remove skin


and seeds

…the garlic

and the salt

Once strained...

and add the bread,

Garnish with diced Iberian ham and egg


P R O L O G U E ALMUDENA VILLEGAS BECERRIL International Gastronomy Award Winner


almorejo, timeless, ancient, complete and Cรณrdoban is one of the shining lights of Cรณrdoban gastronomy. Son of breads and oils, cereal and olives, fruits of the Cordoban lands, child of ancient garlic and of cheerful tomatoes which journeyed from beyond the

Atlantic to give salmorejo its colour. Needy for salt of the earth and good vinegar. Fruit of the most excellent products from the enveloping agricultural land, its career has been triumphant; from modest beginnings as a substantial dish served in homes and simple and exclusive restaurants, it has risen to become a symbol of the city itself. From nourishing dish to emblem, and from simple beginnings to a now, it has been a long journey to the great kitchens, where food gurus debate over which oil or tomatoes are best, or which is the best way to present it. Maybe neither salmorejo nor Cรณrdoba were aware of its great possibilities until the 21st century, when we began to value our traditional dishes - not just for what they are, but also for what they tell us about ourselves, our history and the dishes made by our ancestors. Years ago, every house on Cรณrdoba had a mother who made salmorejo, this universal salmorejo which represents one of the greatest dishes in the history of Andalusian gastronomy - and which could also be among the greatest in the future. Indeed, whether presented as a homemade dish or restaurant delicacy, salmorejo will always be what it is - a tasty, smooth dish, a main course or sauce, creamy soup or refreshing drink on torrid summer days. And above all, it will always be ours, unique, fruit of a land that has given this dish its family name and which has found something more than welcome - it has found its place. Ours, yours, a great dish - salmorejo from Cรณrdoba



MESSAGE FROM THE ACADEMIC DIRECTOR ON THE EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL SYMPOSIUM The Salmorejo Symposium related to the analysis of extra virgin olive oil was a huge success thanks to the participation of the public, professionals and chefs. The Guild and the Salmorejo Symposium are extremely grateful for the initiative of the Miguel Cabezas, President of the Grupo Cabezas Romero for having initiated this cycle of symposia. However, because this was at the start of the symposium, data and papers had not yet been thoroughly collated as they were for the latter participants. Despite this, we must thank Salvador Cubero, Alejandro Ibáñez and Manuel Heredia, President of the Association of Olive Mills, for their participation. Among the chefs who prepared tasting samples, were: Timoteo Gutiérrez, Kisko García, Antonio López, Juan Pedro Secaduras, Zahira Ortega, Juan José Ruiz Guzmán Vega and Matías Vega. In the presentation of the Symposium as Academic Director, I highlighted that the main aim of this symposium was to «enhance salmorejo as the national dish of Córdoba, a dish that besides being of tremendous tourist value is key for us in Córdoba because it contains natural ingredients from our land - like cereals, olive oil, vegetables and vinegars. It is a real prototype of the Mediterranean diet that was recently considered by the UNESCO an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Salmorejo is part of our roots, it is intrinsically linked to our geography and our history, but also, and above all, it is the dish of Córdoba and that Córdobans should believe in because we enjoy and appreciate good cuisine.» Almudena Villegas, Academic Director

The Guild and the Salmorejo Symposium are extremely grateful for the initiative of the Miguel Cabezas, President of the Grupo Cabezas Romero for having initiated this cycle of symposia. However, because this was at the start of the symposium, data and papers had not yet been thoroughly collated as they were for the latter participants. 10


Extra virgin olive oil, or EVOO, is the juice of olives. It is the only oil of those found frequently on the market that is extracted from a fresh fruit without the use of solvents. It is, as such, a product of superior category - obtained directly from olives and by mechanical means only.





Olive oil has been produced and consumed in the Mediterranean region for millennia. However, over the last thirty years its popularity has grown and it is now consumed by millions worldwide. Olive oil is currently one of the most highly-rated among all the different oils, both for its nutritional value and for its use in gastronomy.


xtra virgin olive oil, or EVOO, is the juice of olives. It is the only oil of those found frequently on the market that is extracted from a fresh fruit without the use of solvents. It is, as such, a product of superior category - obtained

directly from olives and by mechanical means only. Olive oil has been produced and consumed in the Mediterranean region for millennia. However, over the last thirty years its popularity has grown and it is now used by millions worldwide. Olive oil is currently one of the most highlyrated among all the different oils both for its nutritional value and for its use in gastronomy. Scientists argue that it is one of the healthiest oils due to its high monounsaturated fat content, Vitamin E, natural antioxidants and other nutrients. Its extraordinary aroma and flavour as well as its high stability and versatility of uses have given it deserved recognition by chefs and consumers worldwide



ARBEQUINO Extra virgin olive oil of green to ripe fruitiness, medium-high intensity with a pleasant taste of almond. This sweet, slightly spicy oil builds in flavour and has a hint of bitterness. Very soft and fluid on the palate. This variety has medium-low oleic acid content and is high in palmitic acid and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which gives it its characteristic smoothness. It has medium Vitamin E content and is low in polyphenols, which makes it mild and sweet. The resistance to rancidity of this type of oil is medium-low

This sweet, slightly spicy oil builds in flavour and has a hint of bitterness. Very soft and fluid on the palate.



HOJIBLANCA Extra virgin olive oil of an intense, green fruitiness. Sweet and smooth on the palate, building to a bitter pungency, with an unripe almond aftertaste. This variety is in high oleic acid and medium palmitic and linoleic acid, very high in Vitamin E and medium polyphenol content, making it smooth and sweet. The resistance to rancidity of this type of oil is medium

Extra virgin olive oil of an intense, green fruitiness. Sweet and smooth on the palate, building to a bitter pungency, with an unripe almond aftertaste.



PICUDO Extra virgin olive oil, slightly bitter and spicy with a very intense green fruitiness This variety has a medium oleic acid content and high palmitic acid and polyunsaturated fat content, giving it a characteristic smoothness. It is high in Vitamin E and total polyphenol content, giving it a pleasant aroma and a green fruitiness. The resistance to rancidity of this type of oil is medium-low

Extra virgin olive oil, slightly bitter and spicy with a very intense green fruitiness.



PICUAL Extra virgin olive oil, intense green fruitiness, reminiscent of fresh grass. Fragrant, with an intense bitterness, but pleasant and spicy. A well-balanced oil. This variety has a high oleic acid content, medium palmitic acid content and low linoleic acid content. High Vitamin E content. It also has a high content in total polyphenols, which gives it a full, bitter, spicy flavour. Its excellent acidic composition, together with high natural antioxidant contents, mainly polyphenols and tocophenols, make resistance to rancidity of this oil very high

Intense green fruitiness, reminiscent of leaves. Fragrant, with an intense bitterness, but pleasant and spicy.



SWEET COUPAGE Blend of extra virgin olive oils, using monovarietal oils, mainly from the Arbequina variety. Arbequina and Picual varieties are used for this blend. Green fruity oil, very sweet on the palate, with a slight hint of bitter, spicy undertones. A well-balanced oil

Green fruity oil, very sweet on the palate, with a slight hint of bitter, spicy undertones.



SPICY COUPAGE Blend of extra virgin olive oils using monovarietal oils predominantly from the Hojiblanca variety. For this blend the Hojiblanca and Picual varieties are used, together with a small percentage of Arbequina, and other varieties native to the Baena region. It is of an intense green fruitiness with medium bitterness, building to spiciness

It is of an intense green fruitiness with medium bitterness, building to spiciness.



BITTER COUPAGE Blend of extra virgin olive oils using monovarietal oils mainly from the Picual variety. The Picual and Arbequina varieties are used in this blend, together with other varieties native to the area. It has a green fruitiness, very sweet on the palate, rising above a very slightly bitter, spicy flavour. It is a well-balanced oil

It has a green fruitiness, very sweet on the palate, rising above a very slightly bitter, spicy flavour. A wellbalanced oil.








Oil 23



Gnocchi, romesco sauce, mushrooms and asparagus. INGREDIENTS For the gnocchi: 100 g. potato / 20 g. cream / 10 g. gluco / 20 g. olive oil / salt / stock / 1 litre mineral water / 5 g. alginic acid For the romesco sauce: 100 g. tomatoes / 30 g. almonds / 1 slice bread / oregano / thyme / rosemary / olive oil / sherry vinegar / salt For the garnish: 3 asparagus tips / 6 shimeji mushrooms/ 5 g. enoki mushrooms/ smoked salt 5 capers / Madras curry powder / flowers and leaves

METHOD Gnocci: boil the potatoes. Strain and put aside the potato water. Blend the potatoes with the cream, salt, and part of the stock. Emulsify with olive oil. Add the gluco. Put aside the dough in a piping bag. In a blender, mix the mineral water and alginic acid. Make a sausage shape with the dough and put into the alginic acid. Cut the dough. Cook for 30 seconds and wash in water. Keep aside in the potato water. Romescu: roast the tomatoes; fry the bread and almonds. In a blender, mix together all the ingredients until the sauce is smooth. Garnish: cut the stalk off the shiimeji mushrooms and keep the cap only. Cut the caps off the enoki mushrooms and keep the stalks only. Lightly sauté the mushrooms with a little smoked salt.

Serving suggestion Draw three lines with the sauce in the centre of the plate. Heat the gnocchi in warm water and place two on each line of the romesco sauce. Draw a line with the curry powder on each gnoccho. Put an asparagus tip on each gnoccho. Put the enoki mushroom stalks on the asparagus, and the shiimeji mushrooms next to the gnocchi and asparagus tips. Place the flowers, leaves and capers on top.

Serving suggestion


Salmorejo with garlic, potato and fried bread purée and soft egg yolk.

Put the salmorejo on the bottom of a dish. Place the patty on top, then the egg yolk. Garnish with red chard leaves to add a touch of freshness and


drizzle with olive oil.

150 g of salmorejo / 1 boiled and peeled potato / 1 large piece of bread (‘Telera’ bread from Córdoba) / 2 Montalbán garlic cloves / 1 teaspoon ‘ Dulce de la Vera ‘sweet paprika / 1 tablespoon dried oregano / half a small glass of chicken and vegetable stock / pinch of salt / 1 egg / 3 leaves of red chard / EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

METHOD Fry the bread and garlic in the olive oil. Mix together with the potato in a pestle and mortar. Add the spices, salt and stock, until smooth. Make a patty with the mixture and then fry in olive oil. Once golden brown on both sides, leave on a plate. Boil the egg for two minutes, crack open and put in a bowl of cold water.




Carpaccio of Iberian pork shoulder with fleur de sel, thyme, salted egg yolks and macadamia topping. INGREDIENTS 700 g Iberian pork shoulder / fleur de sel / chives / thyme / juice of ½ lemon / 10 g mustard / 1 teaspoon EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)/ 200 g macadamia nuts/ 4 pullet egg yolks

METHOD Cut pork into thin slices, preferably with a slicer. Places slices on a plate. Mix the lemon juice, mustard and oil and brush over the pork slices. Boil yolks for 30 seconds. Cut macadamia nuts in flakes and spread on top of yolks. Place yolks on the pork slices and sprinkle fleur de sel, thyme and chives on top of all the ingredients. Serving suggestion as illustrated.


Serving suggestion

Salmorejo with mushrooms and smoked vinegar truffle with acid nuances. INGREDIENTS

Put the cream on a plate and on top the ingredients that give the acid nuances.

For the salmorejo: 600 g of mixed variety tomatoes (‘Daniela’, ‘Rama’ and ‘Pear’) in equal amounts / 300 g of mushrooms (boletus, shitake and button mushrooms). / 8 g of Montalbán purple garlic / 150 ml EVOO (Rincón de la Subbética, Priego de Córdoba extra virgin olive oil / 10 g Gabela de Sal fleur de sel / Vinagre de Montilla-Moriles For acidic nuances: Red Delicious apple/ 100 g. cauliflower / 100 g. organic egg from 2 eggs/ 100 g button mushrooms.

METHOD For the salmorejo Weigh the ingredients, wash and put aside. Clean the mushrooms, cut into thick slices and sauté for about 10 mins. In a wooden wineskin bottle, smoke the tomatoes, garlic and sautéed mushrooms for about 10 mins with Vinagre de Montilla-Moriles. The ingredients will be fragrantly infused with the wood and vinegar flavours. Weigh the mixture, blend for 8 minutes on maximum power until it reaches 52º C / measure salinity which should be 1%, viscosity 5-7 X 10 (4) centipoises. pH 4.5/5. Keep aside hermetically sealed in a cold place / jellify. For acidic nuances Finely dice all ingredients and soak in fino vinegar for 1 hour. Remove and dry well. Put boiled egg in rice vinegar for 1 day.

Note: This dish combines the flavours and aromas of mushrooms / smoke / the textures of raw, lightly pickled vegetables, woody notes, truffles and fresh apple vinegar.


Drizzle with a little virgin olive oil and grate black truffle over all just before serving.


The first mention of tomatoes being eaten in Spain was in 1608, when the Hospital de la Sangre in Seville is said to have used occasionally them in salads. Initially tomatoes were not cultivated for food, but as an ornamental plant and botanical curiosity due to the delicacy of its flower.





HISTORY OF THE TOMATO Evidence of the globalization of food ALMUDENA VILLEGAS BECERRIL


he tomato, from the Quechua word tomatl, is

were not cultivated for food, but as an ornamental plant

the fruit of a Peruvian plant from the Solanaceae

and botanical curiosity due to the delicacy of its flower. The

family. It is native to Peru and Mexico where

use of the tomato in the culinary world and in daily diets was

tomato cultivation was widespread long before the Spanish

slow to take off, and its integration into the European diet is

conquest, and was one of the products most consumed

still proving difficult.

by pre-Columbian peoples. Many tomato varieties were

We know that tomatoes had been introduced tentatively

grown in different sizes and colours and were used to make

into diets in the XVI century, but they did not reach popular

numerous dishes.

acceptance, even in Spain, until many years later. The first

Tomatoes are first mentioned by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún

Spanish recipe book in which tomatoes featured was written

on his arrival in Tenochtitlan in 1519. He wrote that the fruit

by Juan de Altimiras and published in 1745. Although the

was common in ancient Mexican cuisine and describes the

tomato was slow in its rise to popularity, once it became

different types and how they were used in dishes. In the

known it was held in high esteem. As such, it became much

early 16th century tomatoes arrived to Spain from America,

more widely cultivated, especially in the south of Spain. The

but differed greatly from the present-day variety. The

tomato became a fruit that could be eaten at any time of

original tomatoes were small and fine skinned, similar to

the day, either raw or cooked. They are good in salads and

the cherry tomatoes of today. In Europe, it was the Italian

can also be made into a sauce. The fruit was available to

herbalist Pierandrea Matthioli who first mentions tomatoes

people of all social classes, hence its great popularity in the

in 1554, calling them pomme d’or, because of their colour

following centuries. Moreover, tomato plants are easy to

- a term that prevails in the Italian word ‘pomodouro’.

grow and adapt well, especially in warmer regions.

However, tomatoes were not used in European and Spanish

From then on, the rise of the tomato in European kitchens

kitchens until much later, since many red fruits typical of

was unstoppable. More and more recipes were created

the Mediterranean forest, such as belladonna, are extremely

and tomatoes were served in very diverse places, from

toxic, and because of this similarity with the tomato people

convents to palaces, from humble kitchens to the most

were afraid to eat them.

aristocratic. Its rise to culinary stardom was slow, but from

The first mention of tomatoes being eaten in Spain was in

the 20th century onwards, it became part of the European

1608, when the Hospital de la Sangre in Seville is said to

gastronomic culture - and is now enjoyed worldwide, being

have used occasionally them in salads. Initially tomatoes

an irreplaceable ingredient in many international dishes.



We know that tomatoes had been introduced tentatively into diets in the XVI century, but they did not reach popular acceptance, even in Spain, until many years later. The first Spanish recipe book in which tomatoes featured was written by Juan de Altimiras and published in 1745.

Tomatoes have become such an integral part of our diet, that we forget that until recently they were unknown. Yet they have become a well-loved part of the Mediterranean diet, one of the most versatile of foods and with nutritional qualities that make the tomato essential for a healthy diet â–

In the early 16th century, tomatoes arrived to Spain from America, but differed greatly from the present-day variety. Although the tomato was slow in its rise to popularity, once it became known it was extremely well accepted. As such, it became much more widely cultivated, especially in the south of Spain. The tomato became a fruit that could be eaten at any time of the day either raw or cooked.



TOMATO TYPOLOGIES Varieties of tomato from the Guadalquivir Valley Orchard JOSÉ MARÍA TIRADO ORTIZ


LONG-LIFE TOMATO There are two main varieties in the Guadalquivir Valley:


Anairis and Caramba.

• Harvested at the onset of ripening. • Strong in cold weather, short internodes and small leaves.


• Good development, allowing easier harvesting.


• Planting date: autumn.

• Harvested at the onset of ripening. Medium-strength plant with short internodes.


• Good as an outdoor crop, free from splitting, and

• Dark green fruit with green shoulder.

with high resistance to tomato spotted wilt virus.

• Good early production.

• Plant: autumn-spring.

• Good commercially and among the best.


• Although harvested while green, the fruit turns red

• Highly uniform branches, GG-size, regular-shaped

soon after harvesting.

fruit, perfect pistilar closing and producing fruit low-

• Clusters of 5-6 uniform tomatoes, (mainly GG size).

temperature, no thinning. • Produces fruit at low temperatures.

• Average weight: 200-250 gr.

• Firm fruit, with good outdoor performance, no

• Harvesting: due to greenhouse cultivation, available


all year round in the Guadalquivir Valley region.

• Although harvested while green, the fruit turns red

• Produces fruit at low temperatures.

soon after harvesting.

• Major drop in production after peak in July, due to

• Exceptional for its dark green colour and good

high temperatures.

flavour. • Average weight of fruit: 250-300 gr.

• At the end of the harvesting period, production and

• Harvesting: due to greenhouse cultivation, available

size drop noticeably.

all year round in the Guadalquivir Valley region.

• Approximate production: 10 kg / m2

• Approximate production: 10 kg / m2



• High resistance: tomato spotted wilt virus and

• High resistance: tomato spotted wilt virus and oidium .

tomato torrado virus.



PEAR TOMATOES THE PLANT: • Strong growth, open and with average internodes. • Single and double branches, usually long with 8-10 tomatoes per branch. THE FRUIT: • Hard, oval fruit. • Green to start and red when ripened. • Great postharvest conservation. • The tomato industry use this variety to make fleshy, succulent preserves, useful for sauces and salmorejo. • Abundant flowering and excellent fruit production. • An early variety with excellent fertilization in hot conditions. • In cold conditions, the fruit continues to retain its shape. • Ideal for collecting on the vine. • Average weight of fruit: 80-100 gr. • Planting date: Winter-Spring. • Harvesting: approximately 80 days after planting.


Under plastic, this variety is grown all year round in the Guadalquivir Valley. DISEASE RESISTANCE: • Resistant to yellow leaf curl virus.









• Medium-high resistance, with strong root zone, medium internodes and a dark green, smallish leaf which is open and allows ventilation, entry of light and reduces the need for leaf pruning.

• Indeterminate growth. • Average height - 1.50 m. FRUIT:

• During cold months, in greenhouse conditions there is continuous growth, flowering, and fruit development.

• Rosa de Alcolea or Rosita de Encinarejo.

• Little proliferation of lateral stems.

• Slightly flattened.

• Fishbone-shaped branches.

• Large and slightly irregular in shape.


• Average weight 300-800 gr. Mainly G size

• Good flavour and harvested when ripe.

• Interior and exterior are pink with no green markings

• When harvested on the vine, it allows continuous absorption of nutrients from the stem that unites them and allows longer conservation without the need for cold conditions.

on the skin. • Firm, sweet, and with few seeds. • Consumed in summer.

• Slightly flat shape, G and M sizes and with an intense red colour.

• Used in salmorejo and traditional Córdoban sauces.

• They present mainly two or three lobes and have long sepals, making the plant more attractive.


• Fruit of great consistency, hollowing-free, with high resistance to splitting micro splitting and blotching in cold, humid conditions.

• Viruses.

• No splitting in hot conditions.

• Tomato or Tobacco Mosaic Virus.

• Apical necrosis.

• Autumn planting for mid-term and late fruition and for spring. • Weight: 100-130 gr. DISEASE RESISTANCE: • Tomato or Tobacco Mosaic Virus.







varieties), all grown in the Guadalquivir Valley, Córdoba. Morphological analyses were carried out to categorise them according to shape, size, weight, and colour according to the methodology developed by the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), and physicochemical analyses were carried out to determine the free acidity content, pH, soluble solids expressed as ºBrix, index of ripeness and percentage of juice, following official analysis methods. From the results obtained a data sheet was drawn up for each variety.

owadays consumers are ever more demanding regarding the quality of food, expecting it to be not only healthy and nutritious but also flavoursome. That is why a sensory analysis is important, since it offers a unique method of finding out how consumers view and rate consumer products. Sensory analysis is the assessment of a food by means of the senses (ISO, 5492: 2008). From childhood people accept or reject food according to the sensations aroused by its appearance and smell, and/or when eating it, (colour, texture, aromas, spiciness etc.). In order to get accurate results when carrying out an analysis, strict conditions are followed concerning the participants who carry out the analysis (tasters), the coordinator, the place where the analysis is done (tasting rooms and meeting rooms), the sample preparation area - including the laboratory and kitchen - and records of when the analysis was carried out, the time, number of analyses, recipients used for tasting, tasting techniques and samples. A sensory evaluation using descriptive methods was carried out on four varieties of tomato (Pear tomato, vine tomato and the Caramba and Anairis



Results Figures 1 to 4 present the sensory analysis results, morphological data and physicochemical data of the four varieties of tomatoes studied.

The global physico-chemical analysis showed that the four tomato varieties have a pH of between 4 and 5, a soluble solid (SS) content of between 4 and 6, a titratable acidity (TA) of between 0.3 and 0.5, an index of ripeness that varies between 11 to 15 and a juice percentage of between 40-50%. Aguayo and Artés (2004) consider that for a fresh tomato to have optimal aroma and taste, it must have a soluble solid content of between 4 and 6 º Brix and a pH of between 4 and 5. Baldwin et al. (2008) consider that the relationship between SS and acidity is a good indicator of the taste and aroma of tomatoes. Elsa Bosquez (2009) considers that high values of ​​ ºBrix and acidity content correspond to tastier tomatoes. Thus, in our work the Caramba tomato, which has the highest ºBrix and titratable acidity content, is the one with the highest sweet fruit olfactory notes ■

The overall sensory analysis of the results found that each variety corresponds to a different gustatory-olfactory profile. The Pear variety has a medium intensity aroma with fruity, green notes (grass and radish), and a sweet, very tasty, slightly spicy flavour. The Vine variety has a mediumintensity odour/aroma with green notes (tomato plant and tomato leaf) and very flavoursome taste. The Anairis variety has a medium-high intensity aroma with sweet fruit and green (grass) notes, slightly acidic taste and flavoursome. The Caramba variety has a high-intensity odour/aroma of sweet fruit and radish; slightly acid, spicy, flavoursome. In addition, the four varieties present aromas of overripe fruit that may sometimes smell bitter or of sulfhydric acid (rotten egg smell). It must be emphasised that the four varieties studied each presented an intense flavour due to the high monosodium glutamate content found in significant amounts in ripe tomatoes. All the varieties studied are red and bright with a firm, crunchy, juicy texture. Of all them, the Caramba variety is the firmest, while the skin is easily separated from the pulp in the Pear and Anairis varieties. From the morphological analysis, it was observed that all the varieties have a red fruit outer colour and are mainly round, except for the Pear variety which is oblong. Regarding size, Anairis is the largest with an average diametre of 7.8 mm. and an average fruit weight of 190.8 g. The smallest is the Vine variety with an average diametre of 6 mm and average weight of 100.4 g.

It must be emphasised that the four varieties studied each presented an intense flavour due to the high monosodium glutamate content found in significant amounts in ripe tomatoes.





Guadalquivir Valley (Córdoba)



Predominant fruit shape: oblong Fruit weight (g): 122.6 Fruit length (mm): 6.6 Fruit width (mm): 5.8 Exterior colour of ripe fruit: red Pericarp colour (interior): reddish Pericarp thickness (mm): 0.8 Cross-sectional shape of fruit: round Seed shape: lenticular Number of seeds: 155 (100-230)


Appearance: shiny, dark red Odour: medium-high olfactory intensity with fruity and radish notes Flavour: low aromatic intensity with fruity, radish and green notes. Sweet, tasty and slightly spicy Texture: firm, crispy and juicy. The skin separates easily from the pulp


pH: 4.4 Soluble solids (ºBrix): 4.8 Fruit acidity (g citric / 100 ml juice): 0.42 I. maturity (SS / AT): 11.4 Juice %: 40%

Guadalquivir Valley (Córdoba)


* Ripe fruit has sour notes and a spongy texture



Appearance: shiny, dark red Odour: medium intensity with green notes of tomato-tomato leaf Flavour: very tasty, low aromatic intensity with slight green notes Texture: quite firm and juicy


pH: 4.3 Soluble solids (ºBrix): 5 Fruit acidity (g citric / 100 ml juice): 0.33 I. maturity (SS / AT): 15.2 % juice: 40%

FIGURE 1. Characterisation of the PEAR tomato variety

FIGURE 2. Characterisation of the VINE tomato variety



Guadalquivir Valley (Córdoba)



Predominant fruit shape: round Fruit weight (g): 190.8 Fruit length (mm): 5.6 Fruit width (mm): 7.8 Exterior colour of ripe fruit: red Pericarp colour (interior): reddish Pericarp thickness (mm): 1.1 Cross-sectional shape of fruit: round Seed shape: lenticular Number of seeds: 197 (346-313)


Appearance: shiny, red Odour: medium-high intensity with sweet fruit notes Flavour: low aromatic intensity with green notes; slightly acidic, very tasty Texture: quite firm, crispy and juicy Skin is easily separated from pulp


pH: 4.3 Soluble solids (ºBrix): 5.0 Fruit acidity (g citric / 100 ml juice): 0.44 I. maturity (SS / AT): 11.4 % juice: 43%

Forma predominante del fruto: Redonda Peso del fruto (g): 100.4 Longitud del fruto (mm.): 4.6 Ancho del fruto(mm.): 6.0 Color exterior del fruto maduro: Rojo Color de la carne del pericarpio (interior): Anaranjado Grosor del pericarpio (mm.): 0.8 Forma del corte trasversal del fruto: Redondo Forma de la semillas: Lenticular Cantidad de semillas: 80 (31-113)

Guadalquivir Valley (Córdoba)


Predominant fruit shape: round Weight of the fruit (g): 144.7 Fruit length (mm): 5.3 Fruit width (mm): 6.8 Exterior colour of ripe fruit: red Pericarp colour (interior): reddish Pericarp thickness (mm): 0.6 Cross-sectional shape of fruit: round Seed shape: lenticular Number of seeds: 58 (37-76)


Appearance: shiny, not uniform red (yellow spots) Odour: medium-high intensity with sweet fruit notes Flavour: low aromatic intensity with green, sweet fruit and radish notes; slightly acid and very tasty; spicy Texture: firm, crispy and juicy


pH: 4.2 Soluble solids (ºBrix): 6 Fruit acidity (citric g / 100 ml juice): 0.43 I. maturity (SS / AT): 14.0 % juice: 48%

FIGURE 4. Characterisation of the CARAMBA tomato variety

FIGURE 3. Characterisation of the ANAIRIS tomato variety




Lycopene is fat soluble. Absorption is greater

1. Antioxidant power. Tomatoes contain a large amount of LYCOPENE, a bright red carotene (pigment) which is responsible for the red colour. Lycopene has been studied for its great antioxidant capacity and to prevent cancer.

when eaten together with high-fat foods such as olive oil. In addition, the tomato is rich in other

Tomatoes protect cells against aggression from free radicals. Lycopene is fat soluble. Absorption is greater when eaten together with high-fat foods such as olive oil. In addition, the tomato is rich in other antioxidants like Vitamin C and Vitamin A which has beneficial effects on inflammation, diabetes, arteriosclerosis and cancer.

antioxidants like Vitamin C and Vitamin A which has beneficial effects on inflammation, diabetes, arteriosclerosis and cancer.

2 Cancer. Lycopene protects against many types of cancer, especially: prostate cancer, uterine neck, stomach, breast, oesophagus, pharynx and colon. 3 Cholesterol. Reduces LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol which produces atherosclerosis and protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation. 4 Hypertension (HTA) - good source of potassium (K) reduces hypertension. 5 Reduces cardiovascular risk and oxidation; reduces HTA and cholesterol. 6 Effects on vision. High in Vitamin A (beta-carotenes) good against macular degeneration and night blindness. 7 Good source of fibre, to prevent constipation. 8 Diabetes. Has a beneficial effect due to its high chromium content, which also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease ■




The development of the red colour during ripening is mainly due to the synthesis of several carotenoid pigments, in particular lycopene. When fruits are harvested before becoming red they have less flavour and a softer texture.

Guadalquivir Valley orchards (Anairis and Rosa) are characterised according to their morphological, sensorial and physicochemical properties. The main differences between the Rosa and Anairis varieties are found in the sensory

To evaluate the sensory quality of food and to find out how consumers perceive and value products, a sensory analysis is used. Sensory analysis is the assessment of a food through the senses.

attributes, having seen no differences within the same variety. The Anairis variety has a higher olfactory intensity and a firmer, crunchier and juicier texture than the Rosa variety. Anairis has sweet, fruity and green olfactory notes,


while the Rosa variety is characterized by fruity, tomato


leaf notes. Both varieties have a similar lycopene content of

Two varieties of tomato (Anairis and Rosa) grown in the Guadalquivir Valley orchards, Córdoba are characterised. For each variety samples are taken from three different zones of the orchard (replicated) that are analysed in duplicate. Each replicate consists of a minimum of 10 mature fruits from five branches. The fruits are taken from the second and third branch of each plant. In total, 18 samples are analysed: 2

approx. 25 mg / 100 g per fresh weight, resulting in a much higher amount than the recommended average daily intake. SCOPE OF THE STUDY AND INTRODUCTION The aim of this study is to contribute to a better understanding of the tomato cultivated in the Middle Guadalquivir Valley, whose fertile soil produces a great diversity of high quality

orchards x 3 replicates x 2 duplicates for the Anairis variety + 1 orchard x 3 replicates x 2 duplicates for the Rosa variety. All samples come from tomatoes grown April-May 2012.

horticultural products (oranges, tomatoes, lettuce, aubergine etc.). This is why a morphological, sensorial and physicalchemistry study of the main varieties of cultivated tomatoes has been carried out in this area. There are numerous factors that determine taste in the tomato: the variety, plant nutrition, degree of ripeness of fruit, post-harvest handling and content in sugars (mainly fructose and glucose), the latter being the one that most influences consumer choice (Baldwin, 2004). Numerous investigations demonstrate that tomatoes harvested before ripening are less sweet, more acidic and have less flavour than the fruits that have reached the correct point of maturity.



Methods Morphological analysis The results of the sensory analysis indicate that there are significant differences in the intensity of smell and aroma and texture; Anairis presents sweet fruit, green olfactory notes, while Rosa is characterised by green fruit and tomato leaf notes

The weight, shape, size, homogeneity of size, length, width, outer colour and intensity of outer colour are determined. The methodology followed is that developed by the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI). Sensory analysis The sensory characterisation was carried out with the analytical panel of the UCO (GrupoSens-AGR020) following the sensory profile method (ISO 13299: 2003). This technique identifies and quantifies the different sensorial attributes according to the order of appearance. We evaluate 18 descriptors for the sensory characterisation of tomatoes: 8 descriptors for the odour / aroma (overall intensity, fruitiness, sweet fruit notes, green notes; tomato leaf notes; chemical; sour and faecal); 3 descriptors for the basic flavours: sweet, sour and tasty; 2 for the trigeminal sensations: (refreshing and astringent) and 5 for texture (firmness, crunchiness, mustiness, flouriness and separation of skin from pulp).

Regarding the physical-chemical analysis, it should be noted that the two varieties have a pH of between 4 and 4.5, a soluble solids (SS) content of between 5 and 6, a titratable acidity (TA) of between 0.3 and 0.5, a maturity index ranging from 12 to 19 and a juice percentage of between 4060%, the only significant differences are in the luminosity parameter, as the Rosa variety is brighter than the Anairis variety. ■

Physicochemical analysis The colour, juice percentage, the pH, lycopene content, free acidity and soluble solids expressed as ° Brix are determined. The maturity index is expressed as a relationship between the Brix grades and the acid index. The methods used are described by García-Méndez et al. (2009), and Periago et al. (2001). RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The results of the morphological, sensorial and physicalchemical analysis are presented in Figures 1 and 2. From the morphological analysis it was observed that there are significant differences between the Anairis variety and the Rosa variety for the descriptors of weight, equatorial diametre and thickness of the pericarp. The Rosa variety is larger than the Anairis variety. The morphological descriptors evaluated both varieties as having a round shape, a reddish pericarp flesh colour, white heart, a round cross section shape and light yellow, ovate-shaped seeds. In addition, the size of the Anairis fruit is very homogeneous, with a red outer colour and green shoulders, while the Rosa variety is large, not uniform and with a pink outer colour.



Figure 2. Characterisation of the Rosa tomato

Figure 1. Characterisation of the Anairis tomato




Middle Valley of the Guadalquivir orchards (Córdoba)

Middle Valley of the Guadalquivir orchards (Córdoba)

Weight (g): 272.9

Weight (g): 412.6

Length (mm): 6.2

Length (mm): 5.9

Width (mm): 8.35

Width (mm): 10.4

Pericarp thickness: 0.89

Pericarp thickness: 0.53

Permanent shape of the fruit: Round

Permanent shape of the fruit: round Fruit size: large

Fruit size: medium MORPHOLOGICAL

Homogeneity of fruit size: high


Homogeneity of fruit size: low


Outside colour of ripe fruit: Red with green shoulders


Outside colour of ripe fruit: pink

Intensity of the exterior colour: high

External colour intensity: medium

Colour of pericarp (interior): reddish

Colour of the pericarp (interior): reddish

Heart colour: white

Heart colour: white

Cross section shape of fruit: round

Cross section shape of fruit: round

Seed shape: oval

Seed shape: oval

Seed colour: light yellow

Seed colour: light yellow

Odour: medium odour intensity (5.5), with fruity and

Odour: medium odour intensity (5.8), with sweet fruit

natural tomato leaf notes

and green notes SENSORY

Flavour: medium odour intensity (5.8), with sweet fruit


and green notes. Slightly sweet taste

Flavour: medium aroma intensity (5.4) with fruity and SENSORY DESCRIPTION

(4.5), tasty: (5.1)

(3.45), acid: (5.1) and tasty: (4.7)

Texture: Slightly firm (3.4), medium-low crunchiness :(

Texture: firm (4.8), crunchy (5.15) and juicy (6.4)


natural tomato leaf notes; sweet taste: (4.1), acid:

4.0,) and juicy (5.7)

pH: 4.4

pH: 4.2

Soluble solids (° Brix): 5.9

Soluble solids (ºBrix): 5.4

Fruit acidity (g citric / 100 ml juice): 0.42


I. maturity (SS / AT): 13.7


% juice: 38%

Fruit acidity (g citric / 100 ml juice): 0.36 I. maturity (SS / AT): 15.4 % juice: 22.5%

Colour (CIELAB L * and a / b): (48.5 and 0.23)

Colour (CIELAB L * and a / b): (60 and 0.45)

Lycopene (mg / 100g fresh tomato): 23.4

Lycopene (mg / 100g fresh tomato): 20.2










Tuna marinated with diced vegetables and wasabi air. INGREDIENTS For the tuna: 500 gr. fresh tuna loin / 300 gr. orange juice / 100 gr. lime juice / 60 gr. soy sauce / 30 gr. sesame oil / tbsp. grated orange / tbsp. lime zest / tbsp. Sichuan pepper / tbsp. cane honey For the diced vegetables: 1 shallot / 1 Raf tomato / ½ red pepper / tbsp. chives /tbsp. roasted pine nuts / tbsp. salt / tbsp. sesame oil For wasabi air: 50 gr. wasabi paste / 300 gr. water / tbsp. lecite Other: Sakura Mix / flake salt

METHOD To macerate the tuna: clean tuna and make a marinade by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl. Macerate two hours. Remove, dry, brush with oil and lightly fry. Remove from heat and fillet. Set aside.

