Hijos de Salvador López's Las Hermanas brand is part of the evolution of the firm founded in Cuacos de Yuste (in the medieval province of Cáceres in Extremadura, Spain) by Salvador López in 1940 and continued by his three sons. Upon the retirement of his brothers, Miguel López bought all shares, eventually transferring ownership to his two daughters. Currently, the company is owned in partnership with the granddaughters of Salvador López—Alicia López Sánchez and her sister, a silent partner.
Upon the retirement of her father and following 16 years of involvement with the company, Alicia became the general manager of Hijos de Salvador López. Succession is already set for her daughters, Alice and Araceli López Head. So the company now represents three generations of the same family ownership, soon to be four.
Alicia has started to expand the perception of Pimentón de La Vera as a local ingredient commonly associated only with paella to that of a world-class food-friendly spice. In addition to belonging to the DOP for Pimentón de la Vera, Hijos de Salvador López is certified by International Featured Standards (IFS) and has implemented an Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP), which integrates all of the company's processes and guarantees traceability of every step in real time. This all means that all Hijos de Salvador López products, including those of the Las Hermanas brand, are real (the DOP), clean (the IFS), and accountable (the ERP)!
There seem to be several stories about just how Pimentón got its "de La Vera" start. The clear favorite is that the great son of the Extremadura, Christopher Columbus, returned from the new world a second time, his ships filled with seeds and exotic plants, and gave his sponsors (King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain) the gift of the pepper seeds.
These seeds were in turn given to the Hieronymite monks who resided in the La Vera—a county at the feet of the Sierra de Gredos mountain range in the Tiétar River valley—whose rich soil and warmer micro-climate were perfect for growing Capsaicin annuum peppers. And they thrived. It was not, however, a perfect climate for preserving these beauties! It always rains during the harvest of October/November, so in order to preserve the peppers over the winter, the monks and farmers took to drying them over smoky, indirect-heat oak fires for 10 to 15 days, finishing with a slightly warmer fire for three more days.
This tradition continues today, with the final step taking the ripe peppers to a low percentage of moisture, preserving flavor and color, and imbuing them with the classic DOP smokiness.