Socialize

FacebookTwitter

L.A. Farmers’ Markets – Cristina’s From Spain

Cristina Rodriguez and her husband Tony Testa sell cheeses, jamons, chorizo, tortilla, almonds, olives and other delicacies at various farmers’ markets around Los Angeles.
By Charles G. Thompson

Cristina Rodriguez, owner of Cristina's from Spain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tony Testa manning the Cristina's from Spain booth.

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

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

Charles G. Thompson

Charles G. Thompson

Charles G. Thompson is a freelance writer. After a 20 year stint in the restaurant and retail food industries he is now recounting his food oriented tales and experiences on his food blog, 100 Miles. He first learned to cook while working for a French family in France using Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” as his teacher. He has contributed to such sites as One for the Table, and is published in “Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook: 100 Great Recipes, Photographs, and Voices”.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

Originally Published: June 9, 2011

14 Responses to L.A. Farmers’ Markets – Cristina’s From Spain

  1. Miriam Garcia

    Miriam/The Winter Guest Reply

    June 9, 2011 at 11:46 am

    So interesting!! But some of the photos in the article are distorted.

  2. Karl Reply

    June 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Hey. I´m fascined in Spanish Food. Especially since I taste the products that Cristina and Tony bring from his beautiful country…

    Qui vivas Espana!

  3. Roman Gutierrez Reply

    June 21, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Being a Spaniard myself, I have to say that Cristina’s From Spain’s products are to the upmost quality standards. I can always count on them to have a taste of home whenever I visit their stand at the Farmer’s Market.

  4. angela roa Reply

    June 21, 2011 at 1:56 am

    great products! I love the manchegos, the olives and the almonds! add a nice glass of vine and Que Viva Espana!

  5. Blair Huizingh Reply

    June 21, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I’ve been buying from Tony and Christina since they started at the Atwater Farmers Market. They’ve put together an amazing collection of tasty treats.

  6. Steve DeGroodt Reply

    June 21, 2011 at 10:20 am

    The sublime taste and quality of Christina’s from Spain won me over the very first time I sampled their cheeses. WOW !!!
    Tony’s home made Spanish Tortilla will compliment any meal…hey its almost a meal in itself …Bring on the wine.

  7. Miguel Martinez-Lafuente Reply

    June 21, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    At last that authentic taste of Spanish cheeses and cold meats has been brought to us!
    They sell the most delicious Spanish produce I’ve ever eaten in L.A. !
    -As I am writing this review I am craving for some blue and manchego cheese and a few drops of good “tinto” (red wine)-
    Thanks so much for giving us the chance to indulge in the flavors from Spain!

  8. maria jose Reply

    June 22, 2011 at 4:34 am

    Hi, as a Spaniard myself, every time I come back from “home” I feel better knowing that I can get the same flavors and feelings with Cristina’s from Spain products. The cheeses are the best, and the “jamon” too. Congratulations!!!!

  9. Mary Ann Reply

    June 22, 2011 at 8:55 am

    I think we get invited to more potlucks now…always asked to bring appetizers and nibbles. Thanks Cristina’s!

  10. Priscilla Willis

    Priscilla Willis Reply

    July 31, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Manchego cheese is my favorite and I’d also be all over the marcona almonds and their Spanish tortilla, if only they’d come to Orange County!

  11. Sebastian Reply

    August 28, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Please try the croquettes. They are out of this world.

  12. Jackie Dodd

    Jackie Reply

    September 28, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Great write up! I met Tony at the La Canada farmers market a few months ago. They do have some amazing food, I remember the olives and the cheese both being spectacular.

  13. Toni Reply

    August 14, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Do they have the chocolate drink mix for churros y chocolate?
    One is named Paladin , but there are others
    Thanks, Toni

  14. Pingback: Madrid Tourist Attractions / Travel Guide / Tips / Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>