SERVING SUGGESTION Make wasabi air, place the tuna on a dish next to the

For the diced vegetables: dice vegetables, pine nuts and chives. Season and set aside.

diced vegetables, top with air of wasabi, flake salt and Sakura Mix.

For wasabi air: mix water with wasabi and lecithin, beat, and let stand for 20 minutes to hydrate the lecithin.

ANTONIO JULIÁ Tartar of tomato and lobster with lime avocado. INGREDIENTS Tomato / avocado / lime juice / lime zest / salt / extra virgin olive oil/ Modena vinegar / few drops of Tabasco

METHOD Dice the ​​tomato and avocado. Grate lime, slice and extract juice. In a bowl, add the diced tomato and avocado, lime juice, oil, salt, Modena vinegar and Tabasco. Mix well.

SERVING SUGGESTION Put a mould in the centre of a bowl. Place ingredients in bowl; add lobster and two chives to garnish. Place lobster pieces on one side of the plate. Add ajoblanco (cold almond and garlic soup) or pine nut gazpacho.



FRANCISCO LÓPEZ Cherry gazpacho. INGREDIENTS Tomato / garlic / pepper / cucumber / cherry pulp / Parmesan cheese / anchovies / seed sprouts / pistachios / Macadamia nuts / olive oil / water

METHOD Mix all the ingredients in a blender and add oil to emulsify.

SERVING SUGGESTION Put the grated parmesan cheese in a dish. Top with a tomato cherry wrapped with an anchovy. Sprinkle with the grated nuts and seed sprouts.

RAFAEL MUÑOZ Provencal tomato gratin. INGREDIENTS (2 servings) 2 Anairis tomatoes / 2 slices Iberian ham / a clove garlic / 2tbsp. breadcrumbs / 2 sprigs parsley / salt / pepper / Mozzarella cheese

METHOD AND SERVING SUGGESTION Cut the tomatoes in half and brown in oil. Finely chop garlic, parsley and ham. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet and with the remaining garlic and parsley, plus a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix together with the breadcrumbs and stuff the tomatoes with this mixture. Top with mozzarella cheese and bake for 10 minutes at 180º. Serve as a garnish for meats.



In mythology, garlic was dedicated to Mars the god of war, and it was considered the symbol of military virtues for its cleansing and fortifying properties. The Greek doctor Galen considered garlic a panacea and referred to it as Theriaca Rusticorum, or ‘husbandman’s treacle’





GARLIC IN HISTORY ALEJANDRO IBÁÑEZ CASTRO. Archaeologist of the Regional Government of Andalusia.


arlic Allium sativum, has its origins in the

enjoyed in the afterlife. Besides providing sustenance, garlic

south-western Siberia region of Central Asia.

was also used in the mummification process and, according

After the discovery of its culinary and medicinal

to Plutarch, was not eaten by priests, since it was considered

properties, the cultivation of garlic spread throughout China

sacred, divine and an aphrodisiac.

and Asia Minor. The nomadic tribes of this area took it to

The Bible recounts that, during their exile in Egypt and on

Mesopotamia, where the Sumerians, who had developed

their long journey through the desert, the Hebrews tired of

agriculture around 6000 BC, used garlic to combat parasites

manna and longed for other foods, including garlic: “We

and prevent epidemics. Nebuchadnezzar, a thousand years

remember the fish we ate in Egypt; the cucumbers, melons,

later, grew garlic in the Hanging Gardens, and from there it

leeks, onions and garlic “. The Talmud describes garlic as

went to Egypt.

satisfying, able to lower body temperature, illuminate the

Around 1500 BC, The Ebers Papyrus mentions garlic in

face, increase seminal fluid and eliminate intestinal worms.

twenty-two recipes created to combat diseases such as

Some add that it incites love and dispels enmity “by the

infections, headaches, pharyngitis, physical fatigue and

feeling of well-being which it begets.”

some tumours. More than a thousand years before however,

In ancient Greece, the athletes called garlic the ‘stinking

this vegetable was the engine of one of the seven wonders,

rose’. Hippocrates and Theophrastus mention that the

the Great Pyramid at Giza, the only one that can still be

vegetable was a frequently used for offerings and cures,

visited. Archaeology has proved that nor aliens nor starving

while Homer writes in the Iliad that it was used as a medicine

slaves were involved in its construction, but that garlic did

to prevent wound infections. In the Odyssey, the god

indeed play a part. Analysis of human and animal bones -

Hermes recommends Ulysses to use garlic in a spell against

buried next to pitchers of beer and bread for the afterlife,

Circe, who then fell in love with the hero and did not turn

and well preserved thanks to the dry sand of the desert -

him into a pig like his companions. Although the Roman

have shown that those workers were free men and were

nobility shunned garlic, ordinary citizens used it in remedies

given garlic, meat, beer and bread as part of their diet. In this

for numerous diseases.

hierarchical and religious society, the pyramid builders were well-respected professionals and work on their construction

In mythology, garlic was dedicated to Mars the god of the

was highly sought after. If a builder died while working,

war, and it was considered the symbol of military virtues

they were buried next to the Pharaohs, an honour that

for its cleansing and fortifying properties. The Greek

was never afforded to a slave. Homer described garlic as an

doctor Galen considered garlic a panacea and referred to

‘invigorator’ and it was left in many tombs, including that

it as Theriaca Rusticorum, or ‘husbandman’s treacle’. Other

of Tutankhamen, or depicted in wood or on pottery to be

authors, like Horacio, scorned it, while for the encyclopaedist



Celsus all the properties of garlic are good, even its smell, because of its power to reinvigorate lethargic people. In the poem Moretum, Virgil exalts life in the countryside and gives a recipe for ‘moretum’, the energy-giving countryman’s breakfast made from herbs, cheese, salt, oil, vinegar and garlic ground together in a mortar. The poet Martial also defended garlic, claiming it was capable of arousing an elderly man’s passion. Roman soldiers were country folk by origin and planted garlic wherever they went, thus spreading it throughout the Roman Empire. The Roman army’s food supplies included garlic since it was easy to carry and kept legionnaires, with limited access to clean drinking water, free of intestinal parasites.

During the Middle Ages, vampires and those affected by porphyria were the only ones who could not tolerate garlic. Its popularity rose even more when it was discovered to be a powerful antidote against the plague that ravaged Europe. Centuries late, the analyses carried out on its medicinal properties proved that garlic is a natural antibiotic.



Around 1500 BC, the Ebers Papyrus mentions garlic in twenty-two recipes said to combat diseases such as infections, headaches, pharyngitis, physical fatigue and some tumours.

Nowadays, although garlic is a universal condiment and hugely popular in China, India and the Mediterranean and Spanish-speaking countries, in Britain it does not share this popularity - even though pirates used it as a remedy long before the Vikings. Pliny recommended garlic mixed with wine for shrew bites, while Mohammed suggested garlic as a remedy for snake or scorpion bites. A modern Jewish saying claims that: “With three nickels you will enter the subway, but only garlic will provide you with a seat.”

Without garlic, our gastronomy would be completely different; we would not be able to enjoy its pungency and flavour-enhancing properties, nor benefit from garlic’s curative powers. So, on an olfactory level, perhaps we should be more tolerant towards allicin, the component responsible for its medicinal effects and its distinctive smell ■

There have always been aliophiles and aliophobes, and its characteristic smell “that does not leave you”, was very much appreciated by the working classes, due to its energising and healing properties. However, Don Quixote warns Sancho Panza not to eat garlic or onions “because they will betray your villainy.” The biggest detractors of garlic were found in England in the sixteenth century when, long before Victoria Beckham, garlic was already considered most unpleasant “for beautiful ladies who prefer sweet breath followed by soft words,” In 14th century Spain, Alfonso XI king of Castile proclaimed that no gentleman who had eaten garlic could approach him for at least a month. An indirect consequence of the upper classes’ repulsion of garlic is found in the nineteenth century when Queen Margarita - who loathed it ordered a garlic-free pizza, so creating the ‘Margarita’ pizza. Flowers of the garlic or Allium plant



GARLIC ECOTYPES AND VARIETIES President of the Asociación de Productores de Ajos de Montalbán (Association of Montalbán Garlic Growers), Córdoba


ommercially-grown garlic varieties can be classified in four groups or TYPES OF GARLIC: CHINA: GARPEK (Variety registered by Planasa), China WHITE,

China VIOLET (non-registered commercial varieties) WHITES: GARCUA, GARDACHO, THERMIDOR, MESSIDOR, DARIO, AJOLVI, BASIC, THERMIDRôME, MESSIDRôME, (different companies’ registered varieties), BLANCO de Vallelado, BLANCO de Ronda, BLANCO de Cuenca (non-registered commercial varieties) PURPLES: GARDOS, MORALUZ, MORASOL (different companies’ registered varieties), Cuenca PURPLE, Las Pedroñeras PURPLE, Banyoles PURPLE, Córdoba PURPLE (non-registered commercial varieties) PINKS: CRISTO, PRINTANOR, FRUCTURER, CALIFORNIA PINK (different companies’ registered varieties), Fino de Chinchón (non-registered commercial variety) COMMERCIAL VARIETIES Many varieties of certified seeds are available to the farmer for almost all crops, but for garlic very few commercial varieties currently exist – and in fact a few years ago there were none. France is perhaps the only country that has been carrying out projects aimed at obtaining certified garlic seeds for more than thirty years. For some time now in California, a plan for the improvement and selection of garlic for seed has been under development, using original French material among others. In Spain, Dr Peña Iglesias developed the only project aimed at obtaining a commercial variety of the Cuenca Red garlic, although recently some private companies have obtained varieties of certified garlic. The French commercial varieties were grown in Spain after a comparison in the early eighties was undertaken in Cuenca, Granada and Córdoba between the French and native Spanish varieties.



Description of garlic varieties

Description of the varieties and ecotypes used 1. VARIETIES FROM CERTIFIED SEEDS

BASIC I: The name was given to this variety of garlic after work done in the early years on a “variety” of WHITE TYPE garlic by the Californian company, BASIC CO. The plants are vigorous in good fertile soil conditions that have an adequate water supply; open plants with young, upright leaves that can reach 75 cm. Leaves are large broad, and flat, and can sprout 12-14 leaves. The pseudo stem is thick, (30 mm in diametre, measured at the base). The bulb is large, white, irregular shaped, conical with large cloves in the periphery and usually with small, flattened cloves in the centre. It does not develop a floral stalk. Planting time is around the garlic sowing time of local red garlic (mid-November to midDecember in Córdoba and Granada). Its cycle is a few days shorter than the Cuenca red type. It is sensitive to rust and penicillium. It has not been shown sensitive to white spot. It does not have a commercial varietal certificate of origin. The marketing company controls quality and homogeneity and guarantees it is fit for human consumption.

The commercial varieties of garlic, taken from massal selections and in vitro multiplication cultures of meristems, have been subjected to rigorous sanitary and quality controls regarding the production process. Certified seeds of a certain garlic variety formally guarantee: Varietal purity (minimum, 99%) Maximum percentage of bulbs sprouted or altered (maximum, 3%) Maximum percentages tolerated during cultivation controls are: Virus free (maximum, 1%) White-rot free (maximum, 1%) Nematode free (0% of our laboratory analysis) In the annual works developed during the 1983 - 199697 seasons, the varieties included are described below in alphabetical order.

BASIC II: The name was given to this variety of garlic after work done in the early years on a variety of PINK TYPE garlic by the Californian company, BASIC CO. The plants are vigorous, open and plume-shaped. The leaves are large, white and curled, with up to 13-14 leaves. The bulb is large, white, conical-ovoid with a tendency to produce numerous, medium-small sized cloves, with a slightly pink tunic. No floral stalk. Planting time is after the garlic sowing time of the Cuenca Red garlic (beginning of December to beginning of January), although it can be planted before, at the same time as Cuenca Red) without budding problems. It has a long latency period which allows a good conservation. Its cycle is longer than that of the local Red ecotypes by about 20 days. Sensitive to rust. The marketing company controls quality and homogeneity and guarantees it is fit for human consumption. CRISTO: Certified PINK TYPE variety. Obtained by INRA and marketed since 1990 by TOP SEMENCE (U.C.C.S.). The structure of the plant is reminiscent of Chinchón garlic, but the plants are much more vigorous. It can develop up to 1415 wide, long, curled, dark green leaves.



leaves at the base and no floral stalk. Short cycle (12-15 days shorter than the CUENCA RED). Large, conical, irregularshaped bulb, with yellowish, purple-veined tunic. Sensitive to rust. Obtained by INRA in 1975.

An erect, open plant with horizontal base leaves, reaching 80-85 cm high and 90-95 cm wide. It has a long period of latency - so increasing conservation time - and a long cycle, making it commercially unsuitable for the national market, especially the Andalusian market where precocity is of great importance. The bulb is conical with white-skinned cloves. It produces many cloves, so care must be taken when adding nitrogen to the crop, both with the doses and when it is added. No floral stalk and sensitive to rust. Can be planted from early December to late January and is ready to harvest in early July.

MESSIDRôME: WHITE TYPE certified garlic With very similar characteristics THERMIDRôME, these two were the first virus-free varieties commercialised on the garlic seed market. Obtained by INRA in 1971. From the BLANC DE LA DRÔME garlic variety. Very uniform vigorous semi-upright plants, with horizontal leaves at the base reaching up to 90-95 cm when fully developed. Intense green leaves, lighter in colour than GERMIDOR. Develops 14-15 long, 36-38 mm wide leaves and has a thick pseudostem (22-25 mm diametre at the base). No floral stalk. Cycle is between CUENCA RED and GERMIDOR. Large conical bulb with white-yellowish tunic. Very thick peripheral cloves, with large or medium-sized, low weight central cloves. Unsuitable for planting.

GERMIDOR: It is a certified WHITE TYPE garlic variety from France. It comes from the CADOURS VIOLET garlic ecotype. It looks like a purple garlic, although it behaves like a white garlic. Vigorous plants with 16-17 intense green, wide leaves of normal length (40-44 mm wide and 58-60 cm long). When fully developed, the plants reach 85 cm in height, with a 2325 ​​mm pseudostem diametre at the base. Erect, with open



PRINTANOR: PINK TYPE, virus-free, French garlic obtained

THERMIDRôME: Certified variety of white garlic. Together with MESSIDRôME, with which it shares characteristics, these were the first commercial varieties of garlic seeds marketed. Obtained by INRA in 1971 from the BLANC DE LA DRÔME garlic ecotype.

for varietal regeneration by INRA from the AUVERGNE PINK. First marketed in 1986, replacing FRUCTIDOR. Very long cycle (about 30 days more than CUENCA RED). Extremely vigorous, developing 15-16 deep green, 62-65 cm long, 35-38 mm wide, curled leaves, shaped like a candlestick. At

Vigorous, uniform, semi-erect plants, with horizontal base leaves, which reach 90-95 cm high when fully mature. Deep green leaves, a little lighter than GERMIDOR. Develops 14-16, 68-72 cm long, and 36-38 mm wide leaves, with a thick pseudostem (22-25 mm in diametre at the base). No floral stalk. The cycle is between that of CUENCA RED and GERMIDOR. Large conical bulb, with white tunic. Very thick peripheral cloves and flattened, large- or medium-sized central cloves, but light in weight and unsuitable for sowing.

full maturity, the plants reach 80-85 cm high with a thick pseudostem (23-25 mm ​​ diametre at the base). The bulb is largish, conical with white-pink skin. Extremely sensitive to rust. At present, this variety has been displaced by CRISTO. SPRINT: The most recent type to reach the market, it is a certified variety of Red garlic and bred by TOP SEMENCE of France, in 1991: Variety obtained by INRA in collaboration with the marketing company. Extremely precocious, displaying vigorous sprouting - the first six leaves develop quickly. The plants have a peculiar structure, similar to ‘Indian’ or ‘Chinese’ garlic (also called TAIWAN), and with a thick, 22-24 mm wide, tall, 30-32 cm pseudostem. Erect with arching leaves. Very short latency period. With a very precocious cycle, in Córdoba the garlic is sown in

Currently, the seeds used most come from garlic

October or early November and harvested at the end of May.

populations with similar characteristics, more or

The plant develops 12 leaves, reaching about 85 cm long and a maximum of 80 cm wide. The bulb is thick (over 90%

less identical in terms of morphology, cycle, be-

of the heads reach a higher calibre than FLOR under normal

haviour, etc., coming from a given geographical

growing conditions), spherical-ovoidal, with a red, pink or

area, in other words, certain garlic ecotypes.

violet skin. It develops a strong, short, not always visible stem.



2. ECOTYPES As previously mentioned, the main difficulty with these ecotypes is their lack of homogeneity and total lack of control by the authorities in terms of the health and quality of garlic grown for seed.

Currently, the seeds used most come from garlic populations with similar characteristics, more or less identical in terms of morphology, cycle, behaviour, etc., coming from a given geographical area, in other words, certain garlic ecotypes.

Healthy plants are vigorous, erect with 12 or more large, wide, flat leaves. The bulb is large, white, globe-conical shaped, with large cloves on the periphery and many small cloves (often wrapped in the same skin and so appearing as a single clove) in the centre. No floral stalk and best for planting at the beginning of November- mid-December. It has a relatively short latency period, with spontaneous budding of garlic for seed in mid- November. The cycle is a few days shorter than Cuenca Red of, although usually one or two weeks prior to the Reds. The plant is sensitive to rust. Currently it does not have much commercial value and is sold on the local market near production areas.

Garlic ecotypes are often named according to the area from which they come and the type of garlic. The most important from the point of view of trade, are the CUENCA RED GARLIC, (PEDROÑERAS PURPLE), CÓRDOBA RED, GRANADA RED, CUENCA WHITE, RONDA WHITE, VALLELLO WHITE, VALLADOLID WHITE and JAEN WHITE. Studies comparing commercial varieties and ecotypes have been carried out. Description of garlic ecotypes CUENCA WHITE: This ecotype has been grown in the garlicgrowing regions of Cuenca for many years.

LOMAGNE WHITE: Ecotype from France (Lomagne), which develops vigorous, erect plants reaching 70 cm high with 14-16 large, straight, broad, flat, young leaves. The bulb is large, white, globe-conical shaped, with large cloves on the periphery, and many small (often wrapped in the same skin and so appearing as a single clove) in the centre. No floral stalk and best for planting between mid-November and late December, matures at the same time (or a few days before) the local Red ecotypes. It is sensitive to rust.

The main difficulty with these ecotypes is their lack of homogeneity and total lack of control by the authorities in terms of the health and quality of garlic grown for seed. Healthy plants are vigorous, and can reach the 85-90 cm in height. It develops 13-15 long, flat leaves, distinguished by their length and width (64-66 cm long and 35-40 mm wide), with a short pseudostem of 22-24 mm diametre at the base. No floral stem. The plant is moderately sensitive to rust. The

RONDA WHITE: Ecotype from the province of Malaga, now cultivated frequently In Córdoba. Moderate to good vigour, erect, reaching 85-90cm high with a thick pseudostem, although smaller than the French varieties (20-22 mm). Develops 11-13 long, wide leaves (65-68 cm and 33-37 mm respectively). No floral stem. Large, conical bulb, with white or whitish-yellow tunic. The cycle is about 10 days shorter than CUENCA RED. Sensitive to rust.

cycle is shorter than the CUENCA RED by about 10-15 days. It has a large ovoid bulb, with white tunic. BLANCO DE CHINCHÓN (FINO DE CHINCHÓN): Pink ecotype from Ajofrín (Toledo), grown in Chinchón and the surrounding areas for many years. Vigorous, erect, reaching 74- 80 cm high, with a thick pseudostem (21-23 mm diametre at the base) and developing 12-14 dark green, curled leaves shaped like a candlestick, of about 60 cm long

VALLELADO WHITE: White garlic ecotype from the province of Valladolid. Vigorous and erect reaching 85-90 cm high with a thick pseudostem, although smaller than the French varieties (20-22 mm). Develops 11-13 long, wide leaves (6568 cm and 33-37 mm respectively). No stem. Large conical bulb, with white or whitish-yellow tunic. The cycle is about 10 days shorter than CUENCA RED. Sensitive to rust.

and 28-32 mm maximum width. Long cycle (about 20 days more than CUENCA RED). Conical, large or medium-sized bulb with a whitish- pink tunic and approx. 20 or medium or small- sized cloves. Very sensitive to rust. BLANCO GALLEGO: Ecotype from Galicia with similar morphological, cycle and behavioural characteristics (in terms of production, quality and sensitivity to diseases), to

MALLORQUÍN: White garlic ecotype grown in few areas of Córdoba.

the white ecotypes from Pinos in central and northern Spain.



ROJO DE CASTRO: Ecotype from Córdoba. Plants of moderate-good vigour, upright, which develops 15-17 leaves of about 55 cm in length and about 30 mm wide, reaching 70-75 cm in height when mature, with a pseudostem of 15 to 18 mm diametre at the base. Strong stem, large medium ovoidal bulb with deep red or purple veined external tunics. Sensitive to white spot and moderately sensitive to rust. Its cycle is similar to that of CUENCA RED.

Its most outstanding characteristic is its precocity. This garlic is sown at the end of October and is harvested at the end of April. Develop vigorous plants with 12-14 dark green, glossy, long, broad, curled leaves. Tall pseudostem (over 30 cm). Plants grow to 80-85 cm, erect with open leaves at the base. No floral stem. Sensitive to rust, but often escapes damage from disease due to its precocity. Bulbs are large with medium-sized cloves arranged irregularly in the garlic head. BAÑOLAS RED: Ecotype from Gerona. Plants of moderate to good vigour, developing 12-14 leaves of average length and width (50-55 cm and 25 mm respectively). Mature, they reach 75-80 cm. Erect with a fine pseudostem (15-18 mm diametre at the base). Robust floral stem. Sensitive to white spot and moderately sensitive to rust. Its bulb is mediumsized and spherical with varying hues of red or purple tunic. The cycle is similar to CUENCA RED.

CUENCA RED: This ecotype is currently (and has been for many years in Spain) the most used by commercial farms. The plants are vigorous, erect, reaching 80-85 cm high and with a 15-20 mm pseudostem at the base. Develops 12 14 average length and width (55-60 cm and 30-33 mm respectively) leaves. Well-developed stem. The cycle from budding to ripening is about 180 days for plants sown in November. The ovoidal bulb is medium-large, with a red, purple or pink, smooth or veined tunic.

CABEZA DEL OBISPO RED: Ecotype from Cabeza Del Obispo (Santaella). Moderate to good vigour, developing 10 to 12 leaves of medium length and width (50-55 cm and 25 mm respectively), reaching 75-80 cm in height. Erect, with fine pseudostem (15-18 mm diametre at the base). Mediumsized stem. Sensitive to white spot and moderately sensitive to rust. Ovoid-spheric, medium-sized bulb with light red or purple tunic. The cycle is similar to CUENCA RED.

YEGEN RED: Ecotype from Granada. Plants of moderate vigour, erect, developing 9 -13 leaves, slightly longer and wider than Banyoles (60-63 cm and 33 mm, respectively) Reaching 80 cm when mature with a pseudostem of 15 - 18 mm diametre at the base. Very strong stem. Medium-sized, globe-spherical shaped bulb with red or deep purple tunic. Sensitive to white spot and moderately sensitive to rust. The cycle is 2-3 days shorter than that of CUENCA RED.



RUSSIA: Red ecotype garlic introduced during the 19891990 campaign along with the so-called ‘Indian’. The original seed produced medium-sized, round heads with a deep purple tunic. Heterogeneous plants in vigour and health. The most common, healthy plants are vigorous and erect with horizontal base leaves reaching 80-85 cm tall and a 22-25 cm high pseudostem of about 20-22 mm in diameter

Garlic ecotypes are often named according to the

at the base. They develop 11-13 long leaves and a vigorous

area from which they come and the type of garlic.

stem. Large, flattened, ovoid bulb with large, short cloves. Moderately sensitive to rust. The cycle is about 5 days shorter

The most important from a commercial point of



VIOLETA DE CADOURS: French ecotype. A selection


and improvement produced from the commercial variety GERMIDOR.


Like all ecotypes, it presents a serious drawback commercially


speaking due to the lack of homogeneity in health, quality and varietal purity. The plants are vigorous, erect and with leaves at the horizontal base. The 13-15 leaves are flat, large, 58-60 cm long, 32 mm max.wide. Short, thick pseudostem (22 -25 mm. in diametre at the base). No floral stem. The cycle is about 5-7 days shorter than the CUENCA RED. Sensitive to rust ■



SENSORY CHARACTERISTICS OF GARLIC VARIETIES FROM MONTALBÁN (Córdoba) HORTENSIA GALÁN SOLDEVILLA, PILAR RUIZ PÉREZ-CACHO and MARÍA DE LA HABA RUIZ Laboratory of Sensory Studies (AGR-020) Department of Bromatology and Food Technology (University of Córdoba)



our garlic varieties grown in Montalbán (Córdoba)

Some varieties have been found to be spicier and more

have been sensorially analysed (Early white, Early

persistent in oil than in water preparations. However, the

violet, White and Red) using the descriptive profile

spicy sensation in garlic changes with age - the older the

technique. In addition, morphological analyses were carried

garlic, within certain limits, the spicier it is.

out on the garlic (weight, shape, skin colour, structure and

Sensory evaluation is the assessment of a food by the senses

number of cloves in the bulb, clove colour, clove weight and

and which is defined as the “examination of the organoleptic

tear potential or eye irritation) following the methodology

properties of a product by the sense organs “(ISO 5492:

developed by the International Plant Genetics Resource

1992). These organoleptic properties are appearance, smell,

Institute (IPGRI). Freshness was measured by the Visual Index

texture, aroma, flavour and trigeminal sensations.

of Dormancy (VID). From the results a profile was obtained MATERIAL AND METHODS

for each variety. Material


Four varieties of garlic (Early white, Early purple, White and

The aim of this work is to contribute to a better knowledge of garlic for use in the cuisine of Córdoba. To that end, a morphological and sensory characterisation of the main cultivated varieties in Montalbán (Córdoba) was carried out. This municipality is located in the south of Córdoba, where the main economic activity is the cultivation of garlic. Garlic, (Allium sativum L.) is a vegetable commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine, above all for its distinctive sensory characteristics. Depending on the variety, garlic has a strong and somewhat spicy flavour. In fresh garlic, it tastes spicy because of an enzymatic reaction when the tissue is broken by cutting or chewing, releasing a series of sulfuric compounds such as allicin, which is mainly responsible for garlic’s characteristic aroma and flavour. From a sensory point of view, spiciness is defined according to three properties: time to detection, stimulation and persistence in the mouth. In garlic, this sensation is different depending on whether it is prepared with a water or oil base.

Red) grown in Montalbán (Córdoba) were characterised. From each variety, a representative sample was taken and analysed in triplicate. Sensory analysis The sensory characterisation was carried out with the UCO analytical panel (GrupoSens-AGR020) following the sensory profile method (ISO 13299: 2003, Coste, 2010). This technique identifies and quantifies the different sensory attributes according to their order of appearance. 15 sensorial attributes are valued on a 10 cm non-structure scale anchored at ends: 7 for odour / aroma (overall strength, fruitiness /acidity, vegetable / onion / chive, aromatic herbs, mustiness, synthetic rubber/India rubber, burnt and others); 2 basic flavours (sweet and bitter), 2 trigeminal sensations (pungency and spiciness), 3 texture (firmness, crunchiness and moistness) and persistence.



Morphological analysis The weight, shape, skin colour, type and number of cloves

However, spiciness in the ‘Early’ varieties is different from

in the bulb, skin colour, pulp colour, clove weight and tear

the rest.

potential are measured. The method used was developed by

Thus, while in the Early varieties, spiciness is perceived on first

The International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI).

chewing, and decreases with chewing, in the ‘White’ and

Freshness index

‘Red’ varieties, spiciness increases gradually during chewing,

This is determined by Visual Index of Dormancy (VID) which

and is more intense during the final phase. As regards

measures the length of the shoot inside the garlic and which

texture, all the varieties studied are firm and crunchy. From

should be less than 75%, the optimal index for consumption

morphological analysis, it was observed that all varieties

(Burba, 2006).

have a broad oval bulb, except the ‘Purple’ variety which is round. The ‘Early white’ varieties are the largest, with an average bulb weight of 90 grs, and Early purple at 80


grs. All varieties have a regular bulb structure except Early

Figures 1 to 4 present the results of the sensory analysis,

white which is irregular. Regarding the number of cloves per

morphological data and Visual Index of Dormancy of the

bulb, the Red variety has a smaller number (8) compared

four varieties of garlic studied. From the global sensory

to Early purple, with an average of 20 cloves per bulb. The

analysis of the results it is observed that each variety of

varieties studied do not present tear potential (eye irritation)

garlic corresponds to a different olfactory-gustative profile.

when cut. Regarding the Visual Index of Dormancy (VID),

The ‘Early white’ variety has low intensity odour/aroma with

all varieties present an optimal index for consumption (18-

fruity and vegetable notes (onion/chives); sweet and spicy

35%). ■

taste. The ‘Early purple’ variety has average odour /aroma intensity with vegetables, earthy/musty and sulphuric notes; slightly sweet and very spicy. The ‘White’ variety has a low intensity onion odour/aroma and a slightly sweet, spicy taste. The ‘Purple’ variety has a strong odour/aroma intensity of vegetable and mustiness; slightly sweet and extremely spicy.

References BURBA, J.L. (2006) El ajo un alimento natural. Introducción al conocimiento de nuevas variedades y su destino. Coordinador Proyecto Nacional Ajo / INTA Coste, E.; Picallo, A.; Bauzá, M. y Sance, M. Desarrollo preliminar de descriptores para el análisis sensorial de ajos desecados y liofilizados. Rev. FCA UNCuyo, 42. (1)159-168 ISO (2003). Ref. No. ISO 13299:2003 (E). Sensory analysis-Methodology-General guidance for establishing a sensory profile. International Organization for Standardization, Genève. ISO (2008). Ref. No. ISO 5492:2008 (E). Sensory analysis-Sensory vocabulary. International Organization for Standardization, Genéve.





Montalbán (CÓRDOBA)


Montalbán (CÓRDOBA)


Bulb weight (g): 80-90 Bulb shape: oval, wide Bulb skin: white Bulb structure: regular groups of clusters of fan-shaped cloves Number of cloves: 20 Clove skin colour: not uniform (some yellow and light brown, others purple) Clove pulp colour: cream-greenish Clove weight: 3-4 Tear potency: no eye irritation


Odour: medium olfactory intensity with vegetable notes, mustiness and sulphur Flavour: medium aromatic intensity with onion notes; slightly sweet, very spicy Spiciness is notable at beginning of chewing and decreases after swallowing Texture: firm, crunchy and slightly moist


VID: 35%

Bulb weight (g): 90-100 Bulb shape: wide, oval Bulb skin colour: white with stripes Bulb structure: irregular BULB DESCRIPTORS (IPGRI)

Number of cloves: 14 Clove skin colour: white Clove pulp colour: cream-yellow Clove weight: 6-7 Tear potency: no eye irritation


Odour: low olfactory intensity with fruity and vegetable (onion / chive) notes Flavour: medium aromatic intensity with fresh vegetable notes; sweet and spicy. Spiciness is perceived when first chewed, decreasing after swallowing Texture: firm, crunchy and slightly moist


VID: 18%

Figure 1. Characterisation of “Early white” garlic variety

Figure 2. Characterisation of ‘White’ garlic variety



Montalbán (CÓRDOBA)


Montalbán (CÓRDOBA)


Bulb weight (g): 30-40 Bulb shape: round Bulb skin colour: white with purple stripes Bulb structure: regular arrangement with multiple cloves Number of cloves: 8-9 Clove skin colour: purple Clove pulp colour: whitish-cream Clove weight: 4-5 Tear potency: no eye irritation


Odour: medium olfactory intensity with vegetable and musty notes Flavour: High aromatic intensity with vegetable notes; sweet and extremely spicy Spiciness increases gradually during chewing Texture: firm, crunchy and slightly moist


VID: 35%

Bulb weight (g): 50-60 Bulb shape: wide, oval Bulb skin colour: white with stripes, beige, faint brown spots Bulb structure: regular groups, in multiple BULB DESCRIPTORS (IPGRI)

clusters Number of cloves: 19 Clove skin colour: yellow and brown Clove pulp colour: cream to greenish Clove weight: 3-4 Tear potency: no eye irritation


Odour: medium olfactory intensity with onion/ chive vegetable notes Flavour: medium-high aromatic intensity with onion/chive vegetable notes; slightly sweet and very spicy Spiciness increases gradually during chewing Texture: firm, crunchy and slightly moist


VID: 29%

Figure 3. Characterisation of the ‘White’ garlic variety

Figure 4. Characterisation of ‘Red’ garlic variety





arlic (Allium sativum) is a common feature of the Mediterranean diet. However, it cannot be said to be a key ingredient, although it is widely used to

add flavour and has become part of our diet. Production and consumption Garlic is produced and consumed almost worldwide. Spain is the 6th producer of garlic globally, but since cultivation was significantly reduced, it has fallen in recent rankings. Our garlic But not everything is about volume of production - Spanish garlic is a quality product, in great demand both at home and abroad. This popularity has given rise to so-called ‘Spanish garlic’ in order to differentiate it from other types (especially from the Chinese type currently flooding our markets). In Spain, Andalusia is the second producer nationally, producing more than a third of the global national production. 75% of Andalusian production is from Montalbán in Córdoba. Per capita, garlic consumption is around 1.4 kg/inhabitant/year (MARM, 2008), which should be qualified obviously when considering regional and cultural differences and differences in personal taste.



Health benefits of garlic

Garlic as a remedy in history

Besides enriching our cuisine, garlic has numerous properties including the following:

Knowledge of the beneficial effects of garlic mentioned

Antiseptic: excellent against bacteria and fungi. Applied directly, garlic gives strong protection against superficial infections

section in this Symposium dedicated to these effects, we will

above has grown over time, and although there is a specific concentrate here on the therapeutic uses of garlic from an historical viewpoint.

