The family, like many in La Rioja, has been making chorizos in the traditional way for generations. This tradition goes back centuries across the region. In the early 1900s, the grandfather was a "transhumante". Transhumantes were shepherds that during winter would take large sheep herds from the north of Spain through Madrid to the West of Spain where weather was better and food plenty. When the grandfather was back in Sorzano for the spring and summer months, he would continue working with other farm animals, including the pork; the source of meat for chorizo.
Then in the 1970s, the daughter, Humildad, open a professional butchery and regularly did the "matanza" of the pork helped by her son Carlos... Eventually, the family decided to concentrate on the production of chorizo just like they had been doing for generations for their own consumption. Now, they have been producing under the Moncalvillo label for over 30 years. They also produce non-spicy chorizo and salchichon.
The secret to the premium quality of the Moncalvillo chorizo is the quality of the meat and the process which is faithful to the production of each chorizo as if it was "for their own family consumption". Humildad and Carlos are both extremely demanding about quality, and will turn down pork deliveries if they are not up to par.
Sorzano (La Rioja) - where the factory is
Sorzano is a traditional Rioja village of about 250 people. At 720 meter of altitude, the village is in the higher mountains of the Iregua valley where the air is fresh and pure. While its oldest standing buildings date to the 16th century, the town has roman remains. The village's oldest tradition is the "procession of the 100 brides" commemorating the taxes paid to the Moors by the Christians during the Moor invasion in Spain. Just in front of Sorzano and in the year 844, the Christians defeated the Moors in its quest to reconquer Spain with the help of St. James (the patron of Spain) .
Sorzano is located in La Rioja. La Rioja is home to many other unique produce, the best known would be the Rioja wine. The use of pimenton and chorizo in dishes across Spain, lead to a common label of "... a la Riojana". That is any dish with the ending ("patatas a la riojana, conejo a la riojana, etc..") usually denotes the use of pimentos, chorizo or pepper as part of its preparation.
The chorizo making process follows a simple method. A perse group of meat sections in the pork are mixed together with salt and pimenton (spicy pepper). Once the mix is made, it´s stuffed and hung to dry. While large industrial chorizos are dried in just one week, the Moncalvillo chorizo follows the strict traditional curing process of around 35 to 40 days. The right mix of pork meat, at the right pimenton-meat ratio together with the patient curing in the Moncalvillo facilities is what leads to probably the best chorizo in La Rioja.
Spanish legislation is very stringent, and the facilities are checked on a monthly basis by the Spanish heatlh authorities. This ensures that the Moncalvillo chorizo meets the highest European safety standards. Thus, the client can expect not only to have a premium quality product but one of that meets the highest standards in the world.