Corn remover: applied directly on the corn

Garlic was first used as a tonic and energiser more than

Wart treatment: for topical treatment of warts

4,500 years ago, when the workers who built the pyramids

Anthelmintic: above all for treating intestinal worms and tapeworms

were given it cooked with onions and parsley (it was said

Prevention and treatment of vaginitis herpes

on construction of the Cheops pyramid). Garlic was also

Treatment for stomach infections: promotes digestive secretions, including bile

kneaded with bread and was seen as a divine symbol. It was

Detoxification and diuretic: to remove toxins from the body and regenerate intestinal flora

found in the tomb of Tutankhamen.

Antipyretic: lowers temperature

species mentioned by Hippocrates, who described its

Antiplatelet: prevents blood clots and heart attacks

medicinal and healing properties - and its toxicity: “Garlic

to form part of the daily diet of the slaves who worked

represented on the Pyramid of Giza and six garlic heads were

In the fifth century BC, garlic was one of the four hundred

causes flatulence, a hot feeling in the chest and a heavy

Hypocholesterolemic: lowers LDL levels

sensation in the head; it creates anxiety and increases any

Hypotensive: combats arterial hypertension

pain that may be present. However, it is good as a diuretic”.

Vasodilator: promotes blood flow

Galen, a great follower of Hippocrates, considered garlic

Expectorant: excellent for respiratory conditions

a panacea. Greek athletes ate a clove of garlic before the

Antioxidant: prevents cancer and cardiovascular disease

Olympics to gain strength.

Normoglycemia: normalises glucose levels in blood

Roman doctors prescribed it in an infusion for rheumatism and as an expectorant.

Thyroid regulator: Helps to normalise the functioning of the thyroid

In Rome, garlic was also considered an energiser and invigorator. It was used as an antiseptic for the troops, giving

Strengthens the body’s defences

rise to the saying ‘Affias ne comedas’ or ‘Do not eat garlic!’

Increases longevity: due to the above effects

– a piece of advice for those who had not chosen a military

Aphrodisiac: especially in ancient Greece and Rome


Vampire and witch repellent: according to some mythologies

The Roman poet Virgil describes how Thestylis squeezed the juice from wild garlic and thyme and gave it to her harvesters

We should bear in mind that apart from the direct application of garlic, much of the benefits come from eating it, which is why it is recommendable to eat garlic raw since its effectiveness is reduced by 10% when cooked.

to protect them against snakes. Pliny believed that “garlic taken in wine is a remedy for shrew bites. Chopped garlic mixed with oil will cure purulent head ulcers”.



Garlic was introduced into Britain by the Romans. During the Dark Ages, it was probably only cultivated in the orchards of monasteries. In the Middle Ages, due to the Anglo-Saxon interest in herbs and plant species, garlic became popular and was known as ‘molu’, in memory of the plant mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey Book X, and which was given by Argeiphontes to protect against the powers of Circe.

The composition of garlic In order to speak with any authority on either the nutritious or therapeutic properties of garlic, we need to know what it is composed of. Below is a series tables with the nutritional values of the main components found in garlic. Tables of nutritional composition of garlic (per 100 g)

Main nutrients of garlic: Nutrient Water

Vitamins in garlic: Amount 70 g.




0.23 g.


119 kcal.

Saturated fat

0.05 g.


24.30 g.


0.03 g.


4.30 g.

Polyunsaturated fats

0.10 g.


0 g.


0 mg.


1.20 g.


0 mg.

Insoluble fibre

0.26 g.


0 ug.

Soluble fibre

0.94 g.


0 ug.


0 mg.


0 mg.

Phytic acid

0 g.


0 ug.





Folic acid

0 ug.

Vitamin A

0.00 ug.

Alpha carotene

0 ug.

Vitamin B1

0.16 mg.

Alpha tocopherol

0.01 mg.

Vitamin B12

0 ug.

Beta carotene

0.00 ug.

Vitamin B2

0.02 mg.

Beta cryptoxanthin

0 ug.

Vitamin B3

1.02 mg.

Beta carotene

0 ug.

Vitamin B5

0.60 ug.

Beta tocopherol

0 mg.

Vitamin B6

0.32 mg.


0.00 ug.

Vitamin B7

0 ug.

Delta tocopherol

0.09 mg.

Vitamin B9

4.80 ug.

Food folate

4.80 ug.

Vitamin C

14 mg.

0 mg.

Vitamin D

0 ug.

0.27 mg.

Vitamin E

0.01 mg.

0 ug.

Vitamin K

1.40 ug.

Gamma tocopherol Preformed niacin Retinol Total tocopherols


0.10 mg.


Mineral content of garlic:

The German Federal Health Agency recommends 4 g of raw garlic per day, or 8 mg of garlic essential oil to control cholesterol and prevent other risk factors of cardiovascular disease.





Aspartic acid

330 mg.


208 mg.

Glutamic acid

544 mg.


184 mg.


89 mg.


51 mg.


428 mg.


67 mg.


44 mg.


128 mg.


124 mg.


55 mg.


135 mg.


106 mg.


0 mg.


45 mg.


76 mg.


197 mg.


147 mg.



Carbohydrate content of garlic: Nutrient



2.21 g.


0 g.


0.85 g.


0 g.

Galactose Glucose

0 g. 0.56 g.


0 g.


0.80 g.



Carbohydrate and fibre content of garlic: Nutrient



21.80 g.

Resistant starch Cellulose

0 g. 0.14 g.


0 g.

Insoluble non-cellulosic polysaccharides

0.12 g.

Soluble non-cellulosic polysaccharides

0.94 g.

Compositional data may vary slightly depending on the type of garlic, origin and, especially, time since harvesting, as in storage garlic may dry out (increasing energy content and immediate principles) while losing some vitamin content such as ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).



Compounds and their effects

Despite the large number of compounds as shown in the nutritional tables, garlic, as a fresh product, has a high

The following table shows the compounds in garlic that are

water content (70%) and few calories (119 Kcal), although

thought to be beneficial, although some have not yet been

compared with many vegetables it has one of the highest

empirically tested.

calorie counts, excluding tubers. These calories are generally

Obviously, these compounds can vary in concentration the

in the form of complex carbohydrates (mainly starch) which the World Health Organization recommends we incorporate

garlic, depending on the variety, origin, maturity, processing

more of in our diet (50% of daily calories). Protein content is

and storage conditions etc. The transformation of garlic

low (4.3 %), although higher than in other vegetables, and

into products such as garlic essences, oils, dried flakes etc.

fat content practically null. It is high in mainly soluble dietary

can also influence the concentration and the average life of

fibre concentration, and, like other vegetables, has no

the compounds. This means that certain types of garlic may

cholesterol. The content of vitamins and minerals is average,

vary in properties. For instance, garlic oil has antioxidant

although high selenium content contributes to its excellent

properties, but not bactericidal or antithrombotic properties.

antioxidant properties. However, considering the above data, an average daily intake of 4 grams of garlic does not contribute much in terms of quantity to the Recommended Daily Amount of any of the nutrients it provides.


Lowers blood pressure, hypoglycaemic

In addition to the usual nutritional components present


Prevents the formation of clots, and helps break them down. Anti-inflammatory, vasodilator, lowers blood pressure, antibiotic

Allicin and Thiosulfinates

Antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral

Allyl mercaptan

Prevents hypercholesterolemia, prevents atherosclerosis, antitumor, antidiabetic, lowers blood pressure

Diallyl sulphide

Prevents hypercholesterolemia, increase in enzyme production, detoxifying, anticancer and prevents DNA chemical damage

Salil-cysteine, compounds and glutamates

Prevents hypercholesterolemia, antioxidants, chemoprotectives against cancer and enhances the detoxifying action of the liver


Vasodilator, lowers blood pressure, myelogenous, stimulates synthesis of steroid hormones, stimulates the release of glucagon

Fructanos (Escorodose)

Cardio-protective effects

F-4 protein fraction

Stimulates immune system through macrophages and splenic cells


Stabilizes mast cells and has beneficial effects on asthma and allergies

Saponin F-gitonin Euroboside B Scordinine

Lowers blood pressure F-gitonin = antiviral Euroboside B = antifungal Lowers blood pressure in rabbits and dogs; Promotes growth in high doses and Vitamin B absorption; antibacterial


Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory

Phenol compounds

Antiviral, antibacterial

in other foods, garlic presents more than 30 extremely beneficial compounds in small quantities. Among these components, the best known, most studied and principal component, is alliin derived from the amino acid, cysteine. In contact with air, this compound transforms aliinae into allicin, responsible for the aroma of garlic. Allicin itself and its derivatives provide some of the health giving properties of garlic. Garlic contains other beneficial chemical compounds, fructanos, fructose polymers attached to a glucose molecule. These compounds are beneficial because they escape the digestive process and absorption by the small intestine. Instead, they go directly to the colon where they are selectively fermented by bifidocterias and lactobaillus and inhibit the development of bacteria like Escherichia coli and Clostridium perfringens. Fermentation produces shortchain fatty acids like acetate and propionate, which can lower cholesterol and influence intestinal mucosa.



Scientific evidence Many of the health-giving properties of garlic come from

Arterial hypertension

Insufficient information available to determine dose response, treatment duration and changes in blood pressure. Moderate hypotensive effect


Reduces serum concentration of cholesterol by 6% -20%. Raises HDL and lowers LDL


Effects noted in some studies. Insufficient data

Vascular elasticity

Effect on lipid deposition in arteries

Respiratory diseases

No scientific information available

H. pylori gastritis

Laboratory models show that garlic modifies the adhesiveness of the bacteria. No evaluable clinical studies

Cutaneous fungal infections

No scientific information available


Studies on animals indicate garlic may reduce blood glucose and increase insulin release. No reliable studies on humans


Combined with onion and leek, there is a marginal effect against gastric cancer

Sickle Cell Disorder

In vitro formation of Heinz bodies with favourable effect

Antithrombotic effect

In experiments, decreases platelet adhesiveness and accelerates fibrinolysis. There are reports of haemorrhaging.

Antioxidant effect

Demonstrated in several specific studies. Cardiovascular effects

Peripheral artery disease

No significant effect on frequency of pain when walking

Tick repellent

No scientific information available

Protection against vampires, wolfmen, evil spirits, bad vibrations, chaneques and other demons

We did not find any clinical studies regarding these claims but putting garlic on a string made of hemp and hanging it round the neck for seven Saturdays was said to protect from curses and spells for a lifetime.

observation and popular knowledge. In other cases, scientific observation has corroborated some of its effects, as did Louis Pasteur who described garlic’s antibacterial effects. Garlic is most effective when 3 cloves of garlic a day or garlic oil (not for all therapies) are consumed. There also appears to be a medium-long term effect when consumed habitually. The Federal Health Agency in Germany says that a 4g daily consumption of raw garlic or 8 mg of garlic essential oil controls cholesterol and prevents other cardiovascular diseases. Many of these properties have been scientifically investigated and the new trend of evidence-based medicine has found the following:

Microscopic view of a garlic clove



Other ways of eating garlic 1. Raw: chew 1-3 cloves in the morning. May produce body odour and the therapeutic effects of active principles are not controlled.

Garlic is safe during pregnancy, but should be avoided in excess due to the risk of bleeding. In addition, in experimental models garlic provokes difficult childbirth, increase of lactation period, odorous milk and reduction in infant intake.

2. Garlic extract: in capsule or pearls. Does not cause body odour. 600 to 900mg daily is the recommended dose for therapeutic effects.

It should be used with caution when combined with an antihypertensive, statins, antiretrovirals (saquinavir, ritonavir), hypoglycaemic agents or antithyroid drugs.

3. Decoction of garlic cloves: boil one garlic head in a litre of water for five minutes. Drink three cups daily. Some of the properties are lost but it does not produce bad breath.

Cases of bleeding have been reported with concurrent use of garlic with ginkgo balboa or with saw palmetto, alfalfa, American ginseng, anise, arnica, aspen bark, cranberry, birch, boldo, cat’s claw, celery, chamomile, chaparral, clove, coleus, fish oil, flaxseed, ginger, grapefruit, green tea, horse chestnut, radish, onion, papain, parsley, passionflower, poplar, propolis, rhizo mushroom, Siberian ginseng, sweet clover, rue, Vitamin E, white willow, wild carrot, wild lettuce, willow, wintergreen and cassava.

4. Maceration in vinegar: causes body odour and active principles content is lower. Nevertheless, used over extended periods of time there may be an accumulative effect. 5. Black garlic: new to the West although traditional in the East. It has the advantage that pungency is totally eliminated and conservation is high. Some studies state an increase of up to 10 times in antioxidant capacity.

Harmful side effects and contraindications

By modifying blood pressure, the effects can inadvertently increase when combined with arnica, cranberry, eucalyptus, eucalyptus oil, linseed / linseed oil, ginger, ginkgo, mistletoe or vinca.

Like all active ingredient or medicine, the beneficial effects of garlic may be tarnished by harmful side effects. Some are just simple questions of social norms; others derive precisely from the interactions that may occur when eaten with other foods or medicines that have similar effects to those of garlic.

Diabetics should be careful when combining garlic with American ginseng-based herbs, blueberry, fish oil, chestnut seed extract (HCSE), rosemary, Siberian ginseng, nettle and white horehound. â–

Commonly reported side effects are bad breath, odour on skin and mucous membranes. Less frequently, garlic may cause allergic reactions, rashes or burns to the skin, dizziness, diaphoresis, headache, itching, fever, chills, asthma attacks, nasal congestion, mouth burns, abdominal pain or a bloated feeling, lack of appetite, meteorism, nausea, vomiting, gastric disorders, changes in intestinal flora, diarrhoea or constipation. Oligopermia (low sperm count) has also been noted in rats, but not in humans. Bleeding is a potentially serious side effect in cases such as spontaneous post-operative bleeding, platelet dysfunction or abnormal fibrinolysis, being more frequent in patients with an hemorrhagic tendency or who take oral anticoagulants(acenocoumarin), aspirin and other antiplatelet agents (clopidogrel) or anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Caution is advised for people with diabetes or hypoglycaemia and those using drugs, herbs, or hypoglycaemic supplements.









JOSÉ MARÍA GONZÁLEZ Sautéed sardine fillets, garlic confit, pickled garlic, black garlic, floral touches and warm red pepper salad. INGREDIENTS 6 small sardines / 1 shallot / half tomato / 1 green pepper / 1 red pepper / 1 pinch oregano / 2 black garlic cloves / 5 garlic cloves / oregano flower, garlic, garlic sprouts, carnation, marigold, borage, begonia / micromelum / salt / 50 grs. apple vinegar / 50 grs. water / chilli oil

METHOD Scrape scales from the sardines and clean well, removing innards and heads. Cover with salt for 2 minutes. Remove salt and place in sunflower oil. Meanwhile, make a confit with two cloves of garlic in olive oil, not exceeding 50 degrees. Once softened, peel and put aside. Put two peeled garlic cloves in water and salt. Boil for 4 minutes, then remove garlic and put in iced water. Make a marinade with 50 grs. vinegar, 50 grs. water and 10 grs. salt. Leave to macerate at least 24

Serving suggestion Arrange 7 small piles of warm red pepper salad on a plate. Roll 3 sardine fillets and place on top of 3 of the piles of

hours. Peel black garlic cloves carefully. Finely dice onion, peppers, tomato and one small garlic clove. Lightly fry with a little

red pepper salad. Sauté with a blowtorch. Cut garlic cloves

olive oil, a pinch of ground oregano and salt.

in half and put one half next to each of the sardine fillets. Decorate with the flowers and micromelum. Dress with a few drops of chilli oil.

MATÍAS VEGA Marinated baby sardines, sweet, natural garlic purée with beet and salmorejo. INGREDIENTS 100 g sweet garlic / 40g purple garlic / 2 egg yolks / 200g oil / 200g beet / 6 fresh sardines / sparkling water / ½ glass of vintage Montilla-Moriles vinegar / 300g white bread

METHOD Marinate sardines in sparkling water and the vintage Montilla-Moriles vinegar for 30 minutes. Make the two-garlic purée as if making mayonnaise. Crush garlic with the egg yolk and carefully mix in oil until emulsified. Add salt. Crush beetroot and add a little oil. Put aside. Toast and cut white bread into cubes.

Serving suggestion Put the two-garlic purée on a plate then the crushed beetroot. Place sardines on top and sprinkle with toast cubes and a few drops of olive oil.



ANDRÉS OCAÑA Marinated anchovies with roasted sweet peppers. INGREDIENTS For the roasted sweet peppers: 1 kg red peppers/ 2 onions/ 2 garlic cloves/ 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil/ 1 tbsp Vinagre de Montilla-Moriles/ 1 tbsp salt/ 1 tbsp sugar/ 1 tbsp chopped chives. For the anchovies: 500 g anchovies / half a litre warm water / 500g white wine vinegar / 1 tbsp salt / 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.

METHOD Roast the peppers with oil and salt. Caramelise the onion julienne with oil, salt and sugar. Finely chop the raw garlic and chives. Mix all ingredients and dress with extra virgin olive oil, Montilla vinegar and salt. Clean the

Serving suggestion

anchovies with cold water. Marinate in a mixture of water, wine vinegar

Put the peppers in a tin and place

and salt. Remove from marinade and preserve in olive oil.

anchovies on top.


Migas à la Subbética de Córdoba. INGREDIENTS Half a kilo of old bread sliced thinly. 2 heads Montalbán garlic, 1 glass (150 cl), extra virgin olive oil, half chorizo, 5 pieces pancetta, ½ onion black pudding, 1 pomegranate, 1 orange, 1 bunch radishes, salted cod, etc. to garnish . ½ litre of hot water for soaking. 1 tbsp. salt and, if black pudding not used, a pinch of cumin.

METHOD Put the cod in a bowl and cover with water. Heat on the stove and when boils, set aside and let cool. Boil potatoes, peel and mash with a fork until smooth. Add the codfish and grind with a pestle and mortar, until you get a thick paste. Peel the garlic and grind with salt and pepper. Add to potatoes and pour in the oil slowly, until smooth. Cut two of the eggs into small pieces. Place in a suitable container and decorate with remaining egg, nuts, chopped parsley and red pepper, asparagus, etc. Serve chilled in summer and hot in winter. Serving suggestion – see photograph.



Humans have been eating bread for more than six thousand years, perhaps making it therefore one of man’s best allies - and not just white bread from wheat, but also brown bread with all its fibre and nutrients intact.







aute cuisine ignores no food however simple it may be. Moreover, it could be argued that basic products like bread, oil and vegetables - simple only in appearance - are precisely the basis of good gastronomy.

Mediterranean and Atlantic voyages who wanted a food that had been part of their diet for many generations. It is difficult for an historian to think about the history of man without mentioning bread and that leavened flours are filling, can take many forms and make breads that are crisp, soft or suitable for fillings. Bread can be simple and elegant, white and sophisticated or full of aroma and flavour, combining well with other cereals and even ingredients like nuts, olives and vegetables. Whatever shape or form, bread has been a man’s constant companion - giving both sustenance and pleasure. It has played a transcendental role in human history, from sustainer and provider of pleasure, to catalyst of progress in the technological development of other products and foods.

Bread has been the great food of the Mediterranean, often making the difference between being hungry or not and has been a staple from Neolithic times to the present. Breadmaking has also given rise to a great development in technology: special closed ovens designed for better baking and also to gaining a deeper knowledge of the fermentation processes - which were not easy to control accurately. From the management of flour mills and discovering the best time to harvest cereals - to knowledge garnered form agronomy, technology and engineering - all facets have been actively involved in the development of a product that we call ‘simple’ and that, nevertheless, has been part of our diet for many years. Although bread is considered basic, perhaps it deserves more recognition and a more detailed study of how it has helped us to progress.

Since the times of the ancient world to the twentieth century, different breads reflected the owners of the tables they were served at: the upper classes at the best tables served white, refined bread, while the poorest ate ‘inferior’ brown breads - dark, solid, high in fibre and much healthier - although they were not considered so at the time. Today nutritionists recommend precisely those brown breads which had been considered second class years ago.

In fact, humans have been eating bread for more than six thousand years, perhaps making it therefore one of man’s best allies - and not just white bread from wheat, but also brown bread with all its fibre and nutrients intact. The bread eaten long ago was richer and had more complex flavours, more solid and quite different in texture from today’s light, airy bread. There were also breads which were like unsweetened biscuits that had been baked twice (biscoctos) in order to remove any moisture and thus avoid mould. This bread was taken on boats that sailed through the Mediterranean - and on the ships Columbus took on his journey to America. The loaves were lightly fermented, thin, crisp and almost dry, and were given to sailors on

n ancient Rome bread was one of the most important parts of the people’s diet. Every morning, before dawn, hundreds of ovens were lit and bakeries opened which sold cheap, government-subsidised bread - sometimes even given away free. Panem et circenses, or ‘bread and games’, designed to keep the people happy, is considered even today necessary for peaceful governance. The most sought-after and expensive breads were white, refined, had a thin crust, made with the best flour - and only within reach of the rich and powerful.



It is difficult for an historian to think about

Today, a good dish should be served with carefully made bread from artisan bakeries - healthy, freshly baked, still

the history of man without mentioning

warm, and pleasing to touch - and with that special aroma

bread; the fact that leavened flours are

that remind us of our childhood and rural life. Bread is undoubtedly the star of the best tables, where quality bread

filling, can take many forms, make breads

accompanies the choicest foods - and expert gourmets

that are crisp, soft or suitable for fillings.

demand the highest quality, traditionally-made breads with a crisp crust, a soft crumb and full of flavour. They know

Bread can be simple and elegant, white and

that a good meal begins with bread, one of the most

sophisticated or full of aroma and flavour,

enjoyable parts of the whole experience, despite its having been recently much maligned. A real gourmet is not one

combining well with other cereals and even

who eats only the most expensive products, but who eats

ingredients like nuts, olives and vegetables.

the best; who asks for real bread and not a doughy mass made in industrial bakeries. Let us become better consumers and buy nutritious, heavy, Telera bread, both for our health and to help revitalize an industry that has sustained us for centuries â–




Breadmaking can be traced back to the Neolithic Period and since then it has always been served with food. In those days it was flat, unleavened breads cooked directly over a fire and made without yeast.



he discovery of bread was one of the milestones in

and created up to fifteen different types of dough - also

the history of mankind. It took place a few thousand

mentioned in the Code of Hammurabi. To express the idea

ago when man ceased to be nomadic and settled

that love survives hardship, there is a saying attributed to the

in a fixed place to wait for the grain harvest, the grain that

Egyptians - ‘Together, with bread and onions’, illustrating

contained many of the nutrients necessary for survival.

the fact that bread was a staple food for the poor. The

According to geographic areas, bread is made with different

Egyptians are also credited with inventing the custom of

cereals, like rye, wheat, oats, barley, maize, rice, millet or

putting a small piece of wheat bread at each table setting.

bran. Because of its fibrous nature, humans cannot digest

The Greeks, through trade with Egypt (according to some

it, so it needs to be ground to flour which is then mixed

historians, the myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece is a

and baked. According to German sources, the discovery of

metaphor for the Greek’s search for wheat), knew about the

naturally fermented dough used to make bread is closely

Egyptian art of breadmaking, and even as far back as the

linked to so-called ‘liquid bread’, or beer, although long

300 BC baked more than seventy different types of bread.

before this the code of Hammurabi (1792 BC) had already

As a precursor to cakemaking, bakers started to add spices,

described ‘edible’ and ‘drinkable’ bread.

honey, oils and nuts to bread - and what had begun for

Breadmaking can be traced back to the Neolithic Period and

the ancient Greeks as a food of divine origin became the

since then it has always been served with food. In those days

people’s mainstay and symbol of a food par excellence.

it was flat, unleavened breads cooked directly over a fire and made without yeast. It is said that the first bread, and fermentation of dough, was invented in Egypt, and was due to a an accidental discovery around 3000 BC, when a young apprentice baker neglected his duties and left the dough exposed to air longer than usual - which made the damp surface of the bread ferment. As an experiment, the young man put the dough in the oven and saw that it greatly increased in volume. This produced the first soft, spongy bread with a crisp, golden crust - tasty and easy to digest. The fermentation of dough had been accidentally discovered. It would be the Egyptians of the IV dynasty (2613- 2494 BC) in Cheops, Khafre and Mycerinus that developed breadmaking techniques, invented the oven Carbonized loaf of bread found in Pompei, AD 79



For many years the Romans ate a kind of meal and

In the 12th century, cities begin to gain importance, and

porridge; bread was considered a luxury and beyond

one of the first regulations brought into force was that, as

the reach of ordinary people. In 30 BC, however,

in Rome, the government was to control the production and

Rome already had more than 300 bakeries and judges

distribution of bread. The bakers’ guild, or Corporación de

controlled the prices, weights and qualities. About AD

Oficio in Spanish, was revived and would continue to function

100, at the time of Trajan, the first bakers’ association

until the 19th century. At the end of the 18th century,

was formed to regulate the profession, as well as to

progress was made in technology, crop management and

improve techniques. Juvenal’s ‘panem et circenses’

milling techniques, while flour quality greatly improved.

became one of the mottos of Rome where all kinds of

Importantly, increase in production led to cheaper white

bread was made, like the long-lasting panis militaris

bread, so making it more affordable. In the 19th century the steam mill appeared, baking systems continued to

and panis plebeius, a cheap, brown bread. White bread

evolve and a new phase in the evolution of bread emerged:

was reserved for the wealthier classes. Rome would

the aeration of dough, the introduction of a new kind of

spread the bread culture throughout its empire, except

yeast and the development of mechanised kneading. These

for Spain where it had already been introduced by the

improvements meant the baking industry quickly grew, and

Celtiberians in the third century AD.

has continued to grow, although unfortunately we do not

During the Middle Ages no significant progress was made

always find quality bread on sale.

in breadmaking. A fall in cereal cultivation brought periods

Despite this, the breadmaking procedure is, in essence, the

of famine and shortages of the most basic of foods: bread.

same as thousands of years ago: we harvest the grain, grind

Thanks to extensive landownership, the monasteries become

to make flour, add water, salt and sometimes a bit of yeast,

the main producers of bread. The colour of the dough

knead to form a soft dough, leave to rise, shape the dough

remained an indicator of social prestige; white bread was

and bake until cooked ■

only accessible to the rich and wealthy. However, in Europe the Infernal Fire, Fire of San Antonio or Poverty-Related Disease ravaged Europe, causing deaths, miscarriages and loss of limbs. The only remedies against this terrible disease were prayers and charms, but they did not cure; the only ‘cure’ was to do the pilgrimage of the Way of Saint James. Pilgrims underwent a series of miraculous healings when they came before the apostle, but fell ill again when they returned to their country of origin. However, if they returned once more they were again healed. The reason sufferers were cured was because those suffering from the illness, in the more than 400 hospitals of the Order of San Antonio in the south of Spain, were given wheat bread, while in northern and central Europe they ate rye bread - and rye sometimes contained the ergot fungus, the cause of the feared Infernal Fire disease. The presence of the fungus in rye bread leads to ergot gangrenous, a vascular disease attributed to prolonged consumption of contaminated rye bread. These ‘infallible’ miraculous healings associated with the Apostle James were part of a push to consolidate the power of St James and the Order of Saint Anthony in Europe - and added to the religious symbolism that bread had always had.



SITUATION AND CONSUMPTION OF BREAD IN SPAIN AURELIO GÓMEZ LLAMAS President of AFEPANCOR Asociación Provincial de Fabricantes y Expendedores de Pan de Córdoba (Provincial Association of Bread Manufacturers and Retailers of Córdoba)



ationally the bread market has undergone important changes in the last few decades, one of those being the change in breadmaking from an artisan process to a fully industrialised one. Retailing has also changed, from sales of bread in traditional bakeries to outlets in supermarkets or franchises.

Faced with this situation, it is necessary to transform the sector and develop new products to adapt to new tastes and trends - such as making breads which are low in salt and fat have no additives. Another trend is the production of highend breads, with ecological ingredients and using different cereals wheat (rye, corn, sorghum, etc.). The aim, therefore, is to create a new market and maintain, or even enhance,

At present, each person in Spain consumes on average 46 kg of bread a year, which means an outlay of more than € 110.

the traditional bread market. CONSUMPTION BY VARIETY

The current economic crisis has affected all sectors including the food sector. Within this broad sector, bakers have also been affected even though bread is a staple in our diet.

The most popular varieties consumed in Spain are fresh or frozen breads. From May 2012 to April 2013 these breads accounted for 84.2% of the market, an increase of 1.5%

There are other causes contributing to this crisis including the high price of supplies, competition between producers, higher taxes and the myth that bread is fattening, to name just a few.

compared to the same period the previous year. Sales of fresh bread rose by 14.3% and fresh bread without salt increased by 18.2%. The remaining 15.8% of bread consumed in the home is industrially-manufactured bread. In the past 12 months,

The rise in the price of raw materials is due to the pressure exerted by the prices at origin, due to massive purchases of grain to provoke shortages or gluts in a given market. This can lead to price increases which result in a reduction in purchasing - because for the customer, price, not quality is the most important.

sales have increased by 3.3%. According to study data, more than 4 of every 10 kilos of bread are bought from traditional bakeries and sales have remained almost stable.

Moreover, in our globalised world there are many competitors which combined with the current trend to decrease flour consumption means output in the sector is increasingly smaller.




Thus, per capita consumption stood at 36.12 kilograms per person per year, and the average amount spent on bread made up 5.75 percent of a household’s total food budget.

The profile of consumers with a high bread intake corresponds to that of a large family (more than 4 people).

With regard to the province of Córdoba, data are similar to those regarding the rest of Spain, including those of Andalusia. Baguettes are especially popular and are sold by large supermarket chains at a much lower price. This is regarded as unfair competition for the industrial baker, who cannot sell bread as cheaply since that is their only product. Supermarkets also use cheap bread to lure people to the shop in the hope that, once there, they spend money on more profitable items too.

The highest consumers of bread are in Navarre, Galicia and Castile and Leon, while those in the Balearic Islands and Madrid consume less. According to data of the consumer panel issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment, Spanish households have increased their bread consumption, which now stands at an average of 36.12 kilos per person per year. The average amount set aside for bread is 5.75 per

From time immemorial, until the baguette appeared, the most popular bread in Córdoba, especially in the city was Telera bread. This bread is made in the traditional way with enriched flours, so making it more expensive and inducing people to buy baguettes instead.

cent of the total budget for food. The fresh/frozen variety is most popular, and accounted for 84.2 percent of the market on August 14, 2013. The consumer panel of The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment analysed the importance of bread in Spanish households and the

However, if possible, Telera bread should be used to make the famous Córdoban salmorejo because of its following characteristics:

evolution of the trends in expenditure and consumption of this product. This study found that Spanish homes increased bread


consumption by 1.8 percent during May 2012 to April 2013

This bread is made with average-strength flour, together with sourdough, water, salt, yeast and bread improvers. After shaping the dough like a long roll, two deep cuts are made and the bread is baked at 200o Celsius for 40 minutes.

compared with the same period the previous year. The total volume of bread sold in its different varieties rose in that period to 1,667,336,250 kilos. However, expenditure has remained stable due to the fact

Due to the type of bread and the craftsmanship involved in the making of Telera bread, it is ideal for Cordoban salmorejo and the most renowned chefs in Córdoba use Telera bread in their recipes ■

that the average price of this product fell 1.9 per cent, which resulted in a total expenditure of € 3,903,011,500 per Spanish household.




Where food is concerned, we qualify and contextualise our evaluations because what may have been good for our ancestors is not necessarily good for us today. For instance, the amount of calories workers needed years ago was possibly several times greater than today because energy expenditure was so much higher. BREAD - A CONTROVERSIAL FOOD


t is well known that the bread has accompanied man

Nutritional properties of the ingredients of bread

throughout history (and a good part of prehistory).

The nutritional value of bread derives mainly from its

During this time, many historical events have been

ingredients, wheat flour, water, salt and yeast. Basically,

motivated by bread or by the lack of it, as it was part the

most of the nutritional properties of bread come from the

staple diet of many western, mainly European, cultures. But

flour, so the variety of flour used influences the properties of

recently bread has become devalued and disdained. When

the bread. These properties are also influenced by the salt,

did this change take place? Were our ancestors right to

water and even the yeast.

value it, or are our contemporaries right to undermine it?


Where food is concerned, we need to qualify and

Water increases the humidity of the product, which, as we

contextualise our evaluations because what may have been

will see substantially reduces the amount of calories and

good for our ancestors is not necessarily good for us today.

nutrients in relation to the flour. The contribution water

For instance, the amount of calories workers needed years

provides in terms of nutrients comes exclusively from

ago was possibly several times greater than today because

inorganic elements, and is low, especially regarding calcium

energy expenditure was so much higher. Women, in addition

and/or iron, and varies according to the source of the water.

to doing more laborious chores in bygone days, did other


tasks which usually involved high energy expenditure. If to

Salt, like water has little to contribute nutritionally and is

this we add the frequent famines throughout history, we can

essentially inorganic. Indeed, although sodium content is

better understand our appetite for foods with a high-energy

low, if bread is consumed in large amounts this could be

potential, and that, up to the middle of the 20th century,

a major source of this electrolyte in the diet. We should

man’s preference has been for women with sufficient fat

also mention that by adding sea salt, or iodized salt (not so

reserves to ensure perpetuation of the species.

common in Spain) to the breadmaking process, we ingest

Having put bread now in a clear context, if we want to know

iodine. Thanks to bread and its iodine content, many inland

how we should view bread we need sufficient data to help

regions or countries have avoided goitre and cretinism due

us decide. We will use scientifically obtained information,

to bread consumption.

focusing on aspects such as bread’s nutritional properties

But this same salt, so valued by our ancestors for its sodium

and the scientific proof which supports bread consumption

content, is today more of a problem than a blessing, given

and that which is against it.

that the diets of developed countries tend to be very high



in salt, ranging from 5-12 g/day - although in our country,

the framework of the NAOS Strategy, the Confederación

region and province we have an average intake of around 8-9


g/day. This amount of salt does not present a great risk to a

Confederation of Bakeries) (CEOPAN) and the Asociación

healthy population, but unfortunately an increasing number






Española de Fabricantes de Masas Congeladas (Spanish

of people have high blood pressure, which, in many cases,

Association of Manufacturers of Frozen Dough) (ASEMAC)

goes undiagnosed. It is precisely this group whose blood

agreed with the Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs,

pressure levels rise significantly if salt intake is high. That is why most public and private entities involved in human

(MSC) to a reduction in the percentage of salt used in making

nutrition recommend no more than 5-6 g of salt a day. For

bread, from 22 g of NaCl /kg. flour up to a maximum of 18

the Spanish population, the Sociedad Espanola de Nutrición

g of NaCl / kg. flour over a period of four years, decreasing

Comunitaria (Spanish Society on Community Nutrition)

by 1 g. each year. This commitment was reflected by the

guide recommends 6 g/day, but the latest recommendations

signing in February 2005 of a collaboration agreement

of the WHO is 5 g/day and this amount has been adopted

between the MSC and CEOPAN. In 2008, according to the

by our government.

Agencia Española de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición

The Nutrición, Actividad Física y Prevención de la Obesidad

(Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition) (AESAN) not

Estrategia (Spanish Strategy for Nutrition, Physical Activity

only had the objective been fulfilled for that year, but that

and the Prevention of Obesity) (NAOS), aims to reduce the

the objectives set for 2009 when the project was to end,

prevalence of non-infectious diseases in developed countries (cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes,

had also been reached. The type of bread that continued

metabolic syndrome, cancer, etc.), and has developed

with the highest levels of sodium was baguettes, whilst

activities aimed at reducing salt intake. In 2004, and within

traditionally-made breads were variable in sodium content.

Success rates in reaching objectives in salt reduction by autonomous region (not named)

Source AESAN



Yeast Table 1 shows the composition of the main flours used in breadmaking. Included are soybeans, although this is a legume - and the type used in baking is not the one displayed but a defatted flour. In the table, therefore, soybean bread shows some of the highest values both in terms of calories, fat and other nutrients.

east does not provide any nutritional value as it is present in very small amounts in bread, but it does cause structural changes in flour due to the way it interacts with some of its constituents such as carbohydrates and proteins. Despite using nutrients to convert the constituents to the gases produced in fermentation, nutritional loss is about 5% for both proteins and carbohydrates, and can be considered negligible.

We can see how wheat flour, both white and wholemeal, present average values and are similar to other flours made from cereals. Oat flour has a high calorie content and a high number of nutrients. The lowest calorie content is in barley flour, which along with rye has the highest fibre content.

Flour Flour is the main ingredient, the most important and the most variable in composition, as much depends on the strain or type of cereal used, the degree of extraction and other factors in the breadmaking process.

Obviously, as we have seen, selection and genetic manipulation of plants for flour has produced variants and strains that may lead to substantial changes in nutritional composition, and despite this not usually being the aim, it may be a consequence, although we have no reliable data on these changes.

Table 1. Nutritional composition per 100 gr. of the main flours used in bread. Rice







Wholemeal wheat

Energy (Kcal)









Proteins (g)









Lipids (g)









Carbohydrates (g)









Fibre (g)









Ca (mg)









Mg (mg)









P (mg)

















Na (mg) K (mg)









Fe (mg)









Thiamine (mg)









Riboflavin (mg)









Niacin (mg EN)









Vit B6 (mg)



















Ac Fólico(ug) Vit B12 (ug)


Ascorbic Acid (mg)









Vit A (ug ER)























Vit D (ug) Vit E (mg-TE)



Nutritional composition of breads

Table 2 Energy content, immediate principles and fibre content of the main types of bread (100 gr.)

Generalisations are inevitable when discussing bread given the variability in flours and baking methods, so although we will talk in general about its composition, we will be more

Energy (Kcal)

Protein (g)

Lipids (g)

Carbohydrates (g)

Fibre (g)







trients and their functions.












We can find a wide variety of data on the energy content of

















on the humidity content of the final product - the drier the







bread the greater its energy content. Calorie content varies







between 230 and 270 Kcal for white bread. In addition, the







different ways of making bread produce different energy














In Table 2 we can see the energy contribution of the



















lemeal);the varieties of wholemeal breads; foods that







many people wrongly refer to as bread (milk rolls and







rolls); and finally, toasted and fried bread, since the







nutritional composition is modified if cooked this way.



















specific about the variations among different types.


For clarity, we will give the contents of each group of nu-

white bread. This variation sometimes depends on what is considered ‘white’ bread and the flour used (the variety of the grain and degree of bran extraction), but it also depends

main types of bread. The first data corresponds to different cereals used to make them, followed by data on the commercial varieties of wheat bread (not who-

Data arising from combinations of breads like wholemeal baguettes, wholemeal toasts etc. have been excluded.




Carbohydrates As we said earlier, bread is made up mainly of flour diluted by the water added to the dough. Approximately 50 per cent of bread is made up of complex carbohydrates, which has put bread at the base of all food pyramids. The WHO, and virtually all public and private entities involved in nutrition, recommends that at least 50% of our daily calorie intake should come from complex carbohydrates. Bread along with other cereals, legumes and some tubers are the most abundant sources of this type of energy provider.

By seed variety, the lowest energy content is that of oat bread (interestingly with the highest calories when a flour), barley and maize which have a very high moisture content, around 50%, while in wheat it is usually below 40%. Also, we find low energy content in rye bread, although the water content is similar to that of wholemeal bread. Obviously, this difference in moisture has an impact on its energy content. The commercial forms of non-wholemeal breads are very similar to each other. However, depending on the type of

Glycaemic index

sliced bread, energy content may increase significantly.

White bread is used to measure the glycaemic index (GI) of other foods. It is assigned a value of 100. However, wholemeal varieties have a lower GI and are more suitable for diabetics.

Wholemeal breads have slightly lower energy content than others that contain less fibre. The benefits of these breads come not from the energy they can produce but from their fibre content. The varieties shown here will also give the

Amylose and Amylopectin

fibre content.

increase energy content. For toasted bread, mainly due to

These are the two major components of starch in bread, and according to the proportion of both compounds, the type of dough and bread will vary. Amylopectin provides elasticity to the dough. The proportion of both compounds is variable depending on the cereal and even on the variety of each cereal.

a decrease in moisture, and for fried bread, the change is

Resistant starch

also notable because of the incorporation of the fat used in

For its physical structure (starch) this compound should be easily digested, but it is not processed by human digestive enzymes (amylose). In bread, resistant starch increases (in amounts depending on the flour), because of the heating and cooling in the breadmaking process, which produces a gelling of the amylose (retrograded starch or resistant starch - Type III). The more times the dough is heated and cooled, the more retrograded starch is produced. Dietary fibre may also increase as bread gets older and loses moisture.

Milk breads and rolls have substantially greater energy contents because fats are added which increase the lipid content. Finally, the normal processes involved in breadmaking also

frying that partly replaces the water content, so the energy content can be double that of the original bread. The idea that the crumb provides more energy than the crust is not true - on the contrary, the energy value is less weight for weight because the crumb contains more gaseous components, so that per unit volume it weighs less. In addition, the crumb has higher moisture content than the crust. So the next time you eat bread remove the crust instead of the crumb. Another misconception about bread is that breadsticks are lower in calories - but the energy content of this type of product is around 400-450 kcal/100g, almost double that of the average loaf. When considering energy content, we need to remember the two factors previously mentioned, that the less moisture content there is the higher the energy content and the use of fats to improve the moulding process.



Lipids Natural fat content in flour and bread is primarily polyunsaturated fat, more specifically linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid which accounts for more than 50% of the total fat content of white bread. Oleic acid accounts for just 10% of lipids; the Omega 3 content is low - (3%) and saturated fats amount to around 15% of the total fat. This profile, although not optimal, can be regarded as acceptable from a cardiovascular point of view.

The fat content of bread is usually low, around 2%, provided that the composition of the dough contains the basic ingredients (flour, water, salt and yeast). However, the use of animal fat or vegetable fat is becoming increasingly common in the making of certain varieties of bread in order to make it moister and spongier. This often occurs in some sweeter breads, some of which are in Table 2, like hamburger buns, milk loaves and some rolls. This increase in fat means an increase in calorie content as we also saw in the corresponding section.

Proteins The protein content of the bread is very high (6 -10%), since it is a food of plant origin. Using plants for food meant that people had an another source of protein in case the hunt failed or there was no access to animal protein - perhaps due to feudalism, famines, plagues, poverty, etc. In many developing countries, grain (wheat, corn, rice or millet) is the main source of protein for people. However, the quality of cereal protein, including bread, is not optimal given that the proportion of amino acids is not properly balanced according to our need for so-called ‘ideal protein’. Table 3 gives the amino acid content of some types of bread protein as a percentage of the total protein, and, in the last column, the percentage ideal for human development. As can be seen, of the proposed six amino acids (the amino acids of the two sulphurs, cysteine and methionine), only lysine is below the recommended intake in all varieties of bread and in virtually all the cereals used in breadmaking

Depending on the type of fat used, the nutritional effect may be different. Coconut or palm oils are often used which, although of vegetable origin, have a high saturated fatty acid content. Fortunately, because of consumer demand these types of fats are being substituting with olive oil or sunflower oil that could be better for cardiovascular health.

Coconut or palm oils are often used which, although of vegetable origin, have a high saturated fatty acid content. Fortunately, because of consumer demand these types of fats are being substituting with olive oil or sunflower oil that could be better for cardiovascular health.



Gluten Gluten is composed mainly of gliadin and glutenin, proteins found in some grains and that confer elasticity (glutenin), adhesion and extensibility, (gliadin) and the retention capacity of carbon dioxide during fermentation, which makes the bread spongier.

Fortunately, in our diet we have legumes that can compensate for this lysine deficit. Legumes are deficient in sulphur so a diet combining cereals and legumes can provide good quality proteins. Glutamic acid, on the other hand, is the amino acid found

There are some people who are gluten intolerant (celiac disease), since these proteins cause intestinal mucosa deterioration which not only has an impact in the type of digestive problems, but can also cause a low absorption of nutrients.

in the greatest quantity. This non-essential amino acid makes up approximately one third of the total protein in a loaf. Glutamic acid, or glutamate, is the responsible for the umami taste. In the food industry, it is widely used as a flavour enhancer (E-621). However, glutamate is now is

The best alternative for celiac disease sufferers is oat breads, as those who are intolerant to the gluten in wheat are also intolerant to that of rye or barley.

surrounded by controversy, as there is speculation it may be addictive. In bread, however, it occurs naturally.

Table 3. Percentage of amino acids in the protein White bread


Rye bread

Wholemeal bread

Hamburger buns













Aspartic acid






Glutamic acid




























































































Dietary fibre Although this is not a nutrient, dietary fibre has become one

Despite these favourable effects, fibre also hinders the ab-

of the most interesting components of our current diets. An

sorption of other nutrients. This interference is usually offset

adequate amount of dietary fibre daily (about 20g), prevents

by our intestines in a diet rich in soluble fibre in a 4-6 week

some of the non-communicable diseases that produce the

period - however, slow glucose absorption is permanent.

greatest number of deaths in developed societies such as

The soluble content of dietary fibre is normally degraded by

cancer, cardiovascular disease and strokes. Fibre contributes

microflora in the colon, which then acts as a prebiotic.

favourably to alleviate the symptoms of diabetes, hyperten-

The varieties of cereal seed combinations in bread, or adding

sion, etc.

other foods to obtain different dietary fibre is becoming in-

In Table 4 we can see the amount of dietary fibre

creasingly common, including the addition of dietary fibre

in wheat bread in all its variations of white bread,

from other, sometimes purified foods. These types of food

wholemeal and rye bread. Soluble dietary fibre is similar

with added dietary fibre can be very varied. Normally, who-

in white bread and wholemeal; however the amount of

lemeal bread refers to the bread that contains its natural ce-

insoluble fibre (lignin, cellulose and cellulosic polysaccharides)

real fibre. In the flour making process, flour is often husked

is much greater in wholemeal bread. This insoluble fibre

and the two parts ground separately. In wholemeal bread

has its main effects on the colon, where, in addition to

these parts are mixed together again after grinding. Brown

combating constipation, it reduces the risk of cancer of the

bread usually refers to wholemeal bread, or when the husk is partially removed, and which falls somewhere between

colon. It also has beneficial effects on hypercholesterolemia

white and wholemeal bread.

and to a lesser extent on glycaemia. The content of insoluble dietary fibre in rye bread is somewhere between white bread and wholemeal, but there is more soluble fibre that acts primarily on the small intestine, giving a satiated feeling. Due to the jellification of chime the absorption rate of glucose and cholesterol is reduced.

Table 4. Amount of dietary fibre in different types of bread White bread

Wholemeal bread

Rye bread

Soluble fibre




Insoluble fibre




Insoluble nonstarch polysaccharides












Normally, wholemeal bread refers to the bread that contains its natural cereal fibre. In the flour making process, flour is often husked and the two parts ground separately. In wholemeal bread these parts are mixed together again after grinding.



Minerals in bread Bread is a moderate source of minerals, with a few

milk breads or rolls, (providing 21%, 13% and 8% of the

exceptions. Table 5 lists the contents of some minerals

RDA respectively), due to the addition of milk or eggs.

in the main types of bread. In terms of the recommended

Except in the loaves mentioned, the calcium phosphorus

daily allowance (RDA) of minerals, 100g of whole wheat

balance is tipped in favour of phosphorus, which, like many

white bread contributes 5.6% calcium, 8.3% magnesium,

other similar foods in our diet, negatively affects calcium

9% phosphorus, 36% sodium, 3.5% potassium and 10.6%

because of the surplus of phosphorus. Magnesium content

iron. Normally, wholemeal and/or breads with added fibre

is higher although the potassium content is low. The sodium

tend to have a higher content of almost all minerals because

in the data shown above is only approximate, because the

these are found in higher concentrations in the inner layers

salt is added during the bread making process and therefore

of the husks of bran.

depends on the baker, although generally salt content is

The iron content is quite high, although this iron is less

being reduced.

bioavailable than foods of animal origin and availability can

Other minerals with fewer physiological functions are

vary significantly due to dietary factors or an individual’s

present in low-average quantities, except selenium, where

physiological or pathological condition. The calcium content,

100g of bread can provide more than 50% of the RDA,

however, is average except in bread made from barley,

although the amount may vary according to the amount of

which has low amounts, and others like hamburger rolls,

selenium present in the land where the cereal was grown.

Table 5. Mineral content of the main types of bread (100 gr.) TYPE OF BREAD WHEAT BREAD (WHITE) OATMEAL BREAD

Ca (mg)

Mg (mg)

P (mg)

Na (mg)

K (mg)






Fe (mg) 1.6





























































































































Vitamin content of bread The content of fat-soluble vitamins in bread is quite low,

to the RDA: 100 g of food - 8.2% - thiamine, 4% - riboflavin,

because, among other reasons, these vitamins are linked to

niacin- 19%, Vitamin B6 - 4%, folic acid - 8%. Indeed, bread

the fat from the food, and, as mentioned, the fat content of

is a good source of niacin (mainly due to its transformation

bread is usually quite low. Exceptions are the loaves made

from tryptophan), to a lesser extent of thiamine and folic

with some types of fat and those that may be fortified with

acid and relatively poor in the others. As with other foods,

vitamins. Of the bread we considered, milk rolls have the

different ingredients to the traditional ones may be used in

highest amount of Vitamin A, 2.2% of the RDA; while in the

the breadmaking process, and the bread may be can enriched with vitamins such as thiamine, present in hamburger bread,

rest of the breads, the fat-soluble vitamin content provides

sliced bread and rolls. We find greater amounts of riboflavin

less than one per cent of the RDA. In the same way, Vitamin

in milk bread (provided precisely by the milk) or wholemeal

B12 content is null (this is only present in foods of animal

bread (100g of this bread provides more than 20% of the

origin), and the cooking process destroys practically all the

RDA); wholemeal bread is also particularly rich in niacin

Vitamin C, which can also be found in low concentrations

(more than 40% of the RDA), Vitamin B6 (20% of the RDA)

in flours.

and bread made with whole grain cereal is rich in folic acid,

Table 6 shows the most important water-soluble

(providing 30% of the RDA). We see that wholemeal bread

vitamins. To understand the nutritional significance of these

has a greater number of vitamins, for the same reason as we

quantities, we will give the amount white bread contributes

saw for minerals.

Tabla 6 Contenido en vitaminas de las principales tipologĂ­as de pan (por 100g). TYPE OF BREAD WHEAT BREAD (WHITE)

Thiamine (mg)

Riboflavin (mg)

Niacin (mg)

Vit B6 (mg)

Folic Acid (ug)

















































































































Bread and health Few foods have a history as long and clean as bread in terms

A study by the University of Barcelona found that people

of its impact on health. However, there have been a few

who follow a Mediterranean diet which includes bread,

notable cases of food poisoning from rye bread, caused

present more favourable clinical parameters in relation to

by poor cereal conservation and the transmission of rye

cardiovascular risk than those who follow the same diet

ergot. Fortunately, we have been aware of the danger for

without bread. Likewise, and within the framework of

many years, and have learned how to prevent it although

the PREDIMED study, Dr. Llorach’s team studied an aging

there have been some isolated cases of poisoning when

population with high cardiovascular risk and related it with

precautionary measures were not taken.

their habitual consumption, occasional or null, of both white and wholemeal bread. It was found that those who ate bread

Despite the health-giving properties of bread, during the

had lower insulin levels than those who didn’t, and the lipid

60s people began to relate bread with obesity, a new

profile of white and wholemeal bread consumers was better

health concern and now the major cause of deaths from

than those of occasional consumers and non-consumers ■

non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes. This link between bread and obesity has become deep-rooted in our society, despite there being no scientific evidence to support the idea. However, recent studies undertaken by prestigious Spanish researchers contradict this. Perhaps the most prominent has been the research carried out by Professor Serra Majem’s team which, by means of a meta-study of publications in which bread consumption is related to body weight, concluded that only not does bread not cause obesity, but that regular consumption of bread (even better whole wheat), favours weight loss, the reduction of the fat around the waist and of body mass index. Similarly, in a study on schoolchildren, Professor Ortega’s team found that children who consume more bread were less overweight. Despite these scientific findings, the same cannot be applied to people on slimming diets, since it is often recommended to reduce bread intake. But Dr .Gomez Candela’s team found that weight loss is the same with or without bread in hypocaloric diets, but those who ate bread kept to the diet longer and had a greater feeling of satiety, which is why including bread in slimming diets is beneficial.




Bread: flour, yeast and water Water: water plays an important role in all chemical changes - biochemical and structural - that take place during kneading and baking. During kneading it participates in making up the structure of gluten, providing rigidity and elasticity to the dough and hydrating the starch granules. This causes a breakup of the smaller molecules which then serve as nutrients for the yeast.

Bread is the basis of the Mediterranean diet and is made from three simple ingredients; flour, yeast and water. Flour: good bread must be made from wheat flour, as wheat is the only cereal that has proteins (gluten) which can make a structure elastic enough to form a spongy consistency. The elasticity of the dough depends on the relationship between the glutenin and gliadin content. The large glutenin proteins are responsible for bread’s smooth, compact texture and gliadin, a thousand times smaller, confers elasticity to the dough.

In cooking, part of the water evaporates and the rest mixes evenly in the dough, creating starch gel inside the bread and coagulating the proteins in gluten, which then become the crust.

Yeasts: yeasts are responsible for the fermentation and rising of bread during baking, in addition to providing aroma and taste. Yeasts feed on maltose and other monosaccharides from the starch in wheat flour. During fermentation, yeast transforms sugars into carbon dioxide, ethyl alcohol, aldehydes, ketones and other taste-giving, aromatic alcohols. The carbon dioxide formed causes dough to rise during baking as it expands within the gluten.

Types of breadmaking flour

Abbreviations: • W: strength of flour

Table 1 shows the main types of flour used in breadmaking according to its function.

• P/L: balance between plasticity/elasticity of the flour • P. (Tenacity) The absorption capacity of the flour depends on the quality of the gluten • L. (Elasticity): how much stretch the flour has when mixed with water • Falling Number (sec): indirectly measures the enzyme activity of flour • Maltose: the sugar in flour that acts on yeast to produce carbon dioxide during the fermentation process



Types of Andalusian white bread

Sensory attributes of white bread

In Andalusia, as in the rest of the country, there are basically two types of white bread: ‘candeal‘or ‘bregado’ bread, with a more solid, white crumb and a smooth, fine texture, and ‘flama’ or ‘barra’ (baguette-type) bread, which has a soft, spongy crumb.

Bread contains many aromas, flavours and textures that give it great sensorial wealth. These sensory properties, specific to each type of bread, depend mainly on the type of flour used, the breadmaking process and the baking.

Fermentation of dough is the natural way to give bread taste. In fact, fermentation is the ‘factory of taste’. This is carried out by the action of yeasts that convert the sugars in the dough into carbon dioxide, ethyl alcohol and other fermentation products that provide flavour and aroma to bread. Breads made with sourdough have greater aromatic wealth than breads made with industrial yeasts. Today, bakers use the latter in large-scale breadmaking.

Candeal or bregado bread, is made in Castile and Andalusia in the traditional way. This type of bread is called ‘white bread’ for its crumb, ‘candeal’ for the type of flour and ‘bregado’ for the refining process of the dough through cylinders. It is made with strong wheat flour and receives low hydration (around 40-45%). This means careful manual work which makes them more expensive than industrially-made breads and so endangers their survival. Fortunately, the revival in popularity of traditional quality products has helped this bread recover and it is now a representative of quality traditional breads. However, it is not usually made with candeal flour, as the cultivation of this variety has practically disappeared.

If fermentation is the factory of flavour, baking is the factory of colour and aroma, giving bread its golden colour and the typical aroma of freshly-baked bread. The browning of the crust and the development of aromas in the bread are due to chemical reactions at temperatures above 200 °C between the sugars and amino acids, known as the Maillard reaction. The main products formed in the Maillard reaction are furfural and their derivatives, which also make up part of the aroma of coffee, maltol, and the fruity, aromatic component, diacetyl – linked also to the aroma of butter and acetaldehyde which also have fruity notes.

Telera bread from Córdoba belongs to the candeal or bregado type of bread and is made in the traditional way in this city. It is characterized by a whitish crust, a white, compact crumb and a fine delicate sponginess. It is shaped like a bullfighter’s hat.

During bread tasting, the eyes take in the type of bread, colour and tone of the crust, colour and brightness of the crumb and the shape of the cavities. Through the sense of smell we perceive aromas of flour, yeast, spices, cereals or toast. Finally, in the mouth we appreciate both the basic sweet, salty or acid flavours, and its spongy, elastic, crispy and moist textures (Table 2).

Flama or barra, (baguette-type bread) is the most popular today. These breads are called ‘pan de flama’ because of their soft crumb. The dough is made with medium-strength wheat flour and receives average hydration (60-70%). It can be made mechanically which is convenient and profitable for the baker.

In Andalusia, as in the rest of the country, there are basically two types of white bread: ‘candeal‘ or ‘bregado’ bread, with a more solid, white crumb and a smooth, fine texture, and ‘flama’ or ‘barra’ (baguette-type) bread, which has a soft, spongy crumb.



Sensory attributes of the Córdoba Telera bread Breads from different bakeries of Córdoba were subject to a sensorial analysis by the UCO analytical panel (GrupoSens AGR020) according to the procedure in the sensory profile (ISO 13299:2003). 24 sensory descriptors were used: 5 of appearance (colour intensity of the crust, colour intensity, tone, elasticity and sponginess of the crumb); 10 descriptors for the aroma/flavour (overall intensity; toasted; floury; cereal; salty; milky; malt; hay; earthy and rancid); 4 descriptors for the basic tastes (sweet, sour, salty, and bitter) and 5 for the texture (firm, crisp, elastic, spongy and moist). The results of sensory analysis show that there are large differences between breads for all the sensory attributes. A few showed a colour intensity of a dark crust while others were whitish; some had an elastic, spongy crumb structure while others were stickier; the olfactory notes of the crusts ranged from toasted while others had more floury, yeasty notes: on the mouth, most crumbs were mainly insipid with a sticky texture. This is because the sensory properties of the bread depend on the type of flour used, the breadmaking process and the baking method used ■






Bread 93


TIMOTEO GUTIÉRREZ Jeringuilla or Segadores gazpacho. INGREDIENTS Cucumber/tomato/bread/garlic/paprika/oil/vinegar / salt / water

METHOD Put oil in a bowl and crush garlic and paprika well with a spoon to give oil flavour. Add water, vinegar and salt to taste. Add the cucumber, tomato and bread cut into small pieces.

SERVING SUGGESTION Serve in a bowl or recipient for gazpacho .

DANIEL CORTÉS Telera bread & butter pudding. INGREDIENTS 80 gr. de pan de telera seca / Mantequilla / 30 ml. de leche entera / 30 ml. de nata / Canela molida / Nuez moscada / 5 Pasas sultanas sin hueso / 1 orejón / 1 yema de huevo ecológico / 250 ml. de crème anglaise / 1 haba tonka de la Guayana francesa / 1 tarro de gelatina ecológica de Fino Bodegas Robles

METHOD For Telera bread & butter pudding: cut a slice of Telera bread - butter and set aside. Mix the milk, cream, cinnamon, nutmeg and egg yolk. Soak the bread in the mixture together with the sultanas and the dried apricot. Butter a glass jar and fill to just over three quarters. Bake at 140ºC with 5 percent of moisture for 14 - 20 minutes. For the Tonka and Fino Bodegas Robles Organic Gelatine Ice Cream: grate the Tonka bean in the crème anglaise. Add the jar of Fino Bodegas Robles organic gelatine and freeze in a Pacojet. SERVING SUGGESTION Serve the bread & butter pudding warm. Sprinkle pistachios on top and finish with a quenelle of Tonka and Fino gelatine ice cream.



MANUEL BORDALLO Garlic and ‘de la Vera’ paprika soup. INGREDIENTS 12 slices of toasted Telera bread / 6 cloves of Montalbán garlic /1 cup extra virgin olive oil / 100 gr. Valle de Los Pedroches chopped ham / 1 teaspoon paprika ‘De La Vera’ / 1 litre stock/ salt / eggs

METHOD Lightly fry the garlic. Add the ham, set aside to cool a little, and then add the paprika. Heat again and before it begins to fry, add boiling stock so the paprika does not get bitter. Add the toasted bread and cook for 20 minutes. Poach one egg per person or blend into mixture. Serve very hot with perhaps a glass of Fino Peseta or other Fino Montilla-Moriles wine.


Iberian pork or beef cheek with boletus mushrooms and angelica. INGREDIENTS 1 Iberian pork or beef cheek, vegetable mirepoix, tomato sauce, Amontillado and Merlot wines, chicken stock, boletus or seasonal mushrooms, salt and pepper. Crushed ingredients: Telera bread, pine nuts, tomatoes and basil. Spices: cumin, smoked paprika, ginger, cinnamon and angelica.

METHOD Brush cheek with extra virgin olive oil and put aside. In the same oil, sauté the mirepoix, add the tomato sauce and drizzle with the wines. Let it evaporate, add the stock and spices. Cook until tender. Remove ingredients and add the crushed mixture to the juices. Crush, strain and reduce to required thickness. Season. Sauté the mushrooms and boletus mushrooms with salt and shichimi.

SERVING SUGGESTION Place cheek on a dish, cover with sauce and garnish with mushrooms and herbs.



Salt has been a symbol of wealth throughout our history and was used as a purifying agent in purification rituals, as a food conserver, also as a means of avoiding dehydration and the consequent loss of vital forces







Salt can be extracted from both the sea and from land.

alt is a life giver, seasoning, flavour enhancer and conserving agent. The history of salt is closely linked to human survival. It is a mineral - sodium chloride, Cl Na - and is not only a conserving agent, but essential to ensure proper bodily functions. Together with water it may be one of the few essential elements besides, of course, food. It is indispensable for human diets, since without salt we become dehydrated and lose the essential fluid that keeps us alive. But salt in excess is dangerous. It needs to be combined with potassium to balance the fluids in the body - hence its importance in rural area, since food of plant origin contains a large amount of potassium which needs balancing with salt.

Warm seas, because of quicker evaporation have a higher concentration of salt than in cold seas. Continental Europe has numerous salt mines, such as those found in the Camargue, Guérande (France), the Austrian Alps, the Carpathians, Sicily (Trapani), and many other important sites. Because of the presence of this mineral, many prehistoric settlements grew up around it, like the salt mines of Hallstatt1 in Austria where there was a thriving culture in the Bronze Age. In Andalusia and on the east coast of Spain, there are large areas of salt flats along the coast and inland, together with many brackish streams and wells which have been in use for thousands of years.

Salt has been a symbol of wealth throughout our history and was used as a purifier in purification rituals, as a food conserver and as a means of avoiding dehydration and the loss of vital forces. Salt water is the symbol of entry to the Catholic Church for those who aspire to join, and is essential, therefore, in baptisms. Salt was also used in the same symbolic way by the Romans who sprinkled it on newborn babies. In pagan times, sacrificial victims were also sprinkled with salt, while a handful of it was thrown on fires to destroy evil spirits; even today, it is used in exorcisms. Years ago, Mediterranean hosts offered bread and salt, symbols of hospitality that none refused, and today, accidentally spilling salt is said to be unlucky.

The Romans attributed many properties to salt, especially sea salt, which they considered a gift from the gods of the ocean. Strabo2 mentions Turdetani salt extracted from mines and brackish rivers - vital for the fish salting industry which was so important in Andalusia at those times. A ‘salary’ was the ration of salt given per day to a legionary soldier, and was an exact amount. The salary could also be received in coins, although the origin of the word refers to an amount of salt.

Salt has been with us since the Neolithic Period, when man discovered its properties and how useful it was to conserve and season food. Thus, it is deep-rooted in religions and customs, essential for the symbiology necessary for health and serves as a food enhancer, Moreover, the Egyptians used salt not only for seasoning, but, when mixed with natron, as an essential element in the mummification process.

1 Toussaint-Samat, M., 1994, 461. 2 Strabo., Geog., III, 2, 6.



Salt water is the symbol of entry to the Catholic Church for those who aspire to join, and is essential, therefore, in baptisms. In the same symbolic way, salt was also used by the Romans who sprinkled it on new-born babies. In pagan times, sacrificial victims were also sprinkled with salt, while a handful of salt was thrown on fires to destroy evil spirits.

In Rome, commerce was overseen by guilds, and one of the

The use of salt has been continuous from Neolithic times to

largest of these was dedicated to salt. The salt trade thrived

the Middle Ages - and from Europe it spread throughout the

- and the well-organised salt guild controlled a very lucrative

expanding world. During the Middle Ages salt taxes played

market. The workers were slaves3 and the work method

an important part in the creation of medieval monarchies -

has been the same for centuries, since Rutilius Namatianus

and in sparking the French Revolution6.

described the salt mines in Volterra, Italy: the sea-water, running down side channels (fossae), fill the ponds (lacus). But after Sirius has been with his blazing fires, when the grass turns pale, when the land is parched, the water is cut off by barriers (cataractae). The sea stops flowing and the still waters solidify on the heated land under the persistent influence of the crust. During the Roman period, there was a flourishing trade in salt and the salt mining industry was well-developed. Salt was essential to preserve food, make salted pork, hams and other cold preserved meats, and was used regularly in cooking. It was placed on dining tables to allow people to season their food as they liked. It was also mixed with herbs and spices for flavouring - the sauce known as muria in Latin, or halmyris in Greek, was made by blending salt, thyme, cumin and vinegar (oxalme). Other sauces that contained large amounts of salt and a basic part of the diet were garum and liquamen. They were also used as seasonings, and the

Salt cellar belonging to Francis I

poet Martial - who lived in Rome but was from Bilbilis in Calatayud - liked to season his eggs with a little garum4. In the Greek world, sharing salt meant sharing food and establishing friendship and mutual obligation5 something which still holds true today.Â

3 Ponsich,M., 1988, 46.

The Romans, for their part, worked to extract salt from the

5 Dalby, A., 290-91.

4 Mart., Sat., 13, 40.

Dead Sea, and it was there Jesus told his disciples: Be the

6 A high tax was levied on salt, so making it unaffordable for many. The tax was abolished, not without problems, at a meeting of the States-General in 1789.

salt of the earth.



In ancient and medieval times the refined salt that we use

the early imperialist period. The problem was identical:

today would have been unrecognisable. In those days,

there was very little gold in Europe and this led to voyages

mineral salt was shaped like large, white crystals and sea

of discovery which culminated in the discovery of America.

salt like grey flakes. The refining wasn’t always done before

The population increased and salt was needed for the

being put on sale. The famous salt cellar designed by Cellini

food industry. In 1570, after the Spanish hegemony these

and belonging to Francis 1, King of France, is one of the

countries began to unite, and the food making industry of

few salt cellars remaining from that era. The first French

staple products like salted butter, herring and cheeses was a

cookery book, Le Viandier de Paris, describes a method to

key factor to building an economy - and which also needed

refine salt by boiling it with water and straining it through

salt. In 1609, the Dutch eventually signed a peace treaty

a piece of cheesecloth7. During this period, the extraction

with Spain because they desperately needed8 Spanish salt.

and commercialisation of salt - precious and difficult to find

In 1774, the Swedish physicist Scheele discovered chlorine,

- required protection by the authorities, who also imposed

giving rise to the first investigations into this and other

taxes and made salt prohibitively expensive for most.

minerals. Soon after this, other researchers started to work

Centuries before, in AD 301, Diocletian’s Edict on Maximum

with a variety of chemical substances, eventually coming up

Prices documented the maximum prices of more than a

with a method for salt extraction from other substances.

thousand products, including those related to salt used as

The exhaustive investigative work by other researchers and

a condiment or mixed with other ingredients. In 715, the

the invention by Nicolás Appert of the canning process and

first medieval document on salt legislation contains an

pasteurisation of foods - also requiring large quantities of

edict issued by Liutprando, a Lombardy king, in which both

salt - boosted the creation of a food industry that was to

consumers and sellers were taxed on their use of salt.

become enormous. In 1830, and still using large quantities

Salt was part of the staple diet in the Middle Ages. Salted

of salt, the first tinned sardines were produced in France.

foods could be kept for a relatively long time and was a wellknown method of food conservation in most of the known world, from the Near East to Scandinavia. Large Norwegian

Salt was part of the staple diet in the Middle

cod would soon start to travel the world covered in salt, a beneficial mineral which allowed long journeys across the

Ages. Salted foods could be kept for a

continent. This provided fish for inland areas. Kept this way,

relatively long time and was a well-known

salted fish lasted for months – and on its journey through

method of food conservation in most of

Europe this had a great influence on traditional cuisine, above all in Spain.

the known world, from the Near East to

The market for salt in east Africa in the early Middle Ages


was similar to the medieval trans -Saharan gold trade, but trading was in salt not gold which was scarce in this region. When Ibn Battuta crossed the Sahara in 1352, his journey took him from a mine in Tagaza in the Niger valley along the salt trail. The famous traveller describes how the whole settlement was built from blocks of salt which housed the tribal chief’s slaves. These salt mines were exploited by Arabs - whose black slaves worked them and transported the salt. In the 17th century, while the salt trade was taking place in a world almost unknown to Europe, the salting industry of

7 Toussaint-Samat, M., 1994, 465-66.

northern Europe, especially in the Low Countries, influenced

8 Fernández-Armesto, 2004, 230-233.



At the beginning of the 19th century, the uses for salt

Ever since Roman times, when the Via Salaria created salt

multiplied - especially in foods - and it is still used for

routes stretching from the Adriatic to the capital city, salt has

preserves and seasoning today.

accompanied man - and man has enhanced its importance

Centuries later, salt played an important, though involuntary,

through our need for it. Vital as a preservative, essential as

part in Gandhi’s life and movement. In 1930, during the

a food, necessary for horses and livestock, we cannot deny

final years of British rule, the Indian National Congress

that today salt prices no longer start revolutions but instead

party organised a massive peaceful demonstration called

cause problems due to its abundance, its consumption in

the ‘Salt March’. Gandhi walked with his followers to the

excess and contribution to modern illnesses such as high

coast to protest against the high taxes the British imposed

blood pressure. It’s hard to imagine bread without salt, or

on salt. Their aim was to produce salt themselves in defiance

a table without a salt shaker, nor gastronomy without cold

of the English law which prohibited it. Nehru confessed

meats or salted fish. Today salt continues to form part of our

years later that: We knew very little about it, so we made

history and daily diet, cheaper than ever and in unimaginable

leaflets giving instructions and collected pots and pans to

varieties and colours. Without doubt, a new era in the use of

produce and transport it. We eventually managed to obtain

salt on our tables has begun ■

a small amount of inferior quality salt - which made us feel triumphant. It was then auctioned at the price of a luxury item.

Salt played an important, though involuntary,

In communist China, some of the territories to the south of the Yangtze River had to be evacuated in 1936 because the

part in Gandhi’s life and movement. In 1930,

Nanking government imposed an eight-year salt blockade.

during the final years of British rule, the Indian

In the 1970s, during Idi Amin’s reign in Uganda, the appearance of salt in the markets of Kampala was enough

National Congress party organised a massive

to start demonstrations. Events such as these have multiplied

peaceful demonstration called the ‘Salt

and repeated themselves throughout history9 (Tannahill, R,

March’. Gandhi walked with his followers to

1998, 1799) illustrating how the need for salt can provoke conflict and be used both as a political weapon - and to hold

the coast to protest against the high taxes

on to power.

the British imposed on salt.

BIBLIOGRAFÍA Brothwell, D., & P., Food in Antiquity, Baltimore, 1996. Clini, C., L´alimentazione nella storia, Padova, 1985. Dalby, A., Food in the Ancient World, Cornwall, 2003. Fernández-Armesto, F., Historia de la comida, Barcelona, 2004. Flandrin, J.L., “Per una storia del gusto”, pres. de Ferniot., J., Le Goff, J., La cucina e la tavola, Bari, 1987, 11-25. Ponsich, M., El aceite de oliva y las salazones de pescado, Madrid, 1988. Tannahill, R., Food in History, New York, 1988. Toussaint-Samat, M., History of Food, Cornwall, 1994. Villegas, A., Gastronomía Romana y Dieta Mediterránea, Córdoba, 2001.

9 Tannahill, R., 1988, 179.



ARCHEOLOGY OF SALT (from inland salt flats) Salt is the sister of the mother in gazpachos, salads, posca and cold garlic or almond soups and the grandmother in salmorejo from Córdoba. ALEJANDRO IBÁÑEZ CASTRO Culinary archaeologist.


nland salt flats are associated with sediments from the

This geological structure explains the distribution of salt flats

Late Triassic (230–205 million years ago) and are high

in Andalusia, their absence in Huelva and their distribution

in chlorides and sulphates. Less frequently, they date

to the south of the Guadalquivir, where the old sea basin

back also to more modern evaporated sediment from the

retained its beneficial substrata. In this great swathe of land,

Neogene period (20–2 million years ago). At that time, the

much mention was made of lakes, wells, saltwater springs

western half of the Iberian Peninsula was covered by the

and especially ‘salty’ rivers like our Guadajoz, or Salsum

Tethys Sea which went through periods of evaporation and

Flumen for the Romans. Around these salt flats, creatures

replenishment, eventually creating a thick salt layer on the

tolerant to the high concentrations of ions appeared,

old sea basin. Tectonic movements fragmented the layer

although human interference had certainly altered and

of salt, which was again covered in a fresh layer of salt.

weakened these ions.

Below the salts, the water tables were made up of layers of

From an analysis of the Andalusian inland salt flats, we

impervious loam and gypsum. Where the salt layers were

observed that the further down the Guadalquivir valley

weak, they sank below ground and natural saltwater springs

we went the more salt flats we found, with Cádiz having


lowest amount and Jaén the highest. The survival of salt mines until today can be explained, at least in part, by geographical isolation, which created a demand for local salt to give to livestock or to conserve the meat after a pig slaughter, or for the brine to dress olives. Some of these salt mines were extremely lucrative, giving rise to important salt mining complexes such as the Duernas salt mines in Córdoba - of great archaeological, architectonic and ethnologic interest. They cover 11.5 hectares and were the biggest in the province. Duernas has been mentioned in written sources since the 13th century, shortly after the Christian conquest. In 1491, it went to the House of Aguilar and then passed into the hands of the Dukes of Medinaceli. In the 18th century the dukes built the large complex, today almost in ruins, and depicted in L. Feduchi’s book Itinarios de Arquitectura Popular Española.

Tethys Sea



Duernas - salt storage room

Duernas - ponds made of opus signinum under the present structures The complex is arranged around a large courtyard and

Salt is also central to one of the most emblematic of Spanish

consists of a large two-storey main building, attached to

products, cured ham. Cato recommended putting sausages,

this a small chapel with a baroque façade and bell tower,

cheese and meats or fish which had been cured, pickled or

the foreman’s lodgings, stables, a set of annexes, servants’

smoked, between two layers of salt. Salt’s ability to control

quarters and, in front of this sprawling complex, a large

fermentation also makes it an indispensable ingredient in

warehouse. The brine rises from a well, from where it flows

pasta and flour making as well bread and pastries. Salted

to a heater and then to a stone evaporation area, today in

foods were known generically as ‘salgama’ or ‘salsamenta’,

disuse due to its replacement with modern materials.

which is where the word ‘salsa’ comes from. The Romans

For the salt mining heritage to revive itself and recover its

also taught us to save salt in liquid form in various types

previous status it should be completely protected.

of brines. Many of these liquids with a high salt content

The importance of salt

were used, above all, to preserve food and could be used

It is a proven fact that without enough salt man would

when needed. Recent findings show that in Roman kitchens

not have been able to develop a mixed diet. It is the

ground salt and pepper were not used, instead they were

oldest condiment known, and its importance for life

dissolved in water because it was believed that using it in

is such that in its different stages it has marked the

liquid form improved flavour by disseminating the condiment

development of history. Throughout the ages, salt has had great influence on politics, the economy and

more evenly. Everything seems to indicate that liquid salt, so

cooking, and has helped to shape our culture.

fashionable today, is not a recent invention. Another Roman

Such is the importance of salt in our history that it is one

custom was to sometimes use sodium carbonate, or natrum,

of the main reasons why man went from being a hunter-

instead of salt - either by choice or, when salt was scarce,

gatherer to farmer. Salt meant that the leftover meat from

out of necessity.

hunting and fishing could kept , rather than as before traded

Apicio claimed it gave a beautiful colour to green vegetables

for other goods a community needed – and completing

during cooking and was also good for some lentil stews,

their diets, as explained below.

chestnuts and other products.

Salt is the oldest and most-used additive in food, and one of

Pliny spoke at length about nitre, while Dioscorides, Galen

the main pillars of cooking in almost any culture.

and Isidore of Seville said that, in addition to salting food, it

By means of taste buds located on the tongue, we can detect saltiness, one of the basic tastes, with the added

soothed intestinal pains and cured flatulence if mixed with

advantage that it is able to enhance the flavour of all foods.

cumin and drunk with sugared water or grape syrup.



The Romans’ salt intake was high, apparently excessive, although there are no studies of ancient diseases which conclude that what today seems obvious, judging by the way that in rich countries we try to control consumption for health reasons. "Tejas Colorás", Baena. Therapeutic powers Dioscorides, author of the De Materia Medica pharmacopeia in continual use until the Renaissance, highlighted the major medicinal virtues of salt - although its properties had been discovered many thousands of years earlier. For Pliny, Andalusian salt was superior (N. H. XXXI, 80), and useful against inflammation and eye infections (N. H. XXXI, 86). According to Columella of Cádiz, salt was good for scars, lameness, scabies and mumps, (Columella’s De Re Rusticar VI, 12.1 - 13.1 - 32 - 33, VII, 10.3), as well as an excellent remedy for haemorrhoids and assumed to a purify because of the burning sensation felt when applied to wounds, taken as proof of its power to act on live bodies (Verse 64, 1105). Adding different ingredients to salt made it effective against bites and stings from scorpions, centipedes, wasps and even crocodile bites. Surprisingly, salt mixed with raisins or cow fat cured boils and, what is even more surprising, orchitis. Alone or mixed, salt blended with oil was a remedy for fatigue. Finally, the Bible mentions the custom of rubbing new born babies with salt (Ez. 16.4), and associates it with the notion of purity.

Since the foods we eat naturally contain certain quantities of salt, it begs the question why we add more salt in cooking or on dishes and whether we do it more out of habit than a physiological necessity. This question was solved at the end of the 19th century, when it was shown that salt was not necessary if the diet was meat-based, but if the diet was vegetablebased or a mix of meat and vegetables, then it was. Ancient indigenous hunter-gatherers already knew this, and with diets made up mostly of meat, milk and cheese, they had no need for salt. However, farming communities who began to settle in the land, ate mainly fruit and vegetables, and had to add much-needed salt to their food as a vital necessity and which, in itself, justified bygone struggles. Without salt we would not have been able to evolve toward a sedentary life and acquire culture, and as Pliny the Elder, referring to salt’s preserving properties, said, ‘Even the gods knew that civilisation was not possible without salt’. Horacio considered salt a food in itself and the Romans often ate it alone with bread, although as a delicacy, they sometimes

In veterinary medicine, Andalusian salt was highly regarded, and in the 1st century AD both Pliny (N H XXX, 100) and Columella (De Re Rusticar VI, 17, 39) wrote that it was used for eye diseases in horses and cattle, as well as in shearing and tanning (Columella’s De Re Rusticar VII, 4-8). In the 5th century AD, veterinary treatises such as the Corpus Hippiatricorum graecorum or Digesta artis mulomedicinae by Flavio Vegetio Renato, contain remedies created by Greek vets made with Andalusian salt. Regarding its industrial use, Andalusian salt was said to have the properties necessary to obtain the colour purple, so favoured by Roman patricians (Pliny, N. H. IX, 1).

put olive oil on the bread. The Romans’ salt intake was high, apparently excessive, although there are no studies of ancient diseases which conclude that what today seems obvious, judging by the way that rich countries try to control consumption for health reasons. According to the methodical Cato (De Agricultura, 58, 14) the annual ration of salt for a slave was a measure called a modio (8.75 l.), and more than double the sodium chloride a normal organism needed according to dieticians and bromotologists, although, perhaps considering how poor a slaves diet probably was, the salt may have been beneficial.



As a result of the reaction of the unstable metal, sodium and the poisonous gas, chlorine, we get salt - something we have needed for millennia to survive. Salt is essential for growth, reproduction and correct motor functions because sodium acts in the transmission of nerve impulses. It also aids the absorption of nutrients such as glucose - and maintaining adequate levels of these nutrients is vital for good health.

Conserving properties Since ancient times, salt has been used to preserve foods of mainly animal origin, although vegetables were also salted to prevent them from rotting. Besides conserving foods, salt also helped during the ripening or curing processes. Once cured, food could be stored in times of plenty and used when scarce. Perishable foods could be transported to inland places - foods like fish, which Christianity had made popular as the traditional food for Lent. In fact, fish was part of people’s staple diet for 150 days of the year. The curing of fish or meat was a method passed on by Phoenicians and Greeks to the Romans, who began to use this method for keeping oil, olives and cheeses, and who even added it to wine to make it more palatable. This tradition continued during the Muslim domination of Andalusia, where the famous Malaga anchova was produced and widely consumed in the

Western Mediterranean. This was an industry which, like tanning, needed large amounts of salt from the salt mines of the inland Nazari Kingdom, spread throughout the valleys in the Baetic system in Andalusia. Indeed, there is a wealth of data on salt consumption and its use in the al-Andalus region found in both agronomic and culinary treatises, like the hisbah which lays out the control of the markets at that time. In the Middle Ages, salted fish became an important source of protein for inland populations. The same process was applied to the meat either from domestic stock or from hunting, and which was first salted then cured for later consumption.

In the Modern and Contemporary Period, meat curing first took place in the US in New England, where not only beef and pork was salted, but also deer and even bear. The origin of Uncle Sam comes from the fact that during the 1812 war, barrels of cured meat sold by Sam Pynchon to the army had US stamped on the side. Eventually, US began to stand for ‘Uncle Sam’s meat’. The letters ‘US’ were stamped on all army supplies, and finally Uncle Sam became a synonym for the government of the United States itself.



In the early Christian times, salt was used during funeral rites as it was thought to prevent a corpse from swelling during the wake and guard the body from evil spirits.

Salt acts as a preservative for food by delaying microbial

long that the rite of the salt blessing and putting a pinch of



salt in the child’s mouth during the baptism did not disappear






Gradually after 1811 and the invention of

until the Rite of Baptism for Children was published on May

airtight food preservation by Parisian confectioner and chef

15 1969, after the Second Vatican Council. This salt ritual

Nicolas Appert, salt was no longer needed for one of its most

was one of the highlights of the baptism and was considered

important traditional uses, conservation. Another enemy of

to predict the future - if the child cried it was a bad omen

the conserving properties of salt was refrigeration.

and if, by a stroke of luck, the baby accepted and savoured

Salt in beliefs and customs

the salt, it was thought to reinforce the virtues of the soul,


intelligence and moral values.

Salt is associated with gods and devils, with a state of grace

During early Christianity there is evidence of salt offerings

or misfortune. It is widely believed that throwing a pinch

in funeral rituals as a preventive measure, as it stopped

of salt over the left shoulder brings good fortune and gives

a corpse from swelling during the wake and helped to

protection against the devil. The idea that spilling salt is a

expulse evil from a dead body. The Witches’ Sabbath is the

bad omen has its roots in Christianity, since Judas Iscariot

only religious ritual in which salt was prohibited. This was

spilled salt during the Last Supper shortly before he betrayed

because the devil was terrified of salt since it was a symbol of

Jesus. In fact, the origins of this type of superstition are

purity and eternity as it never rots or deteriorates. During the

more mundane: until recently salt was expensive, so spilling

Modern Period, not eating salt was considered as irrefutable

it really was a sign of bad luck as it meant wasting a precious

evidence that someone was a witch, while the custom of


sprinkling salt around to free us from witches was the most

In pagan rites salt constitutes a tax for the gods, but it is

widely-used magic formula until the 20th century.

also important in Christianity liturgy. In the Bible, when Saint Matthew talks about the mission God had entrusted to the disciples, he says, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It

Salt is associated with gods and devils and

is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and

with a state of grace or misfortune. It is

to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matthew, 5, 13), - a

widely believed that throwing a pinch of salt

sentiment other evangelists shared. The Bible also mentions rubbing salt on newborn babies (Ez.16, 4), since salt was

over the left shoulder brings good fortune

linked with the notion of purity. This belief was held for so

and gives protection against the devil.



Himalayan salt “Oil, wine and salt: royal commodities”: the state monopoly Because salt was so essential, the state sought control of its production and distribution - above all because salt flats were relatively scarce and salt consumption was universal. There is no evidence that monopolies were set up in the pre-Roman era, but Latin sources indicate that from 204 BC the Romans, like the Egyptians who used salt in the mummification process, imposed a vectigal; a tax on salt which regulated its maximum sale price, in other words, a state monopoly on the salt mine. Distribution was controlled by treasury salt operators, the salinatores aerarii.


government controlled prices and distribution by keeping all the salt in its warehouses or horrea, thus creating a state monopoly of salt which lasted until long after the death of Constantine in AD 337. Later, salt taxes, or gabelles, levied by medieval European states on salt, helped to greatly swell government coffers. Regulations to control profits from the salt tax levied by King Alfonso X and his great-grandson Alfonso XI, were extended in 1484 by the Catholic Kings, who decreed death by bow and arrow to all salt fraudsters. In fact, this measure was never imposed, and was replaced by penalties which ranged

Salted foods were known generically as ‘sal-

from the confiscation of the criminal’s salt, beasts or carts,

gama’ or ‘salsamenta’, which is where the

to a fine of two thousand ducats and six years’ in prison in

word ‘salsa’ comes from.

Africa for noblemen. Commoners got six years in the galleys and two hundred lashes.



The kings of the early Modern Period tightly controlled salt,

and cumbersome. A court decree of 1820 took the first step

created a monopoly and used the taxes it generated as a

towards the demonopolising of salt, and although it did not

fundamental source of income. Salt mine owners began

free up the salt industry, many of the obstacles that hampered

to produce salt for the Crown and were made to pay an

trade were addressed. Indeed, salt manufacturing continued

annual tithe for the right to use them. In 1564, Philip II set

to be under state control since it was thought that private

up a salt monopoly absorbing all the kingdom’s salt mines,

control may not have been able to satisfy consumer needs.

except for Andalusia which he would incorporate some time

Salt prices were set so high, the enemy of demonopolisation,

later. His aim was to ensure salt supplies for the Castilian

that there was a sharp fall in income which led to the return

cities, boost the price of ‘white gold’ as it had been known

of the state monopoly on salt. In 1857, a new decree was

from the Middle Ages, and thus increase the funds in the

drawn up seeking to brutally suppress salt smuggling and

royal treasury. Under this monopoly, prices rose to six reales per fanego (bushel) throughout the kingdom. Eventually,

the demonopolisation of salt, freeing up its production and

this resulted in the emergence of clandestine salt mines,

sale - but it was neither passed nor applied. In fact, the

smuggling and the violent deaths of many royal guards in

treasury could not do without this lucrative and convenient

their fight against fraud.

source of funds and held on to it. Indeed, it is much like

The harsh penalties decreed by the Catholic Kings mitigated

today’s situation in which governments set high taxes on fuel

with time, and in the 18th century Philip V began a slow

or tobacco. Salt production and sale would not be freed up

process of remedying a system that was both unreasonable

in Spain until 1869.

In 1564, Philip II set up a salt monopoly absorbing all the kingdom’s salt mines, except for Andalusia which he would incorporate some time later. His aim was to ensure salt supplies for the Castilian cities, boost the price of ‘white gold’ as it had been known from the Middle Ages, and thus increase the funds in the royal treasury.



Livestock- salt flat routes There is a strong link between salt and livestock, as salt is vital

Evidently there are strong connections between some of

for animals to replace the sodium chloride lost in sweat and

Córdoba’s salt mines, its villages and both short and long

urine. In dairy farming, salt is needed to replenish losses from

cattle drive trails. The cattle trails were known as salt roads,

milking (1 litre of cow’s milk contains 2.5 g. of salt). It also

which, in addition to connecting pastures or places where

encourages growth and overall productivity of herbivores

livestock were wintered, also provided builders in the area

that consume very little salt in their food. Additionally, salt can be used as a conserving agent by salting fodder, thus

with employment making barns and shelters for animals,

preventing fermentation and putrefaction while helping it

as well as creating, for each salt mine, sales points in the

retain nutritional and organoleptic qualities such as colour,

cities and nearby villages. The mines had their own territorial

texture and taste. Nowadays, modern feeds provide the

zone, called partida, where only consumption of salt from a

salt needed by livestock kept indoors, but for centuries

particular salt flat was allowed.

farm animals roamed free and would get a natural supply, although at certain times they would have been kept in fenced off areas to prevent them entering cultivated land. As a result, salt mine exploitations had a primordial role in the management of the livestock economy. However, further research needs to be done to learn more about the relationship between livestock and salt, as well as other aspects of the archaeology of salt, despite some progress with regard to prehistoric times and, to a lesser extent, to the medieval period.

In the Modern and Contemporary Period, meat curing in the US first took place in New England, where not only beef and pork was salted, but also deer and even bear. The origin of Uncle Sam comes from the fact that during the 1812 war, barrels of cured meat sold by Sam Pynchon to the army had US stamped on the side. Eventually, US began to stand for ‘Uncle Sam’s meat’. The letters ‘US’ were stamped on all army supplies, and finally Uncle Sam became synonymous with the government of the United States itself.



Archaeological studies

BIBLIOGRAPHY ARENAS ESTEBAN, J. y MARTÍNEZ NARANJO, J. (1999): “La explotación de la sal durante la Edad del Hierro en el Sistema Ibérico”, en Burillo, F. (dir.): IV Simposium sobre los Celtíberos. Economía. Institución Fernando el Católico, Zaragoza.

The modernisation of our way of life and easy access to the majority of food products is undervaluing the importance of many of them - like salt - a product that satisfies a

BLÁZQUEZ MARTÍNEZ, J. M. (1970) : “Fuentes literarias griegas y romanas referentes a las explotaciones mineras de la Hispania romana”, VI Congreso Internacional de Minería: La Minería Hispana e Iberoamericana. Contribución a su investigación histórica. Estudios – Fuentes –Bibliografía, León, vol. 1, pp. 117 - 150.

physiological need for living beings and whose diversity of uses made it a basic necessity in the pre-industrial age. With technological advances, salt extraction has become

CARRASCO VAYÁ, J. F. – HUESO KORTEKASS, K. (2008): Los paisajes ibéricos de la sal. 1 Las salinas de interior, Asociación Amigos de la Sal, J. Sánchez de Guadarrama, S. L., Guadalajara.

cheap and, since it is almost universally accessible, the WHO recommends salt as a cheap way to provide people with

ESCACENA CARRASCO, J. L. (1994) - Acerca de la producción de sal en el Neolítico andaluz. In Arqueología en el Entorno del Bajo Guadiana. Huelva, p. 91-118.

iodine, effective in the prevention of some diseases. This has contributed to the fact that, as far as historical

FATÁS, G. (2002): “Agua, sal, pan, vino y aceite en Roma”. Institución “Fernando El Católico”, separata de los Cuadernos de Aragón, Excma. Diputación de Zaragoza, pp. 179 – 213.

studies go, salt has fallen into oblivion and is virtually ignored at archaeological sites. Because salt is considered a consumer

GARCÍA VARGAS, E. y MARTÍNEZ MAGANTO, J. (2006): “La sal en la Bética romana. Algunas notas sobre su producción y comercio”, Habis 37, pp. 253 – 274.

item, it has disappeared from archaeological studies and researchers tend to ignore this substance in their work. Only

GOULETQUER, P. L. (1970): “Les briquetages armoricains. Technologie protohistorique du sel en Armorique”, Travaux du Laboratoire de Rennes, Rennes.

the information revealed in the so-called briquetages in the 18th century, or the spectacular finds of Hallstatt in the mid-

MARTÍNEZ MAGANTO, J. (2004): “La sal en la Antigüedad: aproximación a las técnicas de explotación y comercialización de los salsamenta”, Historia de la sal, Cartagena.

1990s, awakened interest in salt as a factor to consider in the development of prehistoric societies. Until the second

QUESADA QUESADA, T. (1995): «Las salinas de interior de Andalucía oriental: ensayo de tipología». Actas del II Coloquio de Historia y medio físico. Agricultura y regadío en al-Andalus. Síntesis y problemas. Granada, pp. 317 – 333.

half of the last century there is little evidence for progress in the archaeology of salt, which, when it did emerge, was an essentially Franco-German venture seconded by British

TERÁN MANRIQUE, J. (2011): “La producción de sal en la prehistoria de la Península Ibérica: estado de la cuestión”, Arqueología y Territorio 8, pp. 71 – 84.

archaeologists. Although salt production has been generically classified

TESSIER, M. (1992): “Donnes nouvelles sur les briquetages du Pays-de-Retz”, en Actes du Colloque Intemational du sel. Salies-de-Béarn, pp. 158-165.

within the industrial sector, the specific characteristics of

VALIENTE CÁNOVAS, S. y AYARZAGÜENA SANZ, M. (2005): “Las cerámicas a mano utilizadas en la producción de sal en las salinas de Espartinas (Ciempozuelos, Madrid)”, en O. Puche y M. Ayarzagüena (eds): Minería y metalurgia históricas en el sudoeste europeo, SEHA, Madrid, pp. 61-70.

production in terms of its dependency on the environment, the need for ploughing and preparation of the terrain together with the techniques employed, mean it should

VALLE BERMEJO, J. (1996): “La minería en Al – Andalus”, Actas I Jornadas sobre minería y tecnología en la Edad Media Peninsular, Madrid, pp. 56 – 64.

belong in the agricultural sector ■

Of all the ways man has invented to extract salt, in Europe there is one that can be said to be exclusive to the Iberian Peninsula: the inland salt mines. According to Strabo, Spain produced the best salt, extracted from the hundreds of inland salt mines in the east which was bathed by the Thetys Sea.





alt is a cheap, everyday condiment, a pleasure for

Of the known atomic types, 26 are recognized as essential

the palate and an historic element of trade and

for man. Five of them (C, H, N, O and S) are common

barter; but it is also a source of inorganic nutrients

constituents of organic matter, and indispensable for health.

and whose importance for man and animals has led to the

Each mineral needs to be in a specific concentration for

settlement of communities around it. Salt allowed us to

organisms and the tolerance limits also vary for each of them.

develop primitive forms of food preservation and experiment

If these minerals are below the tolerance limits, the typical

with its use in cooking.

symptoms of deficiency start to show, while an excess may

This same salt, once so coveted, has together with many

give rise to another series of dysfunctions in the organism.

other foods, now become a danger to our health and the

We mostly get these inorganic elements from food. The

subject of study and persecution (not always in this order). However, salt is virtually irreplaceable in our diets unless

concentration of each of these elements depends on the

substituted for other seasonings which may be equally as

specific food, and other factors such as variations in the raw


product, preparation process and even other foods eaten at the same time.

Concept and classification of the inorganic elements Before we go further into the world of salt and its components, we should put salt in the context of inorganic components. It is hard to classify the inorganic elements that foods contain, but from a health and nutritional point of view they can be classified into three groups: (a) elements which are toxic for the human organism even at low concentrations (lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, etc.)

This same salt, once so coveted, has, together

b) ‘harmless’ in concentrations typically found in foods,

with many other foods, now become a

and beneficial to man (calcium, magnesium, iron, cobalt, chromium, etc.)

danger to our health and the subject of study

c) elements that in low concentrations are beneficial (and

and persecution (not always in this order).

even indispensable) for man, but which in higher amounts,

However, salt is virtually irreplaceable in our

or in certain pathologies, can be harmful (boron, fluoride,

diets, unless substituted for other seasonings

manganese, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, sodium, copper,

which may be equally as harmful.

zinc, etc.).




Concept of Electrolytes Electrolytes are substances that when dissolved in a suitable

Iodine is not a major component of salt, but it is important,

solvent or when fused can move in an electrical field and

since it is found in very low concentrations in most foods and

conduct electricity due to their ions.

is necessary for our organism in small amounts. Iodized salt

This definition could be applied to most of the known ato-

and, to a lesser extent sea salt, are major sources of iodine

mic elements. Regarding nutrition, however, when we speak

in our diets.

of electrolytes we mean those ions that are dissolved in a lar-

Physiological functions

ger proportion in body fluids. We use the term ‘electrolyte’

A little more than a century ago, we began to discover the

to refer mainly to sodium, potassium and chloride.

benefits of iodine in our diets, although we had known since ancient times that burnt seaweed or sponges helped against



Physiological function

The only known function of this element is to serve as a

Chlorine is the main inorganic anion in extracellular fluids.

substrate in the biosynthesis of the thyroid hormones: tri-

It is essential for maintaining the osmotic pressure of fluid,

iodothyronine and tetraiodotironina (thyroxine). These hor-

electrolyte balance and as an essential component of gastric

mones increase oxygen consumption and basal metabolism.


The mechanism of its actions produces a greater heat loss

The normal chlorine concentration in plasma, is between 96

and a lower ATP synthesis in metabolic reactions, although

and 106 mEq/L, and is found mainly inside the cells of the

it may be an indirect mechanism to increase the activity of membranes that consume ATP. The result is an increase in

cerebrospinal fluid and gastrointestinal secretions.

the metabolic rate and a decrease in ATP.

Nutritional characteristics


Recommended chlorine intake

Dietary iodine (I2) is oxidized in the gastrointestinal tract and

Because the intake and the loss of chlorine in the body are

becomes iodide (I-), which is almost totally absorbed1. Most

parallel to those of sodium, the recommended intake for all

of the iodine is stored in the thyroid gland. It reverts back

ages and situations is the same as that of sodium, although

to I2 in this gland and then binds with the tyrosine residues

maximum intake amounts are not included.

of the thyroglobulin molecule to form T3 and T4 molecules,

Health impacts

which are then released into the bloodstream. The concen-

Chlorine deficiency

tration of these substances in the blood is regulated by the

Deficiencies in chlorine do not usually occur. Loss of chlorine

hypothalamus which acts on the pituitary gland. The latter

occurs parallel to that of sodium when sweating, suffering

regulates the thyroid through the action of the TSH hor-

from diarrhoea and/or vomiting, or from injuries or kidney

mone. The T3 and T4 in the blood go to the target organs where, after interacting with receptors in the target cells are

disease. A heavy loss of chlorine can result in hypochloremia

released as I- that can be reused again. It is mainly excreted

and metabolic alkalosis.

in urine.

Chlorine in excess Normally, the pathological processes from excess consump-

1 The use of iodized salt (potassium iodide) has proven to be an effective

tion of chlorine are not directly due to an over ingestion of

preventive measure against the action of I131 (radioactive) from Fukushima.

chlorine, but to the cation linked with it.

This salt completely absorbs iodine and therefore reduces the amount of radioactive materials in the diet.




Nutritional properties Iodine consumption varies considerably in different parts of

This is the most important nutritional components of salt

the world, but is set at approximately 500 µg/day in areas

and which we shall focus on most.

where thyroid goitres are not prevalent.

Physiological functions

Foods rich in iodine are those seasoned with iodized salt or

Within the extracellular fluid, the major cation is sodium and

sea salt and foods of marine origin, followed by vegetables,

it is also the primary regulator of extracellular fluid volume.

meats, dairy products and cereals and fruits. Although some

Of all the sodium found in the body (about 4 moles), half is

foods already contain salt, iodine is often added to foods,

found in extracellular fluid, about 1.5 moles in bones and

especially in the form of salt.

about 0.5 moles inside cells.

Recommended daily intake

The content of sodium in the body and in body fluids is con-


trolled by homeostatic mechanisms. The volume of extrace-

To prevent goitre, 50 - 75 µg/day is sufficient, although 150

llular fluid is usually determined by the sodium content.

µg/day is recommended as the minimum amount.

Sodium is important in the regulation of osmolarity, the

Infants and children

acid-base balance and the membrane potential of cells. The latter is related to a correct transmission of nerve impulses

A gradual increase is recommended from 80 µg/day in 1 to

and muscle relaxation. Is also related to the active transport

3 year olds up to adulthood.

through cell membranes, and can be expelled in exchange

Pregnant women and nursing mothers

for potassium to maintain a stable membrane potential. This

An increase of 25 µg/day is recommended for pregnant wo-

flow of sodium and potassium facilitates the transport of

men and 50 µg/day for breastfeeding women.

substances, either actively, or aided, and which enables, for

Health impacts

example, the absorption of nutrients in the intestines.

Iodine deficiency

Nutritional properties

A deficiency in I- leads to a reduction in the biosynthesis

Calculations for sodium requirements are based on estima-

of the thyroid hormones, which impacts by lowering basal

tes of the needs for growth and the necessary replacement

metabolism. A deficiency of T3 and T4 in the blood produces

of losses.

a more abundant secretion of TSH in the pituitary gland. This enormously boosts thyroid activity, to enable the uptake of iodine and the synthesis of T3 and T4. The result is hypertrophy or hyperplasia of the thyroid tissues (goitre or hypothyroidism). This is usually remedied in less serious cases by including more iodine in the diet, although in persistent cases may require an intake of thyroxine. The lack of iodine in mothers can lead to cretinism (mental retardation) in neonates. The UN considers this element essential for intellectual development. Iodine in excess The negative effects of the consumption of high amounts of iodine are unknown.



Sodium in the diet Common salt or table salt is composed of chlorine (Cl) and sodium (Na), which together form sodium chloride (NaCl). Foods and drinks that contain sodium chloride (39% of sodium in weight) are the primary source of sodium. Other salts, like sodium bicarbonate or monosodium glutamate, contribute less than a 10% of the total intake of sodium in our country, and may be higher in other countries where glutamate is used as a condiment. Water has a sodium content of less than 20 mg/L, contributing less than a 10% of total sodium intake. The sodium we consume comes from three sources: •

Natural sodium from foods (8% of the total consumption of sodium)

Added sodium: salt added during cooking and seasoning (20% of total salt consumption)

Added sodium in food processing: (72% of the total intake)

In view of this, diets high in sodium tend to be comprised of manufactured products, while low-sodium diets are based mainly on fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes. According to the ENIDE AECOSAN (2011) study, the main contributors of sodium in the diet are those reflected in Table 1:

Table 1 Main sources of sodium in the diet in Spain Food

Na (%)

Stock cubes, sauces, soups, snacks, condiments, seasonings and additives


Meat products and derivatives


Fish, molluscs, crustaceans and derivatives


Cereals and derivatives


Dairy products and derivatives


Legumes, seeds, nuts and derivatives


Eggs and derivatives


Vegetables and derivatives


Non-dairy drinks


Sugar, chocolate and derivatives


Fats and oils


Fruit and derivatives


Source: Encuesta Nacional de Ingesta Dietética (Spanish National Survey of Dietary Intake) (ENIDE)

Common salt or table salt is made up of chlorine (Cl) and sodium (Na), which together form sodium chloride (NaCl). Foods and drinks that contain sodium chloride (39% of sodium in weight) are the primary source of sodium. Other salts like sodium bicarbonate or monosodium glutamate contribute less than a 10% of the total intake of sodium in our country, and may be higher in other countries where glutamate is used as a condiment. Water has a sodium content of less than 20 mg/L, contributing less than a 10% of total sodium intake.



However, The White Book on Nutrition in Spain says the

Nutritional recommendations

food which contributes most sodium (14.2% of total in-


take) is bread, followed by cured ham (11.7%) and other

Although daily physiological needs vary according to age,

cold meats (5.6%). In children, using older data, first is po-

sex, weight, physiological state (growth, pregnancy, lacta-

tato crisps (12.1%), followed by white bread (11.3%), cured

tion), level of physical activity, state of health, etc. our bodies

ham (6.3%), cold and processed meats (5.2%), whole milk

do not need much sodium.

(4.2%), biscuits (3.3%) and breakfast cereals (3.3%). Current legislation requires that the sodium content of many

In temperate climates healthy adults need only small

foods is shown on the packaging. Besides, some specific ter-

amounts of sodium. Loss through urine and faeces amounts

ms reflecting the sodium content are also included, such as

to about 23 mg/day, and through sweating about 575 mg/L.

the following:

Therefore, considering the high variability in types of phy-


sical activity and the adaptability to climate, 500 mg/day is

compared with another similar product.

considered the minimum safe intake.

LOW IN SODIUM/SALT: not more than 0.12 g/100 g

But given that increased consumption of sodium does not

or ml

benefit our organism, and may even be the cause of serious

VERY LOW IN SODIUM/SALT: not more than 0.04

organic disorders such as high blood pressure, various insti-

g/100 g or ml

tutions and scientists recommend that the sodium concen-

WITHOUT SODIUM OR SALT: not more than 0,005 g/

tration in the diet does not exceed 2.4 g/day (6 g of salt2)

100 g mL of product.

according to FESNAD (2010) or NRC, or 2 g/day (5 g of salt2)

• • •

Unfortunately, not all food labels follow the directives as

according to the WHO (2007). However, it seems clear that

they are not legally obliged to do so. Recently, effervescent

a distinction should be made between those with hyperten-

paracetamol taken by older people with arthritis has been

sion (5-6 g/day) and the healthy population (7.5-10) (Valero

identified as another source of sodium that contributes sig-

Zanuy, 2013, Whelton et al., 2002).

nificantly to the total daily intake of sodium. An intake of 3g/day of paracetamol can mean an extra 1.7g of sodium/ day in the diet.

Current legislation requires that the sodium content of many foods is shown on the packaging. Besides, some specific terms reflecting the sodium content are also included. 2. Sodium = Salt x 2.5 (To calculate the salt content of food, multiply the grams of sodium stated on the label by 2.5).



Pregnancy and lactation

Health impact

During pregnancy, there is an increase in the need for sodium

Sodium deficiency

because there is an increase in the mother’s extracellular

Sodium deficiencies from low intakes are infrequent, unless

fluid, the baby’s requirements and the sodium levels in the

a diet low in sodium is strictly followed. Even profuse

amniotic fluid. This represents 70 mg of sodium more per

sweating does not mean it necessary to take a sodium

day. Likewise, during lactation women’s needs increase by

supplements. The body suffers a strong depletion of sodium

135mg/day. However, these increases are amply covered by

only under extreme conditions, like profuse, persistent

normal daily intake during these periods.

sweating, injuries, chronic diarrhoea, or kidney ailments

Infants and children

which impede sodium retention - and which usually require

Sodium requirements are obviously higher in infants and

medical attention.

young children whose extracellular volume is expanding

Sodium in excess

rapidly. About 23 mg/Kg is considered acceptable for infants

Excessive intake of sodium chloride can cause an increase in

and young children. If children receive about 135 mg/day of

extracellular space caused by water leaving cells to maintain

sodium from the mother’s milk, this means an average of

the sodium concentration. This can lead to oedema and

about 27 mg/Kg in infants from birth to two months old and

hypertension. Nevertheless, a massive over-ingestion of

18 mg/Kg from three to five months old. Except in preterm

sodium chloride should not be harmful if water is available

infants (who may have hyponatremia), human milk provides

and renal functions are not affected. However, a massive

satisfactory levels of sodium for infant growth, while for

ingestion (acute) of sodium chloride does not normally come

formulas, the recommended sodium content is between 20

from food, but from a high daily intake of salt that can lead

and 60 mg/100 kcal. According to Spanish legislation, the

to high blood pressure.

maximum amount permitted is 60 mg/100 kcal, although

High blood pressure

the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology

In 1904, Ambard and Beaujard were the first to suggest that

Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN, 2008), recommends a

there was a relationship between excessive salt consumption

maximum intake of 40 mg/100 kcal.

and hypertension (high blood pressure), and advocated a reduced consumption for people with hypertension (Ambard & Beaujard, 1904). An increase in arterial blood pressure causes 5% of the total deaths from cardiovascular disease. If the problem is chronic, it can mean a loss of elasticity in the arteries leading to heart failure and kidney disease, which in turn can lead to strokes3 and heart attacks4 - the two most common causes of death and disability in developed societies.

3 Stroke: Stokes account for approximately one third of all deaths from circulatory diseases both by brain haemorrhaging and strokes. Moreover, a high percentage of people who survive a stroke suffer serious physical and neurological sequelae for the rest of their lives. 4 Heart failure and strokes: salt also has direct adverse effects on the heart muscle and if the heart is unable to pump blood to the body, heart attacks or heart failure may occur.



In addition to these circulatory disorders caused by

Different studies have been carried out on both animals and

hypertension, there are other consequences (some still under

humans, and from genetic and epidemiological perspectives,

study) arising from excessive consumption of salt, such as:

to estimate the influence of the salt on blood pressure:

Kidney failure

Harmful reduction in the amount of calcium

Liquid retention

Favouring some types of tumours

Respiratory system failure

variance means that some people react differently to

Overweight and obesity.

excess sodium in the diet. Between 30 and 50 per cent

In chimpanzees, an increase or decrease of sodium in the diet directly affects blood pressure.

Almost 20 different genes have been identified that are involved in the renal processing of sodium. This genetic

of those with high blood pressure are sensitive to salt.

However, although there is a relationship between salt intake and hypertension, we also have to consider other

factors such as sensitivity to sodium, obesity, etc. (see

Afro-Americans, the elderly, diabetics and those suffering from chronic kidney failure experience higher

Table 2). The INTERSALT Study (Stamler et al., 1989),

blood pressure with an increase of the sodium in the

carried out in 32 countries with 10,079 participants of

diet. They also show lower levels of plasma renin activity.

both sexes, and the INTERMAP Study (Zhou et al., 2003), carried out in 17 different places in China, Japan, the US

Because their diet is very low in sodium, the Yanomami

and the United Kingdom with 4,680 participants, showed a

tribe from South America rarely suffer from high blood

positive relationship between the intake of salt, the urinary

pressure, while the Qashqai of Iran with higher sodium

excretion of sodium and blood pressure figures: However,

intake show greater numbers with hypertension. In

the INTERSALT Study concluded that there was little benefit

addition, when populations with a traditionally low

if the average consumption of salt in developed societies (8

intake of salt migrate to urban areas with a higher

g/day) fell to the recommended levels (6 g/day), since there is

intake, an increase in hypertension is observed.

only a minimum impact on blood pressure values ( decreases •

under 2% in the systolic and 0.2% in the diastolic) and

Several meta-analyses undertaken on people with

only recommended an important decrease for those taking

normal and high blood pressure have confirmed the

medicine for hypertension.

relationship between salt and hypertension. Table 2. Recommendations for the prevention and treatment of hypertension Recommendation

Decrease in systolic BP

Maintain an ideal body weight (BMI < 25 kg/m2)

5-20 mm Hg

Follow DASH-type diet, rich in fruit, vegetables and dairy products

8-14 mm Hg

Limit salt intake (6 g of ClNa or 2.4 g of Na)

2-8 mm Hg

Moderate alcohol intake to less than two alcoholic drinks per day for men and one for women

2-4 mm Hg

Ensure an adequate intake of protein, magnesium and calcium


Include 120 mmol/day of potassium in the diet


Reduce total fat and saturated fat intake. 3-6 g of omega 3 fatty acids found in fish is recommended


Take regular exercise, 30 minutes/day, most days of the week DASH: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension BMI: body mass index BP: blood pressure


4-9 mm Hg


Based on this data, an Agreement of the High Level Group


on Nutrition and Physical Activity proposed by the European

AECOSAN (2011). Agencia Española de Consumo, Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición. Encuesta Nacional de Ingesta Dietética Española (ENIDE).

Commission in 2008, sought to reduce the salt levels in

Agostoni, C., Gasthof Bauer, T., Fewtrell, M., Goulet, O., Kolacek, S., Koletzko, B., ... & ESPGHAN Committee on Nutrition. (2008). Complementary feeding: a commentary by the ESPGHAN Committee on Nutrition. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 46(1), 99-110.

prepared foods by 16%. In 2010, AECOSAN launched a plan for the reduction of the salt consumption in Spain. The

Ambard, L., & Beaujard, E. (1904). Causes de l’hypertension arterielle. Arch Gen Med, 904(1), 1.

objective was that by 2014 the average consumption of

on technology and food security that this reduction could

Fernández, A. C. S., Lucas Domínguez Rodríguez, R., Ferri, R., Carou, M. C. V., Cosano, G. Z., & Diaz, A. V. (2011). Informe del Comité Científico de la Agencia Española de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición (AESAN) concerning the effect of salt reduction in the microbiological safety of cured meat products. Comité Científico, nº 13, 59-87.

cause, for example in meat products (Fernández et al. 2011).

FESNAD (2010) Ingestas dietéticas de referencia (IDR) para la población española, 2010. Act diet, 14, 196-197.

As such, there are still many unknowns to resolve regarding

Medina-Remón, A., VALLVERDÚ-Queralt, A., Arranz, S., Ros, E., Martinez Gonzalez, M. A., Sacanella, E., ... & Lamuela-Raventos, R. M. (2013). Gazpacho consumption is associated with lower blood pressure and reduced hypertension in a high cardiovascular risk cohort. Cross-sectional study of the PREDIMED trial. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 23(10), 944-952.

salt had been reduced to 8.5 grams per day. However, the scientific committee of AECOSAN has questioned the effects

the optimal daily amount of salt in our diet, especially in people who are not hypertensive and are salt-resistant. However, in people who are hypertensive persons or salt-

The World Health Organization. (2007). Reducing salt intake in populations: report of a WHO forum and technical meeting, 5-7 October 2006.

sensitive, three basic steps must be taken: •

Maintain an ideal weight

Follow a Mediterranean diet.

Consume a maximum intake of 5-6 g of salt/day.

Ortega Anta et al (2011). Estimation of salt intake by 24-hour urinary sodium excretion in a representative sample of Spanish adults. British Journal of Nutrition (2011), 105, 787-794 Pascual, V. C., Sánchez, A. M., Toledano, F. L., del Moral, A. M., de Victoria Muñoz, E. M., Martinez, G. P., ... & Casamayor, P. B. Informe del Comité Científico de la Agencia Española de Consumo, Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición (AECOSAN) sobre objetivos y recomendaciones nutricionales y de actividad física frente a la obesidad en el marco de la Estrategia NAOS


Stamler, J., Rose, G., Stamler, R., Elliott, P., Dyer, A., & Marmot, M. (1989). INTERSALT study findings. Public health and medical care. Hypertension, 14(5), 570-577.

To quote Taubes’ (1998), “Three decades of controversy over the putative benefits of salt reduction show how the demands of good science clash with the pressures of public health policy5”. …and we are now entering the fifth decade.■

Taubes, G. (1998). Three decades of controversy over the putative benefits of salt reduction show how the demands of good science clash with the pressures of public health policy. Science, 281, 898-907. Valero Zanuy, M.A. (2013). Nutrition and arterial hypertension. Hipertens Vasc Risk. 2013;30(1):18-25. Whelton PK, He J, Appel LJ, Cutler JA, Havas S, Kotchen TA, et al. National High Blood Pressure Education Program Coordinating Committee, Primary prevention of hypertension: clinical and public health advisory from The National High Blood Pressure Education Program. JAMA. 2002; 288:1882-8. Zhou, B. F., Stamler, J., Dennis, B., Moag-Stahlberg, A., Okuda, N., Robertson, C., ... & Elliott, P. (2003). Nutrient intakes of middle-aged men and women in China, Japan, United Kingdom and United States in the late 1990s: the INTERMAP Study. Journal of Human Hypertension, 17(9), 623-630.

5. Tres décadas de controversia sobre los supuestos beneficios de la reducción de sal muestran cómo las exigencias de la buena ciencia chocan con las presiones de la política de salud pública.



THE TASTE OF SALT HORTENSIA GALÁN SOLDEVILLA, PILAR RUIZ PÉREZ-CACHO, JOSÉ CARLOS UCLÉS GÁLVEZ AND MARÍA DE LA HABA RUIZ. Sensorial Studies Laboratory (AGR-020) Edificio Darwin - Department of Bromatology and Food Technology. University of Córdoba


alt has been used from time immemorial as a

magnesium, sodium) and anions (carbonates, sulphates

condiment, to enhance the flavour of dishes and

and chlorides), and trace elements such as iron, potassium,

as a preservative. Salt not only contributes saltiness

iodine and selenium.

to dishes but also enhances sweetness and the releasing of

According to the legislation in force (Royal Decree

aromas. It increases the thickness of soups and drinks and

1424/1983), salt used as food can come from natural salt

masks the bitter, metallic taste of food (Gillette, 1985). The

deposits (rock salt) and the evaporation of sea water (sea

mechanisms by which these sensory effects occur are as

salt) or saline springs (spring water salt). Rock salt is obtained

yet unknown. As a result, it is very difficult to reduce salt in

by dissolving sodium chloride extracted from the mines in

foods because it involves very complex changes in the set of

water and leaving the solution to evaporate through boiling.

sensory characteristics. A reduction of salt during cooking

Sea salt or spring water is obtained in the traditional way,

not only decreases the saltiness of the dish but also modifies

by the evaporation of water through the effects of sun

its aroma and palatability (Hutton, 2002). In addition, the

and wind. If this process is done in shallow ponds, salt can

consumption of salt modifies our behaviour towards food as

crystallize into flakes or dendrites that float on the surface;

it stimulates the appetite and therefore consumption.

if these crystals are not removed they grow and fall to the

Common salt, or table salt, refers to sodium chloride with

bottom (Reyero et al., 2013). Hand-harvested sea salt (fleur

the chemical formula NaCl. Salt is an ionic compound

de sel) is a thin layer of salt that forms on the surface of

formed by a combination of Cl- and Na+ ions, packed into

the ponds due to the cooling of the brine, that reduces its

extremely regular crystalline structures in a cubic shape. Pure

solubility - and the crystallisation and precipitation of small

salt has an elemental chlorine weight of 60% and 40%

salt crystal. The harvesting of fleur de sel is a very delicate

sodium. Its solubility (35.7 g/100 ml to 0 °C) depends on the

process and can only take place when there is no wind so

size of the crystals - thick crystals takes more time to dissolve

that the grains of salt do not fall to the bottom. Harvesting is

than finer ones - and on the shape of the crystal, effects

done manually with poles fitted with a fine mesh according

that can be seen in cooking. The solubilisation speed means

to the traditional method.

different salts are applied at different times in cooking, for example more soluble salts are used for cooking and the less soluble are added when food is served. Common salt

Common salt is a combination of mineral

is a combination of mineral salts and water, with sodium chloride as the main element. Depending on the source

salts and water, with sodium chloride as the

of the salt and the extraction process, other salts may be

main element.

present as a combination of different cations (calcium,



The sense of taste is part of our chemical and sensory system

In the Cordoban countryside, we find springs with a unique

and is stimulated by chemicals in food. To be able to taste

combination of salts and minerals due to the diversity of

food, the chemicals it contains must dissolve in the mouth.

the geological substratum, and where salt from ancient

The chemical receptors or taste buds are mostly spread over

seas has been deposited over millions of years. The use and

the surface of the tongue but are also found in the rest of

control of these springs have been part of the Andalusian

the mouth. There are specific receptors for each basic taste.

economic assets since antiquity. However, this activity has

The mechanism by which these basic flavours are perceived

been abandoned in recent years since it brings little profit.

requires the dissolution of the substance in the mouth aided

The need to reduce the sodium content in foods has led to

by the secretion of saliva, followed by the excitation of

an interest in studying the mineral composition and sensory

the receptors (taste buds), which transmit the impulses via

profile of the salts from these salt flats.

gustatory nerves to taste centres in the brain. There are four basic traditional tastes: salty, sour, sweet and sour, while a fifth basic taste, umami, has been identified - and even a sixth ‘metallic’. The basic sweet taste is perceived mainly at the tip of the tongue; salty on the side of the tip of the tongue; sour is detected on the sides, and bitter at the back. The papillae that perceive the bitter taste is found further back on the tongue, so this taste takes a long time to appear, but once it develops it lasts longer (Jellinek, 1985). According to ISO 5492:2010, saltiness is the main taste produced by aqueous solutions made up of various substances such as sodium chloride. Perception is related to the presence of salts in food and its intensity depends on the type of salt and its concentration. It is now accepted that ion Na+ is mainly responsible for the salty taste, although ion Clplays an important role because of its high electronegativity (Bartoshuk, 1980).

The sense of taste is part of our chemical and

At present, there is a growing interest in reducing the amount of sodium in foods because high salt intake is associated

sensory system and is stimulated by chemicals

with cardiovascular diseases (Doyle 2008). Thus, while it is recommended that sodium consumption does not to exceed

in food. To be able to taste food, the chemicals

2.3 mg/day (5.8 g of salt/day), the average intake of salt is

it contains must dissolve in the mouth.

3.6 mg of sodium/day (9 g of salt/day). Consequently, the agri-food industry is reducing the amount of sodium in their products. However, given the significant effect that has salt in the sensory characteristics of food, this is not an easy task. The question is how to reduce the amount of salt in food to suit the demands of consumers. One way could be to replace table salt (with high sodium content) with other lowsodium salts.



Sensory profile of the salts from the Vadofresno Salt


Flats (Baena-Córdoba)

Bartoshuk, L. M. 1980. Sensory analysis of the taste of NaCl. In Biological and behavioral aspects of salt intake, edited by M. R. Kare, M. J. Fregly, and R. A. Bernard. New York: Academic Press. 83-98.

Four samples of virgin salt were analysed in triplicate taken

Doyle, M.E. 2008. Sodium reduction and its effects on food safety, food quality, and human health. UWFri Brief. November, 1-12.

from the Vadofresno salt flats (fleur de sel, two types of salt flakes and salt grains) and a control sample (table salt). The

Gillette, M. 1985. Flavor effects of sodium chloride. Food Technology 39(6), 47-52.

characterisation was undertaken by the analytical panel of

Hutton, T. 2002. Sodium: Technological functions of salt in the manufacturing of food and drink products. British Food Journal 104(2), 126-152.

the UCO (GrupoSens AGR020) according to the procedure in the sensory profile (ISO 13299:2003). 10 sensory descriptors

ISO 13299:2003. Sensory analysis-Methodology-General guidance for establishing a sensory profile. International Organization for Standardization, Genéve.

were rated: two of appearance (colour intensity and shine), two of aroma/flavour (overall intensity and quality: mineral,

ISO 5492:2010. Sensory analysis-Sensory vocabulary. International Organization for Standardization, Genéve.

sulphur dioxide, chemical, vegetable and floral); three descriptors for the basic flavours (salty, bitter and metallic),

Jellinek, G. 1985. Sensory evaluation of food. Theory and practice. Ed. Ellis Horwood. England

two trigeminal sensations (pungent and spicy) and one for

Royal Decree 1424/1983, of 27 April, which approves the health and technical regulations for the obtaining, circulation and sale of edible salt and brine. BOE No. 130, of 1 June 1983

the aftertaste. The samples were analysed directly, taking a 3-mm grain in an aqueous solution (4 g/l).

Reyero, C., Morcillo, J., Martin, M. and Martin, M.T. 2013. Estudio de los factores que influyen en la forma y propiedades de los cristales y propuestas para los estudiantes de profesorado de secundaria en geología. Av. Cien. Ing.: 4(1), 121-130.

The results of the direct sensory analysis of the samples indicate that all the salts are odourless. Fleur de sel is characterized by being white, shiny and the least salty of all, maintaining the intensity of its saltiness during tasting. The salt in grain form is white, shiny, and has a medium intensity saltiness that dissolves slowly in the mouth. Salts flakes are saltiest, white, less shiny than the others and dissolve quickly in the mouth, gradually growing in intensity. Of the two types of salt flakes, the slightly saltier sample is also bitter and spicy. From the sensory analysis of aqueous solutions of salts, it was seen that all the samples have an average intensity of saltiness, with little differences among them, except in one of the flake salt samples which had a slightly inferior taste ■

In the Cordoban countryside, we find springs with a unique combination of salts and minerals due to the diversity of the geological substratum and in which salt from ancient seas has been deposited over millions of years.



THE SALT OF LIFE AND THE LIFE OF SALT EMILIANO MELLADO ÁLVAREZ GABELA DE SAL. TRADITIONAL SALTWORK Salt is the sublime essence of ancient seas covering the calm Cordoban lands. Hidden white gold, born in the salt flats at the hand of the salt miner - countryman and salt artisan.


For more than five thousand years, salt has added to flavour to food, provided man with essential minerals, been used in fish, vegetable and meat conserves and is included in feed for livestock. It also provides the raw material for the tanning of skins, magical cures and ancestral rituals of worship.

ntil very recently, a salt miners’ life started in the rustic abodes found in the salt flats of the area. As children, these inland salt miners played among mud, stones and mounds of salt. Salt miners were in fact more like farmers than miners and each salt harvest brought new knowledge, which was then passed down from father to son and from salt mine to salt mine.

Indispensable and nourishing, salt was a high-value commodity on which strict controls were imposed and monopolies set up by the crown or the state, and which lasted for hundreds of years until the mid-19th century. These were times of monopolies, but they were also times of salt smuggling and theft from royal salt mines and hidden crystallisation ponds, tax controls and decrees on salt production and sale, salt taxes, administration and administrators, shelters and shelter builders.

Gabela de Sal is a business initiative that aims to recapture the traditional taste of Córdoban salt, awaken the historical memory of the old salt miners of the countryside, restore and enhance the value of the salt mining heritage, incorporate both tradition and innovation into the salt mining industry and encourage salt production and consumption of Córdoban salt. The origin of salt

After the freeing up of salt production many more salt mines emerged, some as a result of smuggling control, others as new businesses run by the rural bourgeoisie. A market was established in which the large state-owned salt mines kept their privileged position, since their size allowed them to supply large sections of the population, while other smaller salt mines supplied a local market - which cut transport costs and gave them a competitive edge.

We associate salt with the sea, coastal salt flats and the piles of salt seen from the road in the Bay of Cádiz, Huelva and Cabo de Gata in Almería. We forget that, until the middle of last century, the hundreds of salt mines in the Andalusian countryside were the fundamental, and only, source of salt for cities and provinces like Córdoba and Jaén, as well as for villages found far from the coast in Seville, Cádiz, Granada, Málaga and Almería. Salt from inland salt flats and the coast have a common marine origin. However, inland seas are not the current source of brine for salt extraction. From the evaporation of ancient seas that covered a large part of the Iberian Peninsula, halite emerged, a rock salt that appears as a mineral layer under the ground and which, in contact with the underground water, generates saline aquifers that reach the surface in the form of ponds, wells and salt springs with concentrations that vary between 150 and 250 g/L, compared to 35 g/L of salt from seawater.



Córdoba was and is a land of salt, of production in low-lying areas in the south of the province and consumption in the highlands of pasturelands and cheese. Coinciding with the salty nature of the terrain, in the province there were two large salt-production regions connected to the large rivers of the Córdoban countryside, the Genil and Guadajoz. In both cases, salt is present in the form of a crust, foam or natural deposit in abundant lagoons, springs and streams.

when production in the royal salt mines was low. Today these original salt mines still exist, albeit in differing states of conservation and exploitation.

Improvements and lower production and distribution costs, allowed coastal salt mines to supply traditional inland markets and meet growing industrial demand with greater guarantees. The industrialisation of salt supply and demand breaks with traditional inland salt mining. From the mid-20th century, they were also subject to new mining regulations and food controls which meant a significant increase in production costs, new taxes and quality controls that were difficult for traditional salt miners to accept or even understand. Gradually, dozens of inland salt mines were suspended or deregistered for non-payment. Nowadays, inland salt production takes place in a small number of salt mines.

In the south, Aguilar de la Frontera is one of the most important salt mining areas where three salt mines are found: Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, Puentes de Montilla and La Encarnación, which cover more than five hectares. Also incorporated into this complex of mines after 1956, was the half-hectare Salina de Nuestra Señora de la Antigua salt mine - now abandoned. In Montilla and Lucena, the San Francisco, La Encarnación and the Mercader salt mines appeared. And in the Subbetic countryside, with the highlands painted white with snow in winter and lowlying areas painted white with salt in summer, we find the salt mines of San Juan de Dios (Rute), El Salado and Los Montoros in Priego de Córdoba and Nuestra Señora de La Esperanza in Cabra.

Córdoban salt mines Córdoba was and is a land of salt, of production in lowlying areas in the south of the province and consumption in the highlands of mast and pasture feeding systems and cheese. Coinciding with the salty nature of the terrain, in the province there were two large salt-production regions connected to the large rivers of the Córdoban countryside, the Genil and Guadajoz. In both cases, salt is present in the form of a crust, foam or natural deposit in abundant lagoons, springs and streams. These natural crystallisation ponds would be the first salt harvesting places and would give rise to a network of production centres that spread throughout the south.

The Guadajoz basin, Flumen Salsum to the Romans, or Guadaxox to the Moors and Christians, is the salt flat region par excellence in the province of Córdoba. This is where the Duernas and Cuesta Paloma saltworks were the main inland mines - both of the province and in the whole of Andalusia - producing about 10,000 to 20,000 bushels of salt a year during the monopoly period. From the Guadajoz salt mining era, only the Duernas salt works remains. Now renovated, the mine produces around one million kilos of salt annually. Important mines, such as the Cuesta Paloma in Baena and Santa Lucia in Valenzuela, remained active until the late 20th and early 21st century, although most have been buried under the sediment of the streams and the new olive grove. Nevertheless, some mines do continue to function, more out of nostalgia for the old saltworks than for their profitability.

Of these salt mines, those in Duernas, Córdoba, Cuesta Paloma, Baena and Los Jarales in Lucena played a significant role during the time of state monopolies. These salt mines supplied salt to storehouses in the mountainous regions, the surrounding rural areas and the Subbetic region. There were also smaller mines and natural crystallisation ponds where, subject to local control, salt could sometimes be extracted



Baena salt mines Baena, in the Guadajoz area, has two major axes of salt production: the Guadajoz and its tributaries and the Vaquillero stream, a tributary of another important briny

El Conejo

water river like the Salado de Porcuna.

Natural and cultural values of salt and the Baena salt mines

In Albendín next to the Guadajoz River and its streams, the salt mines of Brincas, Vadofresno, Consuegra and Mirabueno

Salt, far from being only found in coastal areas and unusual inland, is a common feature in Baena. Salt lakes like Rincón del Muerto and La Quinta, or the brackish streams of the Cea and El Granadillo are areas of high environmental value where flora and fauna from the coast areas are found on agricultural land far away.

were active up to the 60s - together with the salt mines of Martín Sobrino or Las Roblizas around the Marbella River. The only family-run salt mines still active in Guadajoz are the Tejas Colorás next to Torre-Paredones Archaeological Park and the Granadillo salt mines. In the Laguna de la Quinta Nature Reserve near the Vaquillero

The salt lands form an extraordinary landscape and are found in wetlands of high cultural value. Against a dry landscape, there are hundreds of different shades of white produced by salt, together with the rich green of Salicornia, pink of brine shrimp and orange of flamingo, red and ochre of storage buildings and basins, low, rolling hills hugging salt streams and wastelands of stone and gypsum. This is the typical landscape of salt flats and also of the Baena salt mines, unchanged since salt-mining families lived here years ago. However, today there is only silence, and no sign of the mallets, baskets, shovels and rakes which once made up the salt miners’ tools.

River, the most important salt mine was the Rincón del Muerto, followed by the San José de Covatillas salt mine found further upstream. Downstream, El Conejo salt mine produced salt until the 1980s and was closely linked to the Salina de Santa Lucía salt mine in Valenzuela. There were also other smaller mines attached to country estates, such as Fuentidueña, Gangas, Gastaceite, Covatillas and las Alberquillas, and natural crystallisation ponds like El Saladillo and Pedro Ortiz. Because of its large number of salt mines, Baena was one of the most important salt producing areas in Spain, with

Although there are very few more modern salt mines left, there are still documents about salt mining in the 13th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. These documents include the Ordinances of the Baena Salt Mines (1526), the results of the Catastro de Ensenada census (1752), documents concerning the building of a new floor in Albendín church (1788-1790), and statistical data relating to Baena Miñano (1827) and Madoz (1848), the most comprehensive report made by the administrator of the royal salt mines in Córdoba (1853).

a total of 20 mines in full production until late last century. Some date back to the Reconquest and were under the control of the Calatrava Order and the ancient Albendín and Baena seigniories. Of even earlier origin might be, among others, the salt mines of Cuesta Paloma, Rincón del Muerto, Tejas Colorás, Las Roblizas and Vadofresno. Baena’s richness in salt is due mainly to hydrogeological factors, i.e. the presence of salt and water underground.

But salt is also present in folklore, superstitions, rituals and shared customs, found in the kitchens of both lords and peasants where it is put in basic gazpachos made from bread, olive oil and salt (also known as ‘mazamorra’ or ‘pava’). Salt is present too in pig slaughters and the salting factories of the governing classes and makes up the white carpet laid down for the Corpus procession - besides being put in bags for house warming ceremonies.

This is followed by the spatial and temporal organisation of the land, as a geographical area inhabited over time which explains the patterns of salt mine distribution. A salty substrate, a source of water, a cattle track or traditional livestock path, settlements and old towns are key aspects to understanding the richness and diversity of the Baena salt mining heritage.



GABELA DE SAL – reviving the salt industry

Salt alive and with a history

Gabela de Sal is a business initiative that aims to revive the

Far from being just a production area, the Gabela de Sal

inland salt industry in Córdoba by implementing new models

saltworks is also a space for learning - a classroom and an

that combine tradition and innovation. Gabela de Sal focuses

open museum revealing the history and life of the salt mine. A day’s work at the salt flat and a walk in the surrounding

on three fundamental concepts: health, heritage and nature.

land brings visitors in direct contact with one of the most

Salt with Common Sense

enchanting cultural and natural areas in the region.

Salt is a seasoning and basic food that provides essential

Promoting tourism and leisure activities in the salt mine is

minerals for our bodies.

Gabela de Sal encourages

another important function of Gabela de Sal. Halotherapy in

responsible salt consumption under the slogan “Sal con

salt mines has great potential for Spain on a European level

Sentido Común” (“Salt with Common Sense”).

given the endemic nature of saltwater springs found on the


Iberian Peninsula.

traditionally made salt with lower sodium content (like fleur de sel, seasoned salts or brine), means less sodium intake

Artisan salt mines in rural Córdoba

while enjoying traditional flavours and ingesting more

Gabela de Sal produces salt at three different mines in

essential minerals.

Córdoba. At the Vadofresno salt mine in Albendín, our most exclusive salts are made using new brine processing systems,

We also encourage a rational use of salt and aim to bring

giving different types of salt with distinct components,

back traditional methods of production especially in the

textures and flavours. At Tejas Colorás (Baena) and Duernas

making of bread, cheese, cold meats and pickles, where

(Córdoba) we collaborate with the mines to develop new

salt is an essential ingredients. New ways of producing

production and marketing systems and the development

foods have meant a loss of flavour which is compensated

of tourism. The two saltworks are within areas of great

for by adding more salt or sugar. As an example, doughs

archeological and historical value, the Parque Arqueológico

mixed by machine instead of kneaded by hand has meant

de Torreparedones in Baena and the important Roman ruins

an increase in the salt content of bread from 4-6 grams per

of salt production and control around Corduba and Ategua.

kilo of flour to 20 grams per kilo. Campaigns which tell us to

The Cuesta Paloma saltworks in Baena also forms part of the

reduce our salt intake will have little or no effect unless there

Gabela de Sal initiative. The quality of the spring water and

are improvements made to the production of other foods.

its privileged location near the Cueva del Yeso, an area of

Likewise, preventing high blood pressure through campaigns

natural beauty and historical interest, are factors which are

to reduce salt intake, will not be effective without healthy

being incorporated into the project to revive and exploit the saltworks. Other salt mines in Baena, such as Las Roblizas,

eating habits and exercise.

El Granadillo and Rincon del Muerte, are also considering

Besides encouraging the use of traditional salts and

similar projects to revitalise and promote this industry ■

reviving or improving production processes, Gabela De Sal aims to foment the use of salts from vegetable origin such as the halophyte Salicornia, found in plentiful supply in these salt lands. Eaten fresh, in conserves or its derivates, it is a healthy alternative and provides other minerals like magnesium and calcium, vegetable proteins, unsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic and linolenic acid and Vitamin C. Salicornia









NOÉ CARMONA Confit cod, polenta, black salmorejo and Cointreau. INGREDIENTS SERVING SUGGESTION

For the black salmorejo: 1100 gr. ripe, skinned tomatoes from the valleys of Córdoba) / 20 gr. of Telera bread from Córdoba / 20 ml. of DO Priego extra virgin olive oil (Picual) / Half a clove of Montalbán garlic / 3 gr. of Córdoban virgin salt / 5 ml. of squid ink / 10 ml. of shrimp/king prawn fumet For the polenta:

ut polenta on dish. Make two hollows and fill with black salmorejo and place sautéed cuttlefish next to the polenta. Drizzle orange sauce at the sides. Place cod and skin on top

200 gr. polenta / 500 ml. fish stock

and sprinkle with Gabela de Sal ‘Sal de Naranja’.

Orange and cuttlefish sauce: 100 ml. fish stock / 100 ml. Cointreau / 1 orange / cornstarch / cuttlefish /sea salt

METHOD Black salmorejo: Bring fumet to boil and add ink. Leave to cool. Blend all ingredients at maximum power (including fumet) with a blender or Thermomix. Slowly pour in olive oil until smooth and emulsified. Set aside. Polenta: Bring fish stock to boil and mix with the polenta until smooth. Take off heat and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until desired consistency (thick and creamy). Set aside. Cointreau sauce: Mix fish stock and Cointreau and bring to the boil. Add same amount of orange juice and reduce. Add cornstarch to thicken and salt. Cod skin: Preheat the oven to 80°. Place cod skin between two sheets of greaseproof paper and place on tray. Place a weight on top so the skin stays flat. Fan bake for 2 hours. Set aside. Cod confit: Put cod loins in preheated oil and remove from heat immediately. Leave to caramelise in own heat for 10 minutes.

JOSÉ MARÍA GONZÁLEZ Raspberries and salmorejo. INGREDIENTS 12 raspberries / 75 gr. mannitol / flake salt / fresh wasabi / salmorejo (Cordoban salmorejo)

METHOD Make the salmorejo following the Gastronomic Guild of Cordoban Salmorejo recipe. Put mannitol in a saucepan and heat until liquid. Coat the raspberries with the liquid mannitol and chill.

SERVING SUGGESTION Fill the raspberries with salmorejo, decorate with grated wasabi and flake salt.



TIMOTEO GUTIÉRREZ Scarlet veal tongue. INGREDIENTS One veal tongue / one onion / black pepper grains / nitrate salts (potassium nitrate, E-252) / coarse salt / bay leaf / thyme/ white wine

METHOD Wash and dry veal tongue and prick so that salt penetrates into the flesh. Spread a little potassium nitrate to create a reddish colour when served. (Warning: use potassium nitrate sparingly as in large amounts it is poisonous). Cover with coarse salt and leave for three days. On the third day, take salt off the tongue, and leave in water for a few hours,

SERVING SUGGESTION A cold meat served sliced and chilled

changing water two or three times. In a pressure cooker put a peeled onion, a bay leaf, seven or eight grains of black pepper, a sprig of thyme and the tongue. Cover with white wine and cook for 45 minutes. Once cooked, skin the tongue and leave to cool before serving.

JOSÉ SALAMANCA Artichokes with oxtail. INGREDIENTS Artichokes / oxtail / carrot / onions /garlic / saffron strands / bay leaves / white wine / olive oil / salt

METHOD Caramelise artichokes in olive oil over low heat. Put oil in a pan; add wine, stock, saffron and 2 or 3 bay leaves. Once sautéed, add oxtail and cook until meat is browned. Add white wine, stock and saffron. Cook slowly for 3-3.5 hours until stock is reduced. Stir fry artichokes with a garlic clove in the same oil as used for caramelising. Add a splash of wine. Flake oxtail, add artichokes and reduce. Make a potato soufflé for the base. Place artichokes on top and then cover with oxtail and the sauce.



The importance of vinegar in Andalusian cuisine is something more than mere usage; it also reflects continuity in tastes throughout history and has become the axis of a way of cooking and eating







inegar was first mentioned thousands of years ago,

in use for so long and which is linked directly to a food

having begun in the Middle East and then spread

that is a key part of local agri-food production. In this way,

throughout the Mediterranean - and is linked,

vinegar behaves like the backbone of a localised section of

unsurprisingly, with the emergence of the first wines. But

the population, and has remained intact for thousands of

vinegars are not only the product of grape wine; there are

years - another interesting factor in the complex analysis of

also vinegars made from other fruits, honey, dates and even

taste throughout history.

simple, rustic beer vinegars, another ancient Mediterranean

The use of vinegar is so common and widespread in Spanish,

drink. Improvements in the winemaking process contributed

Andalusian and Cordoban cuisine that it would be impossible

to great advances, and during the Roman era in Córdoba

to go into vinegar too deeply in this work – more space

aromatic vinegars were made from old and young wine

would be needed. But we can give a brief overview of the

wines. Today, we even have acetic acid vinegar, purely

historical moments where vinegar was common and was a

chemical and of inferior quality, but vinegar nevertheless,

daily necessity for many reasons, not only for its primary use

providing the flavour to which we are historically accustomed

as a food, but also in food conservation and for medicinal

and which reinforces the fact that taste is traditional. After

and pharmacological purposes. We start with the dishes that

all, it is vinegar and by using vinegar, we are carrying on

were predecessors of salmorejo: dishes made with vinegar,

an age-old tradition of using it as dressing, a flavouring,

olive oil, bread, salt and abundant garlic. In Sumer they

a conserving agent due to its asepsis properties - or even

were more often eaten hot than cold and sometimes they

developing drinks like posca, Andalusian gazpacho and, of

resembled porridge. Poverty has few chroniclers, but some

course, salmorejo. The age-old vinegar flavour - to which we

Sumerian texts have survived that contain the first recipes.

are so attached in Andalusia - appears in Portrait of Lozana:

Written about 1600 BC in cuneiform on clay tablets2, these

the Lusty Andalusian Woman1 by Francisco Delicado in 1528.

rare, surviving texts show us that alcoholic fermentation had

This is a flavour that had been around since antiquity and

been discovered, from which wine and beer were made.

that represents a historical continuity in Andalusian tastes -

Wine could be classified using a wide range of precise terms,

the taste for vinegar that, as we shall see later, both Romans

so there were cooked and mature wines, strong or light,

and Andalusians shared.

sweet, good or bad, and of course, vinegars.

The importance of vinegar in Andalusian cuisine is something more than mere usage; it also reflects continuity in tastes throughout history and has become the axis of a way of

1 Delicado, F., La lozana andaluza. (Portrait of Lozana: the Lusty Andalusian

cooking and eating - a fact rarely found in the history of

Woman) 2010, p. 178.

food. But it is hard to find another product that has been

2 Villegas, A., 2010, p. 65-70.



From 1100 to 600 BC on the other side of the Mediterranean,

produced empirically, since they had not yet discovered

in Tartessos - the cultured civilization in southern Andalusian

the action of the second fermentation by the Acetobacter

– the main and most popular drink was beer, but they

bacteria which produces acetic acid in a wine and transforms

probably also enjoyed vinegar. Wine was an exclusive drink

it into vinegar.

reserved for aristocrats and arrived through Phoenician

The Roman legionaries were familiar with the cooling

trade. They traded in products for the elites, like wine,

effect of vinegar and it formed part of their normal su-

which often turned to vinegar en route both by accident

pplies. It was mixed with water, salt and aromatic herbs,

and design. Phoenician trade had taken place since the 6th

sometimes garlic and onion and kept in water bottles.

century BC, proving the ancient use of vinegar in Andalusian

Vinegar was useful during the hard summer campaigns

cooking and its deep roots in our gastronomic culture. The

when keeping hydrated was so important. This popu-

Turdetans, heirs of the splendour of the Tartessians, also

lar drink, known as ‘posca’, was the refreshment of the

produced a prestigious wine that competed with the best in

Roman soldiers - in fact it was this drink, not vinegar,

the Mediterranean – including Chios wine - and whenever

that a Roman legionary gave to Christ on the Cross, a

wine was produced, vinegar also appeared in its splendid

gesture that has been misinterpreted as evil but which

food repertoire.

was actually an act of piety and meant to lower Christ’s

The Romans made vinegar an indispensable condiment

body temperature during the crucifixion. While toma-

and common to both sides of the Mediterranean, although

toes are a recent addition to the salmorejo recipe, vine-

it was already well-known since the Phoenicians, Greeks

gar, together with garlic and oil, form an ancient quar-

and Egyptians included vinegar in their diets. In the Roman

tet that demonstrates the continuity of tastes in food

settlement of Colonia Patricia Corduba, the present city

throughout history as we mentioned earlier.

of Córdoba, vinegar acquired an even greater importance because vine cultivation, with its sub products, had been a

The Visigoths adopted many Roman food habits - mixed un-

tradition since the Turdetans times. It is precisely then that

doubtedly with their taste for meat - but vinegar continued

Columella writes the book De Re Rustica on agriculture, and

to be used in their dishes, thus maintaining this important

which contains many recipes for pickles with vinegar and

culinary role and, above all, continuity in the inclination

brine, detailed recipes using vinegar from specific wine and

of a culture for a specific taste. In fact, the Roman villae,

advice about how to conserve olives with good vinegars

now Christian, still existed and although the cities declined

using methods similar to those of today. Other agronomists

towards the end of the empire, food customs survived. Wine

like Cato or Varro also include vinegar among their list

especially grew in importance, as it is an essential part of a

of products that were in daily use. It was, of course, still

religious liturgy.



In the medieval world, although vinegar was already included

not strictly enforced, although there were a few occasions

in many aristocratic recipes - like those of Apicius and more

when the ban on wine was applied more rigorously.

ordinary ones like basic, rustic preserves - it now acquired

Vinegar, however, was never banned which allowed for its

greater weight both in al-Andalus and in the rest of Spain. In

use to continue, indeed there was an increase in products

the northern Spain, vinegar was still used to marinate many

containing it. Wine and vinegar were two hugely important

foods. Indeed, the bittersweet flavour was very popular the

elements in the Andalusian economy and made up part of

ancient world, but it was not until the 17th century that

the payments in kind in the poll tax Muslims imposed on

salty, sweet and sour flavours were distinguishable. This

Christians. Sánchez Albornoz6 quotes a phrase from the

meant that food became highly seasoned and individual,

Bugyat multamis fi al-Ta’rij riyal ahl al-Andalus by Amira al-

whereas up till then, all dishes had had the same flavour as


vinegar had been the key ingredient. In the Regimen sanitatis

«He and his men shall pay a dinar each year, four ephahs of

of 1307, the Catalan physician Arnaldus de Villa Nova,

wheat and barley, four pitchers of syrup, four of vinegar, two

holds vinegar in high esteem, as do many contemporary

of honey and two of oil; but the servant will only pay half.»6

and later treatises3. More importantly, in 1477 Ruperto de Nola in his book Llibre del Coch includes a recipe that

Like this, there are many more examples in Andalusian

echoes the techniques for making salmorejo with vinegar:

cuisine, for example, the Kitab al-Tabikh, annotated and

take breadcrumbs from bread soaked in white vinegar . The

translated by Perry7, contains a variety of recipes including

dough is softened and then seasoned with vinegar and other

vinegar for pickles and vegetables.



The Roman legionaries were familiar with

Further south in Andalusia, the taste for sour foods was not only limited to the bitterness of vinegar, but also to citric

the cooling effect of vinegar and it formed

acid flavours. In the Muslim world and the Mediterranean,

part of their normal supplies. It was mixed

meats were washed with vinegar, and all manner of recipes

with water, salt and aromatic herbs,

included this ingredient like bread and vinegar soups5 hot of course - and in sauces that enhanced heavy dishes,

sometimes garlic and onion and kept in

doughs, salads and all kinds of vegetables.

water bottles. Vinegar was useful during

Its appearance, like always, was linked to the important wine

the hard summer campaigns when keeping

producing activities in Andalusia and, despite the Muslim

hydrated was so important. This popular

faith’s prohibition of wine, not only did production not

drink was known as ‘posca’.

decline, it increased. Controls over wine consumption were

3 Cap. XVI, 128, 131, 135, 136. 4 Cruz Cruz, J., 1997, p. 221. 5 Bolans, L., 1992, p. 168. 6 Sánchez-Albornoz, C., tomo I, p. 57. 7 A Bhagdad cookery book, 2005, p. 86-91.



At the height of the Renaissance the splendour of cookery

salt, garlic and in modern versions, tomato. Juan Valera from

books grew and bittersweet dishes reached a peak of

Córdoba already spoke of salmorejo tartar9, of the vinegar

popularity: the combination of sugar and vinegar is key to

kept in large earthenware jars in the villages of the sierra, of

understanding the development of tastes in this period. In

gazpachos, salmorejo and white garlic soups seasoned with

1607, the chef of Oviedo College in Salamanca, Domingo

delicious vinegar from Montilla:

Hernandez de Maceras, published his book Libro del arte de

I doubt that even the most scientific French chef …with

cozina, a collection of numerous recipes in which vinegar8

nothing more than cloudy oil, the murkiest of vinegars,

plays an important role as a garnish, in pickles or in sauces.

pepper, salt and water could create such a delicious dish.’

This was a time when dried salt cod and highly-spiced

About salmorejo, white garlic soup and gazpacho, he said,

bittersweet game pies from rabbit, deer, partridges etc.,

‘It will be horrible; the ladies of Madrid will pull faces if they

were considered culinary delights - and when blancmange

eat it; but take the ingredients, combine them - and see if

was still a highly elaborated delicacy of great status.

you don’t produce something better10.’

Centuries later, the character of Teresa Panza in Don

More recently, cookbooks have included vinegar as an

Quixote illustrates how essential vinegar continued to be

important ingredient in salmorejo recipes. Contemporary

in the larders of La Mancha. She writes in a letter to her

cooks and writers such as José Oneto11 or the critic Ymelda

husband, who was governor at the time: “There are no

Moreno, make specific reference to the use of Montilla

olives, nor is there a drop of vinegar to be found in the entire

vinegar in a salmorejo recipe12. Miguel Salcedo, a connoisseur

village.” Illustrating how both foods were staples in ordinary

of Cordoban cuisine, includes vinegar in his recipes for all

kitchens like Sancho Panza´s. In 17th century Córdoba,

the different varieties of salmorejo, Cordoban, White and

vinegar remains in common use – and the chronicler Ramirez


de Arellano writes in 1650 that four jars of pink vinegar, together with other foods, were taken to the Hospital of San

The character of Teresa Panza in Don Quixote

Lazaro for the sick.

illustrates how essential vinegar continued to

Much later, in relatively modern times, salmorejo eventually

be in the larders of La Mancha. She writes in

took on its present form with vinegar as one of the main

a letter to her husband, who was governor

ingredients as shown in Emilia Pardo Bazan’s cookery books.

at the time: “There are no olives, nor is there

Has salmorejo undergone any changes? Indeed, since over time certain trends and fashions have come and gone - but

a drop of vinegar to be found in the entire

the main basic ingredients are the same: oil, vinegar, bread,


8 2004. Salads with vinegar p. 2-3; bream marinade p. 113; cod in batter p. 115; fish casseroles p.117 etc. 9 Juanita la Larga 1908, p. 18 10 Valera, J. La Cordobesa. Fundación Virtual Biblioteca de Miguel de Cervantes, 2015 11 Cocina Mediterránea Andaluza. 2007, p.55 12 La Cocina Moderna en Andalucía, 1991, p.147



If we examine each of Cordoba’s different historical periods

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bottero, J., La cocina más antigua del mundo, Barcelona, 2005.

we see a sequence emerging determined by certain food patterns that, almost unconsciously, repeat themselves again

Columela, L.J., Los doce libros de la agricultura, (trad., Castro, C.) Barcelona, 1959.

and again: a familiar flavour is added to a local ingredient

Vilanova, A., Regimen sanitatis (trad., y notas Cruz, J.), en Dietética medieval, Huesca, 1997.

and this produces a particular taste that becomes the norm

Hernández de Maceras, D., Libro del arte de cozina, (Salamanca, 1607) Valladolid, 2005.

for centuries. The use of vinegar is one of those patterns, and it is these prototypes which define the continuity and

Huici-Miranda, La cocina hispano-magrebí durante la época almohade, 1966-2005, Guijón.

constitute the essence of a food style, culminating in what

Marín, M., Waines, D, (eds.) La alimentación en las culturas islámicas, Madrid, 1994.

we know today as Andalusian cuisine.

Moreno de Arteaga, Y., La cocina moderna en Andalucía, Madrid, 1991.

This leads us to reflect on the absence of vinegar as a basic

Moreno, I., La cultura del vino en Andalucía: Identidades socioculturales y culturas del trabajo, en, Historia y cultura del vino en Andalucía, Sevilla, 1995.

ingredient in the modern manuscripts of the Gastronomic

Lévi-Provençal, E., La España musulmana: (711-1031): La conquista, el Emirato, el Califato, Madrid, 1987.

Guild of Córdoban Salmorejo and begs the question why

Perry, C., (trans.), A Bhagdad cookery book, Trowbridge, 2005, p. 86-91. Rondinson, M., Arberry, A., Perry, C., Medieval arab cookery, Devon, 2006.

they dispensed with this ancient, traditional condiment,

Oneto, J., Cocina mediterránea andaluza, Alcalá la Real, 2007.

one so rooted in the land, so widely consumed and popular

Salcedo, M., La cocina andaluza, Córdoba, 1995.

even today. In Cordoba, the use of vinegar is part of a

Santacana, J., Duran, J., La cocina de los pueblos prerromanos de España, 2011, Guijón.

culinary tradition, historically documented and renowned as a seasoning for salmorejo.

Valera, J., Juanita La larga, Santiago de Chile, 1980.

Deep-rooted in the land,

Valera, J., La cordobesa, Fundación virtual biblioteca Miguel de Cervantes, 2015.

proven to be widely used and with a key historical role, vinegar is an outstanding ingredient that, as we have seen,

Villegas, A., El libro del salmorejo, Córdoba, 2010. Córdoba Gastronómica, Córdoba, 2012.

has an important historical function in the development

Villena, E., Ars Cisoria, 1967, Madrid. p. 50.

of salmorejo, and that should not be overlooked as a fundamental part of salmorejo. Vinegar is one of the most important elements to understanding Mediterranean culinary culture, as well as the tradition of salmorejo itself which has included vinegar amongst its ingredients since its origins. This is not the place to examine why vinegar has fallen into disuse in some public establishments, but we certainly want to emphasise its standing as a traditional ingredient of Cordoban salmorejo, as a cultural product, linked to Cordoban history, geography and food culture throughout the ages ■

Deep-rooted in the land, proven to be widely used and with a key historical role, vinegar is an outstanding ingredient that, as we have seen, has an important historical function in the development of salmorejo, and that should not be overlooked as a fundamental part of salmorejo.




«…...Cleopatra dropped one of the pearls into a glass of wine vinegar and once the pearl had dissolved, drank it»


he supposedly very beautiful and equally arrogant Cleopatra VII, last queen of Egypt, was the protagonist of the most expensive meal in history.

During her love affair with Mark Anthony, she wagered she could spend a million sestertii1 on a dinner. Mark Anthony, dumbfounded, accepted the wager and while eating the most exquisite dishes he mentally calculated how much the meal could have cost – and it did not seem excessive. During the desert course, Pliny the Elder2 recounts how Cleopatra asked the judge to put a price on the two pearl earrings she was wearing. He valued them at about five million sestertii each. To everyone’s amazement, Cleopatra dropped one of the pearls into a glass of wine vinegar and once the pearl had dissolved, drank it. The acidic nature of the vinegar had dissolved the calcium carbonate of the pearl and Cleopatra won the wager, having drunk more than € 7,000,000 in today’s money. Moreover, Egyptian vinegar had always had

The Banquet of Cleopatra by Jacob Jordaens

a good reputation, according to sources such as Athenaeus, Martial, Juvenal and even Cicero himself. This anecdote featuring the Queen of the Nile reveals the

The history of vinegar is inseparably linked to that of wine

main characteristic of vinegar: its acidity, which comes from

production, so much so that when the fermentation process

the mysterious action of the mycoderma aceti bacteria, not

was unsuccessful some wine growers would say, “God is

identified until the 19th century by Pasteur. However, the

trying to make vinegar - and it is our duty to help him.”

result of acetous fermentation, considered just a fortuitous

The word ‘vinegar’ comes from the Latin vinum acre or ‘sour

consequence of the fermentation process, had been wellknown for millennia - thanks to the rudimentary wine

wine’ and is the same in most languages, with the exception

producing techniques of old which meant that much of the

of Italian which takes the name for vinegar from its main

wine consumed at the time was more acetum than vinum.

component, acetic acid, and calls it ‘aceto’..

1.1 sestertius = € 1.60 2 N.H., 58.



The history of vinegar is inseparably linked to that of wine production, so much so that when the fermentation process was unsuccessful, some wine growers would say, “God is trying to make vinegar - and it is our duty to help him.” Although in Mediterranean cultures the true protagonist is wine vinegar, any liquid is considered vinegar if it is apt for human consumption, produced by double fermentation - alcoholic and acetic – and is made from agricultural products containing sugar. There are some vinegars that have been made since ancient times, like those from pears, apples or figs as Columella3 writes, and even from chard, palms4 or sea onions5.

Man´s use of vinegar dates back thousands of years, althou-

Although the creation of vinegar was accidental and all its ‘mysteries’ were not revealed until the 19th century, we have now reached a stage in which we use technologies such as bioreactors in its production. Vinegar production as an industry in its own right started in the Middle Ages, when the craft was developed and firmly established in European cities – so much so that in 1394 the Corporation of Vinegar Manufacturers was officially recognised. Numerous recipes have been conserved from classical times and Casiano Baso6 in the 7th century tells us, based on another compiler of agricultural knowledge from the 4th century, how to make both sweet and strong vinegar, how to preserve it and how to avoid being cheated with watered down vinegar, a common practice in those days: “Add potassium nitrate7 to the vinegar, and if it rises as though it were boiling then it contains water.”

the rocks that blocked the path and used vinegar to dissolve

gh the first known written references describe its medicinal uses in Babylon around 5000 BC. From here it spread via Phoenician merchants to the Mediterranean lands and the rest of the western world as the strongest acid available, and whose use as a dissolvent was essential8 – to the extent that in 218 BC, many years before Cleopatra, Hannibal used vinegar to create a path for his elephants in the Alps in order to reach Rome. According to Livy9, the Carthaginians heated them10, so clearing the way. Written references to vinegar become far more prolific from the Roman era onwards. It was lauded as a vital condiment, an essential conserving agent and with highly effective medicinal and cosmetic properties, always bearing in mind though that the quality of the vinegar will always depend on the quality of the wine used in its preparation. From Roman times to the present day the process for obtaining vinegar has been in a continual state of refinement.

3 De Re Rustica XII, 5 and 7 4 Jenofante, Anábasis II, 3, 14 5 Dioscorides De Materia Medica V, 17 6 Geoponica VII and VIII 7 The chemical name of nitro is potassium nitrate. 8 Until 1300 when sulphuric acid was discovered, vinegar was the most powerful acid known. 9 Ab Urbe Condita, 21, 37 10 The rocks of the Alps, like pearls, consist mainly of calcium carbonate.



Acetabulum Vinegar was an ingredient of an essential beverage in a

Medieval cuisine inherited the taste for using vinegar as a

Roman´s daily life and had its own name, posca, of which

condiment, either hot or cold, although in literature it came

we have the best references as a virtuous, civilised drink in

to symbolise hypocrisy because it had the same colour as

Suetonius11, Pliny12, Plutarch13, Apian14 - and even in the

wine but tasted bitter. The flavour of vinegar was the highly

Evangelists15 when they describe how a Roman soldier gave

appreciated at that time, and it is thought that the healthy

some on a sponge to Christ during his crucifixion. It was

habit of sprinkling vinegar on fried eggs dates from then. It

an extremely popular drink, and an intelligent choice as its

is found in abundance in kitchens where it was used in many

main ingredient was vinegar flavoured with herbs to mask

different ways and included in many different dishes, appea-

the strong taste, resulting in a refreshing liquid and tonic

ring in more than thirty per cent of medieval recipes. Almost

containing Vitamin A, providing calories, preventing scurvy

all medieval stews contained a mix where the first step was

and making water drinkable. In other words, a concoction

to toast bread and soak it in vinegar and then add almonds

that replaced salts and fluids lost through perspiration, much

or other nuts, garlic, aromatic herbs and spices.

like the juices left at the bottom of our salads, and which every Roman soldier always carried with him in a flask. nother popular drink in Roman times which also had

Hannibal used vinegar to make a path for his

made by

elephants across the Alps to Rome. According

vinegar as its main ingredient was oxymel


mixing water with honey, and which probably gave rise

to Livy, the Carthaginians heated the rocks

to the Spanish saying : “Vinagre y miel saben mal y hacen bien.� (Vinegar and honey tastes bad, but does you

that blocked the path and used vinegar to

good). As outlined below, this also reflects the tradi-

dissolve them, so clearing the way.

tion of using vinegar for its curative properties. Vinegar was a symbol of hospitality at Roman tables and the star ingredient. It was poured into in a special wide-mouthed vessel, an acetabulum, in which guests could dip their food. It featured in many recipes, often mixed with honey for the

1 Vit 12

bittersweet flavour which was so characteristic of Roman

12 N.H. XIV, 25

gastronomy and a trait of many dishes. One third of the reci-

13 Cato, 1, 13

pes in Pseudo -Apicius contain vinegar, showing how widely

14 Sobre Iberia, 54 ss

used this condiment was to dress raw and cooked dishes

15 Mark 15, v23; Matthew 27, v34; Juan 19, 28; Luke 23 v36-37

and as an ingredient in many sauces such as vinaigrettes.

16 Pliny, N.H. 21, 37



Amongst its uses and benefits, vinegar also plays an

Finally, vinegar also formed part of the many potions that,

important role in eliminating potentially harmful bacterial

according to Pliny, Roman women frequently used in their

contamination in food thanks to its acetic acid content and

beauty routines, mixing it with pigeon excrement to get rid

low pH which gives it preservative properties. Although

of skin blemishes or as a hair remover for their eyelashes

conservation was more important in ancient times due to

using an ointment obtained by drowning frogs in vinegar

lack of hygiene and sanitation, its flavour and effectiveness

and leaving them to rot. However, it wasn´t only coquettish

in preserving food has meant that it continues to be used

Roman females who found it useful - vinegar mixed with

in millions of households even today. It has become a key

mustard created a potent remedy against alopecia and calves´

ingredient in products such as pickles, marinades, mustards

bile was heated with vinegar to combat lice infestations.

and tomato sauces, where helps to conserve the ingredients.

The ladies of the court of Versailles used to add vinegar to

Besides this, its preservative and antibacterial properties

their bath water and were never without their vinaigrette,

make it a product that it is widely used in various industries.

a little box containing a sponge soaked in vinegar used to

In the textile industry, it is used to fix dyes in fabrics and even

combat unpleasant body odours and the smells of the street.

to remove stubborn stains. The chemical industry frequently

Nowadays we use vinegar to get rid of the residues from

uses it to clean other materials or in the manufacture of

shampoos and conditioners and give hair natural shine and

powerful cleaning products due to its ability to break down

silkiness ■

fat. Besides its use in gastronomy, vinegar also had other uses which were valued just as highly. Just a few drops of this

(…) ust a few drops of this precious liquid transform dishes into a feast for the senses.

precious liquid transform dishes into a veritable feast for the senses and, besides featuring in many recipes, vinegar is also used in natural remedies to prevent and cure a multitude of illnesses. These remedies sprang from popular wisdom, which knew how to make best use of its beneficial properties, such as its Vitamin A content. This may also have been the origin of many of the pickles that we consume today, such as pickled capers, a very common remedy used frequently and effectively since ancient times to cure scurvy and other vitamin deficiencies. Both Hippocrates in the 5th century BC and the Bible attribute medicinal properties to vinegar and mention it as a healing remedy. Thus, we find it as a component of aids for digestion, such as vinegar and thyme or pennyroyal brine. According to Pliny17 it was excellent in poultices for the eyes and cured leprosy sores, all kinds of rashes, ulcers and even healed wounds from dog, scorpion and vermin bites. As many as three hundred therapeutic uses can be attributed to its main characteristic, its acidity. It continued to be used medicinally throughout

Nowadays we use vinegar to get rid of the residues from shampoos and conditioners and give hair natural shine and silkiness.

the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and is still under investigation, with the latest therapeutic breakthroughs currently emerging in the US.

17 N.H. 23, 27.



VINEGAR: A VERY HEALTHY CONDIMENT RAFAEL MORENO ROJAS Dept. of Food Science and Technology, University of Cordoba

INTRODUCTION Besides its nutritional content and its health-giving properties discussed later in this chapter, vinegar has been without doubt a nutritional supplement of the highest order. In addition to the unmistakable flavours and aromas it gives any dish, it has been used for centuries as a food preservative in pickles and marinades. Due to its moderately acid nature, it has had, and still has, numerous practical uses such as a lime scale or rust remover, and even as an insect repellent. THE COMPOSITION OF VINEGAR


he word ‘vinegar’, comes from the French vin aigre

Vinegar also contains other organic acids in lesser quantities,

or ‘acid wine’, reflecting the acidic component in the

such as citric acid, malic acid, lactic acid or even tartaric acid,

composition of vinegar, although the name does not

discussed below. These compounds give a pH level of 2.4 in

do justice to the wide variety of products that are nowadays

a 5% acetic acid composition.

grouped as vinegar. Not only is wine the precursor of vinegar; any food rich in fermentable carbohydrates can be

So, except for water, the main component of vinegar is

transformed first into an alcoholic beverage and ultimately

acetic acid, formed from ethyl alcohol through the action

into vinegar. So, depending on the base food (grape-wine,

of the Acetobacter bacterium. Based on this composition

potato, rice, apple-cider, honey, beer, fruits etc.), we find a

of mainly water and acetic acid, commercial vinegars can

variety of end-products with different nutritional properties.

be found, sometimes called ‘white vinegars’, and whose

In essence, vinegar is a liquid and its main component is

content is made up purely of these two components since it

water which can make up 92% to 99% of the product.

is destined for use as commercial alcohol distilled in water.

Depending on its origin, it may contain traces of simple

Although this type of alcohol can be obtained from raw

or complex carbohydrates, usually in amounts below 1%,

materials similar to those already described (cane sugar,

although in some property tables, acetic acid is classed as

corn, molasses etc.), once distilled, they do not provide

a glucose or carbohydrate with content values of over 5%.

the extra components the rest of vinegars have - and their

This is because in property a table, glucose is quantified

composition can vary dramatically.

compared to the other analysed components (protein, Lipid content is practically zero and protein content

fat, fibre, water and ash). The second most important component is acetic acid which oscillates between 4% and

negligible (<0.5%). This makes vinegar an almost non-

7% depending on the vinegar (although these proportions

calorific food, since its energy content can range between

can vary according to the raw material, production method

4 and 14 Kcal/100 ml depending as we said before on the

and the producer´s interests, and can count for almost 20%).

production method and raw material.



Vinegar has scant mineral content, with only potassium being

However, as with so many foods which are of nutritional

of any significance, amounting to 100-180mg/100ml. In even

interest nowadays, it is the other barely traceable substances

smaller amounts, we find magnesium (12-20mg/100ml),

in vinegar that have become the most significant from a

phosphorous (10-25mg/100ml), calcium (5-15mg/100ml)

nutritional point of view. Among those, in first place we will

and iron (0.5-1.7mg/100ml). However, absorption of iron

mention organic acids for whose organoleptic attributes this

from other foods may be enhanced using vinegar, because

product is known. In the following table we show the range

the acidity increases iron’s bioavailability and therefore

in commercial Spanish wine vinegars (García Romero and

increases usability.

Sánchez Muñoz, 1993).

Regarding the vitamin content of vinegar, there is very little information available as few analyses are carried out. The

Acid (g/L)



vitamin content, either water or fat soluble, is practically





Tartaric Acid






Lactic Acid



Malic Acid



Not only is wine the precursor of vinegar, but any food rich in fermentable carbohydrates




is susceptible to being transformed into an

Shikimic acid



alcoholic drink first and finally into vinegar.




Other components of significant nutritional interest are the phenol composites, which evolve over time in vinegars matured in barrels, and which vary in their content according to the differences in the wines from which they are produced. Gallic acid predominates (3-50 mg/L), then tartaric acid (3-66 mg/L) followed by hydroxymethylfurfural (1-16 mg/L). Whereas tartaric acid and hydroxymethylfurfural diminish in storage (depending on the type of ageing), tartaric acid increases (García Parilla 1999). Other compounds that can be detected in vinegar in very small quantities are tyrosols, flavonols, stilbenes, ellagic acid and even anthocyanins (in vinegars from red wines. Cerezo et al. 2010). These acids are of special interest because of their antioxidant effect, which helps to prevent illnesses like cardiovascular diseases, cancer and senile dementia. Lastly, other compounds recently identified (Verzelloni 2010) and seen to have antioxidant effects, are melanoidin molecules formed due to the Maillard reaction of sugars on amino acids. This occurs in the final stages of production (ageing) of traditional Modena balsamic vinegar (not reported to date in other types of vinegar)





The external uses of vinegar One of the best-known factors contributing to heart disease is high blood pressure that affects more than 65% of Spanish people aged over 60. Different studies have been carried out on this risk factor which have shown the beneficial effects that vinegar, or to be more exact, acetic acid, have. Studies carried out mainly on rats (Kondo et al 2001; Honsho et al 2007) have shown reductions of up to 20 mmHg in the systolic reading of spontaneously hypertensive rats. The active mechanism seems to be related to a slight inhibition of the angiotensin enzyme activation. Inhibitors of this enzyme are commonly used to treat high blood pressure in humans, and it appears to have the same effect in rats.

he first references to the health benefits of vinegar describe its external use, applied on the skin to wounds or burns to prevent possible infections (Hippocrates 460-377 BC).

Since ancient times its ability to repel certain insects like lice has been known, making this a widely-used remedy long before modern insecticides were invented. Vinegar was also used in cough medicines, while oxymel (four parts honey to one part vinegar) has been used in traditional medicine and is still used today - it was even included in British and German pharmacopoeias at the end of the 19th century. Vinegar solutions (2% acetic acid) can be effective in treating outer and middle ear infections, but must be used with caution since the acid pH (around 2) can irritate inflamed skin and may damage the outer hair cells of the cochlear. The effectiveness of

other components can also have this effect. For instance, the use of

Another factor contributing to heart disease is a high concentration of serum cholesterol and triglycerides. In this sense, the acetic acid in food, and which is present in the body as acetate, has been shown to reduce both serum cholesterol and triglycerides. (Fushimi et al. 2006; Yamashita et al. 2007). The effect may be related to a reduction in a series of enzymes implicated in the regulation of the production of lipoprotein transporters of cholesterol and a reduction in the synthesis of fatty acids. An increase in elimination of bile acids through faeces has also been observed, which then forces a new synthesis of these components from the cholesterol molecules. This triple effect observed in rats is how acetic acid acts on hypercholesterolemia and hyperlipidaemia.

2% acetic acid on beef drastically reduces the growth of Escherichia

Vinegar and Cancer

vinegar as a remedy for treating fungal nail infections or warts has yet to be scientifically proven. Using vinegar as a disinfectant (on worktops, bowls etc.) should be avoided because even though it is a disinfectant it is not as effective as other commercial disinfectants and can give us a false sense of security. The antimicrobial effect of vinegar in food Vinegar can be seen to have the same effect on wounds as on food, where it exerts an antimicrobial effect due to its acid pH, although

coli and Salmonella typhimurium during refrigeration (Harris 2006),

The link between cancer and diet is well-known, and several international organisations recommend healthier lifestyles to prevent cancer. The WHO (2015) sets out the factors linked directly and indirectly to diet as key elements in the prevention or treatment of cancer. Obviously, smoking is in first place, but 2nd, 3rd and 5th respectively are obesity, an unhealthy diet with insufficient intake of fruit and vegetables and alcohol consumption. In 4th place is physical inactivity, which although it is non-dietary should be adapted to an individual’s food habits in order to avoid obesity, another trigger for cancer.

and is just as effective on lettuce (Vjayakumar and Wolf, 2002). Vinegar and heart disease Risk of suffering heart disease is the result of various concurrent factors and because of its long-term action triggers a pathological process. Most of these factors are silent and may go unnoticed by a future patient, although others can be detected early. Among these factors there are some that can be modified by following certain diets. In this sense, the benefits of extra virgin olive oil, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and even wine are well known. A

In fact, there are several reasons why it is difficult to prove a link between certain foods and cancer; firstly, the causes and evolution of different types of cancer are not necessarily the same, so what may be beneficial in one type of cancer is not necessarily beneficial for another. For example, wine consumption in moderation is often said to be beneficial against cancer, while excessive consumption can be linked to cancer in parts of the digestive system, including the liver.

person’s diet can affect some of factors of heart disease, and the ideal is to include all or most of the beneficial foods to reduce the risk of heart failure.



Research on vinegar includes studies on cell culture and experiments

a daily salad, glycaemic response improved by 30%. Another similar

using animal to prove vinegar’s cancer-preventive properties. For

study demonstrated that substituting fresh cucumber for pickled

instance, it was shown that sugar cane vinegar causes apoptosis

gherkins produces a 30% improvement rate in glycaemic response

(programmed cell death) in human leukaemia cells. (Mimura et al.,

in healthy individuals (Ostman et al., 2001).

2004). Rice vinegar, common in the Japanese diet, inhibits cancer

Among the research into the effect of vinegar on Type 2 diabetics

cell proliferation (Nanda et al., 2004) and stimulates the activity

and pre-diabetics (those who present abnormally high glucose

of killer cells that act against tumours (Seki et al, 2004). In animal

levels without yet having developed diabetes), it was found that

experiments, cancer inducers like azoxymethane, a well-known

drinking cider vinegar on an empty stomach has a more beneficial

cause of colon cancer, are often used. In experiments on rats, a

effect on pre-diabetics than on diabetics, but with significant

significant reduction in this type of induced cancer was noted

differences compared to the controls in both cases. (Johnston et

after adding very low concentrations of rice vinegar (0.05-0.1%)

al., 2004). This and other studies suggest that the use of vinegar

to the rats’ drinking water. (Shimoji et al., 2004). In other cases,

has a preventative role in the development of diabetes. (Chiasson

tumours were induced by injecting tumour cells such as sarcoma. In

et al., 2002). Nevertheless, it seems that the effect of vinegar on

these experiments, adding rice vinegar to the rat food produced a

glycaemia lasts some time after the postprandial period (digestion).

significant reduction in the growth of the tumour.

This was shown in a study in which two tablespoonfuls of cider

Although there are few studies demonstrating which of vinegar’s

vinegar were administered to Type 2 diabetics together with a piece

active compounds have anti-cancer effects, it has been shown that

of cheese just before bedtime. The following morning, they had

acetate influences cell cultures of human colon cancer. In fact, the

lower glycaemic levels than if they had not been given the vinegar

cells reproduced more slowly, were more clearly distinguishable and

(White and Johnston, 2007).

their mobility more limited (Hong et al., 2004), all key factors in

The latest trend is to use vinegar-based drinks and in this respect, in

preventing metastasis of the tumour. Obviously, acetic acid is not

a study conducted over twelve weeks on healthy individuals at risk

the only component of vinegar, since, depending on the type of

of Type 2 diabetes, Johnston et al. (2013) confirmed that a dose of

vinegar (its origin and production method), it may contain differing

1.5g of acetic acid taken at main meal times had a significant effect

substances proven to have anti-cancer effects, like polyphenols and

on postprandial glucose (two hours after ingestion).

other antioxidants. Of the rice vinegars, Kurosu has high polyphenol

The way in which vinegar acts upon glucose levels is not entirely

content, giving it a greater antioxidant capacity compared to wine or

clear, but there are various hypotheses related to gastric evacuation,

apple vinegars (although it may not be superior to all wine vinegars).

interference in sugar absorption or an improvement in tissue glucose

In the few case-controlled studies carried out on humans, findings

receptors. However, tests carried out using other types of organic

are divergent, because although vinegar seemed effective against

acids (citric or lactic) have not been shown to have the same effect.

oesophageal cancer (Xibib et al., 2003), it would appear to increase

Vinegar and obesity

the risk of bladder cancer (Radosavljevic et al., 2004).

When talking about the composition of vinegar, the low-calorie

Vinegar and Diabetes

content was mentioned (around 4-14 Kcal/100ml), which, in the

Miracle cures for diabetes based on vinegar have been known

quantities of vinegar we usually use in salads, stews, pickles and

for almost a century. Dr Kaadt, who advocated one of the first,

marinades (normally less than 20ml per dish), means that the

was accused of malpractice and imprisoned. There are, however,

calories it provides are negligible. On the other hand, it makes foods

several studies on the relationship between consuming vinegar and

that would otherwise be tasteless more palatable. These foods


often include vegetables which can be eaten raw (salads, gherkins,

There are two main types of diabetes mellitus: Type 1 diabetes, which

cauliflower, carrots, etc.). It is important to incorporate these types

appears early and where insulin-producing cells are not operational

of foods into our diet, but they are also fundamental in any weight

thus requiring insulin administration; and Type 2 which appears

loss programmes, since they usually have a low calorie content

later and is associated with low pancreatic insulin production and


resistance of the tissues to the effect of insulin. Vinegar has no

Besides having few calories and stimulating the consumption

effect on Type 1, although it does seem to have an effect on Type 2.

of other low calorie foods, studies have indicated that vinegar

The first scientific study was carried out in 1988, when it was found

influences the relationship between appetite and satiety and

that the glycaemic response in rats to a starch overload improved

that calorie intake in subsequent meals decreases. Therefore,

when the starch was combined with a 2% solution of acetic acid

habitual use of vinegar can contribute to losing weight

(Ebihara and Nakajima, 1998). In healthy individuals, it was found

more easily, or to maintaining a certain weight, thanks to its

that by adding two tablespoons of white vinegar (only acetic acid) to

satiating effect.



A case of hypopotassaemia was reported after a six-year, 250 ml daily dose of apple vinegar was consumed. These are extreme cases, but should be considered in order to avoid excessive intake.

Studies on these satiating effects are normally based on the contribution of different foods with similar calorific content and the subjective evaluation of hunger/ satiety over a relatively long period after consumption (Reina et al., 2015). A study was carried out which measured satiety in persons that had eaten 50 grams of white bread and given varying quantities of acetic acid, from 0 (control) up to 1.7 g. It was found that the food providing the least satiating effect was bread on its own, and that higher quantities of acetic acid produced a greater satiating effect (Ostman et al., 2005). This effect seems to be related to another effect mentioned above, namely maintaining glycaemic levels, a factor involved in the hypothalamic centres controlling hunger and satiety.

Another point to consider about the effects of large quantities of vinegar is the variable histamine and tyramine content. In a study carried out on 15 Spanish vinegars, (Vidal-Carrou et al., 1989), histamine levels oscillated from 0.2 to 17.3 mg/l, while tyramine levels were from 0.93 to 10.7 mg/l. The averages of both are much higher than in the wines, vermouth and cider analysed in the same Spanish study, which is why special care is needed in the appearance of histamine syndromes. Modern production techniques using wood chippings to accelerate vinegar production is of concern to consumers because of the possible presence and infiltration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and especially cancer-provoking benzopyrenes. Regarding this, it was reassuring to see that in a study by Chinnici et al. (2007), the levels of these substances are very low, irrespective of the type and size of the woody chips, and were below the legal limit for food

Antioxidants in vinegar and health In the ‘Composition of Vinegar’ section, we saw how antioxidants levels differ and fluctuate according to the type of wine used in its production. However, antioxidants are not only found in wine vinegar, they also occur in vinegar made from other fruits, especially red fruits. The amounts of antioxidants found in these vinegars, vary depending on the origin of the fruit and the method of production. The content of some of these compounds, particularly phenols, has been mentioned above, although the antioxidant effect of vinegar is not always proportional to the content of these substances, as shown in a study by Alonso et al., 2004. It was found that the strongest antioxidants were cis-p-coumaric acid, vanilla and benzaldehyde, present in small quantities. Furthermore, a vinegar’s antioxidant capacity depends on if it has been aged in wood or not. If not, then gallic acid has the strongest antioxidant effect, besides being one of the most plentiful. However, if aged in wood, ferulic acid (that without the influence of wood has an irrelevant role) takes on special importance in the total correlation with the antioxidant. Nowadays, antioxidant compounds are the most studied substances in food compositions, thanks to their decisive role in lessening the incidence and severity of illnesses associated with heart disease, strokes, cancer, diabetes, senile dementia, etc.

Bibliography Alonso, Angeles M., Remedios Castro, M. Carmen Rodríguez, Dominico A. Guillén, Carmelo G. Barroso (2004). Study of the antioxidant power of brandies and vinegars derived from Sherry wines and correlation with their content in polyphenols. Food Research International 37 (2004) 715–721. Brighenti, F., Castellani, G., Benini, L., Casiraghi, M. C., Leopardi, E., Crovetti, R. & Testolin, G. (1995). Effect of neutralized andnative vinegar on blood glucose and acetate responses to a mixed meal in healthy subjects. E ur J Clin Nutr 49, 242 – 247. Cerezo Ana B., Elyana Cuevas, Peter Winterhalter, M. Carmen Garcia-Parrilla, Ana M. Troncoso (2010). Anthocyanin compositionin Cabernet Sauvignon red wine vinegar obtained by submerged acetification. Food Research International 43 (2010) 1577–1584.

Negative effects of vinegar on health

Chiasson, J.L., Josse, R.G., Gomis, R., Hanefeld, M., Darasik, A. & Laakso, M.(2002). Acarbose for prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus: The STOP-NIDDM randomised trial. Lancet 359, 2072 – 2077.

Although the consumption of vinegar and pickled foods has been documented for over two thousand years without any known adverse effects, the ´medicinal´ use of vinegar can have harmful effects either because it is too highly-concentrated or drunk without food. In this regard, concentrations of acetic acid higher than 20% may be toxic and cause damage to the cardia or oesophagus. In fact, if vinegar even with a normal acetic acid content is drunk alone, it may have adverse effects on the oesophagus and cardia. Due to inhalation, a further effect may be laryngospasm or vasovagal syncope.

Chinnici F., N. Natali, U. Spinabelli, C. Riponi (2007). Presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in woody chips used as adjuvantin wines, vinegars and distillates. LWT 40 (2007) 1587–1592 Ebihara, K. & Nakajima, A. (1988). Effect of acetic acid and vinegar on blood glucose and insulin responses to orally administered sucrose and starch. Agric Biol Chem 52, 1311 – 1312. Fushimi, T., Suruga, K., Oshima, Y., Fukiharu, M., Tsukamoto, Y. & Goda, T. (2006). Dietary acetic acid reduces serum cholesterol and triacylglycerols in rats fed a cholesterol-rich diet. B r J Nutr 95, 916 – 924. García Parrilla M.C., Francisco J. Heredia, Ana M. Troncoso (1999). Sherry wine vinegars: phenolic composition changes during aging. Food Research International 32 (1999) 433±440. Garcia Romero E. and G. Sánchez Muñoz (1993). Determination of organic acids in grape musts, wines and vinegars by highperformance liquid chromatography. Journal of Chromatography A, 655 (1993) 111-117. Harris, K., Miller, M. F., Loneragan, G. H. & Brashears, M. M. (2006). Validation of the use of organic acids and acidified sodium chlorite to reduce Escherichia coli O157 and Salmonella typhimurium in beef trim and ground beef in a simulated processing environment. J Food Prot 69, 1802 – 1807 Hong, F. U., Ying Qiang, S. H. I. & Shan Jin, M. O. (2004). Effect of short chain fatty acids on the proliferation and differentiation of the human colonic adenocarcinoma cell line Caco-2. Chin J Dig Dis 5, 115 – 117.

In some control case studies with a relatively high acetic acid intake (2g/day), incidences of acid in the urine or even certain liver complications have been observed, although more research is necessary in this respect (Johnston et al., 2008).

Honsho, S., Sugiyama, A., Takahara, A., Satoh, Y., Nakamura, Y. & Hashimoto, K. (2005). A red wine vinegar beverage can inhibit the rennin-angiotensin system: Experimental evidence in vivo. Biol Pharm Bull 28, 1208 – 1210. Hu, F. B., Stampfer, M. J., Manson, J. E., Rimm, E. B., Wolk, A., Colditz, G. A., Hennekens, C. H. & Willett, W. C. (1999). Dietary intake of alpha-linolenic acid and risk of fatal ischemic heart disease among women. Am J Clin Nutr 69, 890 – 897. Johnston, C. S. (2006). Strategies for healthy weight loss: From Vitamin C to the glycemic response. J Am Coll Nutr 25, 158 – 165.



SENSORY PROFILE OF ‘VINAGRE de MONTILLA-MORILES’ HORTENSIA GALÁN SOLDEVILLA, PILAR RUIZ PÉREZ-CACHO, JOSÉ CARLOS UCLÉS GÁLVEZ and MARÍA DE LA HABA RUIZ. Laboratory of Sensorial Studies (AGR-020) Department of Bromatology and Food Technology, University of Córdoba


n human nutrition, vinegar has been used as a

Vinagre de Montilla-Moriles is made exclusively from Pedro

condiment and preservative since ancient times and has

Ximénez grapes and is subject to ‘static’ ageing (i.e. in the

also served as the base of simple remedies for humans

same cask) for three or more years, or the ‘criaderas’ and

and animals. Its main culinary use, in combination with oil,

‘solera’ dynamic system. In the latter, the acidification and

is as a dressing for salads and vegetables and it is a key

ageing processes are simultaneous. According to the ageing

component in marinades and pickles. The Real Academia

period, vinegars fall into the following categories: Crianza

Española (Royal Spanish Academy) defines vinegar as “a

(six months); Reserva (two years); Gran Reserva (10 years).

sour, astringent liquid produced by the acid fermentation

Sweet vinegars are also produced from the Pedro Ximénez

of wine and composed mainly of acetic acid and water”

and Moscatel grapes by adding raisin juice from these

(DRAE 2014). In Spain, legislation defines vinegar as “…a

varieties during the production process. (Table 1).

liquid fit for human consumption, produced from a suitable raw material of agricultural origin by the process of double


Ageing Process > 3 years

‘Criaderas’ and ‘Soleras’ Crianza > 6 months

fermentation, alcoholic and acetous.” (Royal Decree

Aged vinegar

661/2012). Thus, vinegars can be classified according to

Sweet Pedro Ximénez vinegar

Reserva > 2 years

the base food used (wine vinegar, fruit vinegars, alcoholic

Moscatel sweet vinegar

Gran reserva > 10 years

wine, grain vinegars, malt vinegar, honey vinegar or whey

Table 1. Designation of Origin ‘Vinagre de Montilla-Moriles’

vinegar), and the production method used (acidification methods with surface culture or submerged culture). Wine vinegar is the result of the acetic fermentation of wine by the agency of acetic acid bacteria. In Mediterranean countries it is mainly produced in steel vats and with submerged culture, which is then aged (or not) in wood. These vinegars are becoming ever more popular amongst consumers, and vinegar producers are trying to create finer quality products. Among Andalusian vinegars with international recognition and designation of origin, some of the most outstanding are ‘Vinagre de Jerez’ ‘Vinagre del Condado de Huelva’ and ‘Vinagre de Montilla-Moriles’.



The production of the wine and grape juice used as the raw

alcohol during a tasting. This fact influences tasting techni-

material for Vinagre de Montilla-Moriles, takes place in Mon-

ques and the number of samples that can be tested. For this

tilla, Moriles, Doña Mencía, Montalbán, Monturque, Puente

reason, in a sensory analysis of vinegar the odour and colour

Genil and Nueva Carteya. There are also areas in the muni-

tend to be assessed directly.

cipalities of Aguilar de la Frontera, Baena, Cabra, Castro del

During vinegar tasting, the visual phase familiarises us with

Río, Espejo, Fernan Nuñez, La Rambla, Lucena, Montema-

its colour (hue and intensity), shine and fluidity (ease or diffi-

yor, Córdoba and Santaella (Specifications for Designation

culty of movement in the tasting glass). Through the sense

of Origin for ‘Vinagre de Montilla-Moriles’).

of smell, we perceive its aromatic richness defined by different notes; fruity, woody, toasted or chemical. (Table 2).

Vinegars aged by the criaderas and solera system are of a higher quality due to their aromatic complexity. Vinegar’s aroma is determined by a series of volatile compounds that







compounds in vinegar have been identified, amongst which

Intensity of colour


are aldehydes, esters, terpenes, acids, alcohols, phenols and


lactones. The volatile compounds from the wine provide


come from the wine, the acidification process and ageing in wood (Morales et al., 2002). To date, more than 70 volatile

primary aromas (fruit and vegetables) that come from the

White fruits Vegetable Woody

grape and chemical notes due to fermentation. During the


acidification process of the wine, ethanol and other higher alcohols are transformed into acetic acid and other volatile


organic acids. Ageing in wood favours the formation of new


compounds due to oxidation processes, condensation and


to the filtration of some of the wood compounds (Callejón,




Sensory characteristics of wine vinegar

Varnish remover

The volatile compounds of vinegar have a decisive effect

White spirit

upon its quality and are influenced by the raw material used,


the production process and in some cases, the ageing in


wood. Producers therefore select the best raw materials and


optimal production process to increase the aromatic quality


of the vinegar and to diversify their market products. (Morales et al, 2002). The volatile profile of vinegar also provides

Table 2. Sensory characteristics of wine vinegar.

information about the degree of its integrity or alteration (chemical, enzymatic or biological) in such a way that an instrumental and sensorial analysis by a trained tasting panel

Vinegars aged by the ‘criaderas’ and ‘solera’ system are

can control the quality (Pizarro et al., 2002; Guerrero et al., 2007). During the olfaction of vinegar, the main difficulty

of a higher quality due to their aromatic complexity.

encountered by the tasting panel is caused by the pungency

Vinegar’s aroma is determined by a series of volatile

of the main ingredient, acetic acid, which masks other aro-

compounds that come from the wine, the acidification

matic notes. Furthermore, this acid produces greater senso-

process and ageing in wood.

rial fatigue in the testers’ receptors than that produced by



Sensory characteristics of Montilla-Moriles Vinegars


Four samples of commercial vinegars from the Monti-


Montilla-Moriles (CÓRDOBA)


Appearance: light caramel, bright and very smooth Aroma: medium-high intensity with fermentation and acetic notes Trigeminal: pungent

lla-Moriles region are analysed in duplicate (two aged vinegars and two sweet Pedro Ximénez vinegars). The characterisation was carried out by the University of Córdoba analytical testing panel (GrupoSens-AGR020)


following the sensory analysis method (ISO 132992003).


Montilla-Moriles (CÓRDOBA)


Appearance: dark caramel, bright and smooth. Aroma : high intensity with notes of wood, wine, toast and glue Trigeminal: very pungent

11 sensory characteristics are evaluated: four visual (tone, colour intensity, brightness and fluidity), six olfactory (overall intensity and quality: fruity, woody, toasted, chemical etc.)

Table 3. Sensory characteristics of aged vinegars.

and one trigeminal (pungency). The samples are tested directly in tasting glasses filled to a third of their capacity.


A standardised wine-tasting glass is used (ISO, 3591:1977)


Montilla-Moriles (CÓRDOBA)


Appearance: Dark mahogany, bright and thick Aroma: high intensity with raisin and acetic notes Trigeminal: pungent

covered with a watch glass. The tasters take the tasting glass in the hand uncover it, shake it gently for 10 seconds and tilt it 45º to smell the sample on the rim of the glass. The olfactory period should not last more than 15 seconds. If


during this period no conclusion is reached, then a short


Montilla-Moriles (CÓRDOBA)


Appearance: Dark mahogany, bright and thick Aroma: high intensity with chocolate/coffee notes, acetic acid and sulphites Trigeminal: pungent

break should be taken before making a new attempt. Next, the appearance of the sample is analysed regarding the optical properties of the vinegar and its visual fluidity. Lastly,

Table 4. Sensory characteristics of sweet Pedro Ximénez.

the liquid is poured away and the empty glass smelled again to evaluate the olfactory notes without the presence of the acetic acid (responsible for the pungency of the vinegar). The results of the sensory analysis of the two aged vinegars


show that the samples are different (Table 3). In appearan-

BOJA (Boletín Oficial de la Junta de Andalucía). 2011. Orden de 30 de noviembre de 2011, por la que se aprueba el Reglamento de funcionamiento de las Denominaciones de Origen “Montilla-Moriles” y “Vinagre de Montilla-Moriles” así como sus correspondientes Pliegos de Condiciones. BOJA nº 249, 22/12/2011. (Official Gazette of the Regional Government of Andalusia). 2011. Order of 30 November 2011, approving the regulations for the Designation of Origin Montilla-Moriles” and “Vinegar of Montilla-Moriles” as well as their corresponding specifications. BOJA nº 249, 22/12/2011).

ce, they are caramel in colour with different colour intensities (light to dark), bright and fluid. As regards smell, one has woody notes, winey, toasted and a note of glue and the other presents notes of fermentation and acetic acid, both

Callejón Fernández, R. (2008). Caracterización química y sensorial del aroma del vinagre de vino. Tesis Doctoral. Facultad de Farmacia. Universidad de Sevilla.

being very pungent. The samples of sweet Pedro Ximénez vinegar (Table 4) are dark, bright and thicker than the aged

ISO 3591:1977. Sensory analysis. Apparatus. Wine-tasting glass. International Organization for Standardization, Genéve.

vinegars, presenting toast and raisin, chocolate/coffee and

ISO 13299:2003. Sensory analysis. Methodology-General guidance for establishing a sensory profile. International Organization for Standardization, Genéve.

acetic aromatic notes of notes, while one of the samples smelled of sulphites. They are both are pungent on the nose

Guerrero, E.D.; Natera, R.; Castro, R. y Barroso, C.G. (2007). Stir bar sorptive extraction applied to the determination of volatile compounds in vinegars. J. Chromatogr. A. 1167,18-26.

although with less intensity than the aged vinegars

Morales, M.L.; Tesfaye, W.; García-Parrilla, M.C.; Casas, J.A y Troncoso, A.M. (2002). Evolution of the aroma profile of Sherry wine vinegars during an experimental aging in wood. J. Agr.Food Chem., 50, 3173-3178. Pizarro, C.; Esteban-Diez, I.; Sáez-González, C. y González-Sáiz, J.M. (2008). Vinegar classification base on feature extraction and selection from headspace solid-phase microextraction/gas chromatography volatile analyses: a feasibility study. Analytica Chim. Acta, 608, 38-47.



VINAGRE DE MONTILLA-MORILES ENRIQUE GARRIDO GIMENEZ Managing Director CRDOP ‘Montilla-Moriles and ‘Vinagre de Montilla-Moriles’ ROCÍO MÁRQUEZ ORTEGA Biologist and Oenologist and President of VINAVIN, the Association of Wine and Vinegar Lovers



eventually became inexorably linked with the name of the people. In fact, it was this unique land that produces such high quality wines that gave the town its name.

ince time immemorial, wine has been identified and classified by the name of the region in which it is produced. The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans left behind much evidence of this; the wines from Cyprus, Falerno and the Bética were famous. In the Iliad and the Odyssey, Homer (9th century BC) writes about the wines of Lemnos, Samos, Petalas and Ithaca. As their prestige increased, so did the false imitations. In the 17th century, leather sacks of Lucena wine were sold which contained wines from regions further afield. Fraud was always punished, but it was not until the late 19th century that the first legislation was passed to regulate the use of geographical names, and, in 1883, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property was signed.

The complete denomination as known today, was first applied in 1891 to celebrate the Madrid Agreement, later revised in Washington in 1911 and approved by The Hague in 1925. But it was the 1932 Vine and Wine Statute that gave legal protection to the names of these two towns so that they could be used exclusively by the growers and producers of the region. On 6th December 1932, a directive was published in the Madrid Gazette fixing a deadline of 15 days to establish the Regulatory Council of the Denomination of Montilla. On December 22nd, the Gazette also gave instructions for the establishment of a Regulatory Council for Moriles.

It wasn’t until 1947 that, due to the growing importance of protecting geographical quality, the International Office of Vine and Wine approved an initial definition: “a wine cannot be attributed designation of origin unless it has been consecrated by use and enjoys a demonstrable reputation”.

The Civil War and other bureaucratic problems delayed the founding of the Regulatory Council which did not take effect until December 1944, with its statutes finally approved in October 1945. The first President was Luis Merino del Castillo, then Chief Engineer at the Cordoba Agronomy Headquarters. Members included: Francisco de Alvear, Count of la Cortina; Félix Asensio Navarrete, Antonio Víbora Blancas, Rafael Cruz Conde, Julián Pérez-Barquero and Luis González Ruiz. Secretary: Francisco de Paula Salinas Casana. Finally, in December 2011 the Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment Council published the Directive of November 30th which approved the statutes regulating the Designation of Origin ‘Montilla-Moriles’ and ‘Vinagre de Montilla-Moriles’

The name ‘Montilla’ came in to general use around the mid19th century, drawing together and embodying a region that was already producing exquisite wines. Indeed, wines produced in other areas of the region, known today as ‘DO Montilla’, participated in international competitions under the generic name ‘Montilla’. That of ‘Moriles’ became renown in 1912, when the old name of the town, Zapateros, was changed to the current one. However, although the wine-growing areas here were already well-known and highly-esteemed, the wine



Designation of Origin’ is understood to refer to the geographical name of a country, region or town that serves to designate a local product whose quality or characteristics are owed exclusively or essentially to the geographical environment, including natural and human factors.



he word ‘vinegar’ comes from the Latin vinum acre from which the French vin aigre derives, meaning ‘sour wine’. Vinegar was discovered more than 10,000 years ago and our ancestors quickly recognised the remarkable versatility of vinegar for different uses (preservative, dressing, refreshment, medicine, solvent, cleaning product etc.).

Types of vinegar •

Wine vinegar: obtained exclusively from the acetic fermentation of wine

Fruit vinegars: obtained from fruits or berries

Cider vinegar: obtained from cider or diluted cider spirit

There are certain basic to be considered when talking about vinegar:

Alcohol vinegar: obtained from the acetic fermentation of distilled agricultural alcohol

Vinegar is a liquid fit for human consumption, produced by double fermentation, alcoholic and acetous, of agricultural products containing sugars or starches.

Grain vinegar: obtained from the double acetic and alcoholic fermentation of any cereal grain whose starch content has converted into sugars

The total acidity of vinegar should not be less than 50g/l, except in the case of wine vinegar which should be at least 60 g/l.

Malt vinegar: obtained from the double acetic and alcoholic fermentation of malted barley

Acetic content: this is the total acidity of vinegar expressed in grams of acetic acid per 100ml at 20º Celsius.

Other vinegars: obtained from other not previously mentioned agricultural products (honey, whey etc.) by double fermentation

The regulations governing vinegars on a national level, both ordinary vinegars and those from Designated Origin, are in the Royal Decree 661/2012.





here are a multitude of historical references to

Vinagre de Montilla-Moriles wine vinegar is obtained

vinegar in the Montilla-Moriles region. Since ancient

from the acetic fermentation of certified DO Montilla-

times, vinegar has been produced in many of the

Moriles wine and subject to an ageing process. The

region´s wine cellars as a secondary product. The first

raw material used to make Vinagre de Montilla-

documented references to the quality vinegars of Montilla

Moriles is obtained exclusively from certified wines, with or without the addition of fermented grape juice

date back to the 17th century, when notary references detail

arrested by the addition of alcohol. The grape juices

inventories of properties which provide evidence of vinegar

are obtained from raisins or fresh grapes from either

in the area. These references speak of high-quality, aged

the Pedro Ximénez or Moscatel varieties, also certified

vinegars, and, in fact, vinegar has always been a traditional

as DO Montilla-Moriles. The geographical extension

ingredient in the cuisines of the different civilisations that

of the DO Montilla-Moriles coincides with the grape-

have settled in Córdoba.

growing area of DO Montilla-Moriles.

The first steps taken by the Regulatory Council to obtain a

During the vinegar-making process of Vinagre de Montilla-

‘Vinagre de Montilla-Moriles’ Designation of Origin were

Moriles, the certified DOP Montilla-Moriles wine stored in

prior to 2005. The bureaucratic process to achieve European

the vinegar producing cellars can be processed in either of

recognition of its DO has been arduous and complex. It

two local methods:

wasn´t until December 2011 with the publication of the

Traditional methods or surface culture. The traditional

Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment Council´s decree

methods or those that use surface culture (slow

of November 30th - in which the statutes governing the

fermentation) are characterised by the action of acetic

denomination ‘Montilla-Moriles’ and ‘Vinagre de Montilla-

acid bacteria in direct contact with gaseous oxygen

Moriles’ were approved together with the corresponding

in an intermediate semi-liquid/gas form, such as the

specifications - that authorisation was provisionally granted

Orleans method traditionally used in this region.

to allow the marketing of products under the umbrella Orleans method

Designation of Origin ‘Vinagre de Montilla-Moriles’. Definitive recognition was finally published in the Official Journal of the European Union in January 2015, thus bringing to a close the provisional period and launching the era of European Community protection for the name ‘Vinagre de Montilla-Moriles’. The raw material used to make Vinagre de MontillaMoriles is obtained exclusively from certified wines, with or without the addition of fermented grape juice arrested by the addition of alcohol. The grape juices are obtained from raisins or fresh grapes from either the Pedro Ximénez or Moscatel varieties, also certified as DO Montilla-Moriles.










submerged fermentation system consists of the presence

Aged vinegars. Vinegar with a Designation of Origin that

of bacteria culture freely submerged to ferment in the

has undergone a specific system and period of ageing:

heart of the wine. Air (sometimes oxygen-enriched) is

Vintage: static ageing for three years or more

constantly added in conditions which allow the greatest

Depending on the ageing period, If ageing is carried

possible transfer from the gas to the liquid phase.

out through the dynamic criadera and solera system,

Throughout the process, the temperature must be kept

we can differentiate between:

below 3oC. When the content of the vat has reduced

- Crianza: aged in wood for at least six months

its alcohol concentration to 0.2%, 40-45% of the liquid

- Reserva: aged in wood for at least two years

is taken off and replaced by more wine.

- Gran Reserva: aged in wood for at least 10 years.







Sweet vinegars. By adding juice from the relevant grape

technology to clarify, filter and stabilise it in order to achieve

varieties, we can differentiate between the following types,

clean vinegars with greater stability and fit for sale.

which can in turn fall in to any of the categories mentioned above:

The ageing process of DO Vinagre de Montilla-Moriles

involves oxidation in oak casks. Ageing can be done in two

ded during the ageing process

ways: •

Traditional, static method producing vintage vinegars,

Moscatel vinegar: fresh Moscatel grapes or raisins are added during the ageing process.

where it is kept in wooden casks and undergoes ageing statically, without mixing, so the characteristics of the vinegars are intrinsic to that particular vintage. •

Pedro Ximénez vinegar: Pedro Ximénez raisins are ad-

Traditional dynamic method of criaderas and soleras. This is a system of dynamic ageing consisting of the partial extraction, or ‘saca’, of wine from each of the casks, categorised on an ageing scale, and the ‘rocío’, or replacement of the wine extracted, with vinegar from a different scale or younger vintage. Non-vintage vinegar is used to replace the younger ones. This way, every vintage contains a proportion of all the vinegars of all successive vintages that have been used to replace the original. The last vintage at the end of the ageing process is the solera. From here the mature vinegar is extracted, and is the result of a homogenisation and prolonged ageing of vinegars from every vintage - from the first to the very last - when it was finally replenished, or ‘rociada’.





The analytical characteristics of registered vinegars are the

Aged vinegars.


Visual phase: the vinegar is clean and bright, presenting hues that range from amber to deep mahogany, almost jet black

Nose: soft aromas of acetic acid, with of oak wood notes. Aromas of esters, especially ethyl acetate with spicy, smoky, toasted notes appear

Palate: has a balanced, mild flavour with glycerine notes, and very long-lasting on the palate.

No more than a 3% residual alcohol content

Minimum total acetic acidity of 60g/l

The soluble dry extract is no less than 1.30g/l and degree of acetic acid

The ash content is between 2 and 7 g/l, except in sweet vinegar which is between 3 and 14 g/l

No less than 100m/l acetoin content

In the Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel

Pedro Ximénez sweet vinegars. sweet vinegar

Visual phase: the vinegar is thick, clean and bright, with hues that range from deep mahogany to jet black with subtle iodine reflections.

Nose: presents intense aromas of raisin with traces evoking Pedro Ximénez sweet wine and which mingle harmoniously with aromas of acetic acid, ethyl acetate and oak wood.

Palate: has a very balanced bittersweet flavour, very long-lasting on the palate.

categories, the reduced sugar content is no lower than 70 g/l.

Moscatel sweet vinegars. •

Visual phase: the vinegar is thick, clean and bright, with lighter or darker mahogany hues.

Nose: presents intense aromas of Moscatel grapes, which mingle harmoniously with aromas of acetic acid, ethyl acetate and oak wood.

Palate: has a very balanced sweet and sour flavour, very long-lasting on the palate. At the back of the nose, the Moscatel aromas that give the vinegar its name are strongest.

Bibliography López Infante, María Isabel. Sesión 5: Los Vinagres de Montilla-Moriles. Presentación del Curso técnico de especialización en Vino generosos y vinagres de Montilla-Moriles. 2015. Orden de 30 de noviembre de la Consejería de Agricultura, Pesca y Medio Ambiente, por la que se aprueba el reglamento de funcionamiento de las Denominaciones de Origen “Montilla-Moriles” y “Vinagre de Montilla-Moriles”, así como sus correspondientes Pliegos de Condiciones (BOJA nº249 de 22 de diciembre de 2011). (Order of 30 November 2011, approving the regulations for the Designation of Origin Montilla-Moriles” and “Vinegar of Montilla-Moriles”, as well as their corresponding specifications. Official Gazette of the Regional Government of Andalusia No.249, 22 December 2011 Real Decreto 661/2012, de 13 de abril, por el que se establece la norma de calidad para la elaboración y la comercialización de los vinagres. (BOE nº100 de 26 de abril de 2012). (Royal Decree 661/2012, of 13 April, which sets the quality standard for the processing and marketing of vinegars. (Official State Gazette No.100, 26 April 2012).









CELIA JIMÉNEZ Grilled Iberian shoulder steak with purée of bitter almonds, sautéed apple and salted almond praline. INGREDIENTS 150 gm Iberian shoulder steak / 40gm bitter almond purée / 35gm sautéed apple / 10 gm savoury almond praline / 1 teaspoon wine sauce

METHOD For the grilled Iberian shoulder steak 200gm of Iberian shoulder steak marinated in spices with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon of salt. For the bitter almond purée 1kg potatoes, 1 litre milk, 250gm almonds, 1 tablespoon cream, 1 tablespoon salt Grind the almonds with the milk and leave for 6 hours. Bake the potatoes in tin foil, leave to cool and add the almond milk to the peeled potatoes, together with the cream and salt Bring to the boil and blend till smooth and creamy. For the sautéed apple 1 kg Granny Smith apple, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns Peel and dice the apple, place in an airtight bag together with the oil, salt and pepper. Cook at 70ºC for 40 minutes, set aside to cool.

SERVING SUGGESTION Put the apple on the plate as a base, the purée in dabs and then the praline. Finish with meat, the sauce and flake salt.

For the salted almond praline 250gm raw almonds, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon salt. Fry the almonds in the oil and season with salt to taste. Crush until smooth. For the wine sauce 1 tablespoon concentrated pork juice, 1 tablespoon honey, 50 gm old Montilla vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt Caramelise the honey and add the vinegar. Reduce to half the volume and add the pork juices, season to taste and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté the apples, sear the meat on the grill and cook in the oven at 180ºC. Slice into steaks.

SERVING SUGGESTION Make rolls from the ice cream and fill with Pedro Ximénez


jelly cubes. Put the ice-cream on a rice pudding cream.

Pedro Ximénez vinegar ice-cream with Pedro Ximénez jelly. INGREDIENTS 1 glass milk/ 200gm cream/ 3 egg yolks/ 75 gm sugar/ 1 small glass of Pedro Ximénez vinegar/ 50gm honey/ 1 tablespoon corn flour

METHOD Make a smooth cream by heating the milk, egg yolks, sugar and the corn flour. Allow to cool. Heat the vinegar in a saucepan and boil until reduced to half its original volume. Add the cream mixture and the whipped cream, and finally the honey, stirring gently. Pour the cream into freezer moulds. It should have a creamy consistency.




SERVING SUGGESTION Place the salmorejo in a bowl;

Crab salmorejo with white shrimp, avocado and iced ceviche.

season the prawns with oil and salt. Put the prawns and


guacamole on the salmorejo and

100 g. crab salmorejo / 4 white shrimps / 40 grams guacamole / 30 grams iced ceviche / 1 tablespoon young shoots / 1 tablespoon salt flakes

finish with the iced ceviche and



For the crab salmorejo One 800 gm. crab, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 2 drops of vintage Montilla vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt Place the crab into an airtight bag, together with a little fish stock and cook for 1 hour at 100ºC. Allow to cool rapidly and carefully take out the crab meat, place in the blender seasoned with salt, oil and vinegar. Add the cooking juice and blend at maximum speed to create an emulsion. Leave to cool. For the guacamole 1 avocado, 1 shallot, 1 lime, 1 tablespoon salt Finely chop the avocado and shallot and season with lime juice and salt. Leave in cool place. For the iced ceviche 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper,1 yellow pepper, 1 red onion, 1 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves, 300ml lime juice, 2 peppercorns, 1 tablespoon fresh tomato juice, 2 drops Tabasco, 2 drops Lea & Perrins sauce, 1 tablespoon salt Chop the peppers and the onion and place in an airtight bag with the lime juice, the coriander leaves and the peppercorns for 12 hours. Drain off the liquid, blend it with the tomato juice, and dress the chopped pepper mixture. Freeze in a Pacojet till needed, and blend before serving.

MATÍAS VEGA Slow-cooked knuckle of young pork served with a wild mushroom vinaigrette, dressed vegetables and potatoes. INGREDIENTS 2 pork knuckle joints, 1 bunch aromatic herbs, 2l concentrated stock, 1 glass of old wine, 300gm wild mushrooms, 1 spring onion, 1 clove garlic, 1 green pepper, 1 red pepper, 1 medium-sized potato, salt, oil, half a glass of thyme-flavoured vinegar, 1 glass of Montilla-Moriles dry sherry.

METHOD Roast the knuckle joints in the oven for 15 minutes at 180ºC till golden. Place in a dish and cover with reduced stock and aromatic herbs. Cook slowly over a very low heat, till tender and the meat falls away from the bone. Sauté the mushrooms with the chopped garlic clove. Stir for two minutes and then add the wine. Remove from the heat and put to one side. Chop the peppers and the spring onion, mix with the mushrooms and add vinegar to taste.

SERVING SUGGESTION Place meat in the centre of a dish and garnish with the mus157

hroom vinaigrette.



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