WHAT\'S BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE CHRISTMAS LOTTERY?

 

 

 

Although the origin of some of these customs goes back very far in time and on many occasions the trace has already been lost (pagan traditions mixed with religious celebrations, commercial strategies to release the surplus production, etc.), the lottery's history is much more recent and, however, unknown to many of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We bring here some curiosities about the history of the raffle and the process of design and production of tickets, something that for many of us goes unnoticed although it involves a huge amount of work and much anticipation. And even, those who are really anticipated and want to try their luck by bringing tickets from different places of Spain that they visit during their summer holidays will know that there are numbers for sale already at that time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The production of lottery tickets is the exclusive responsibility of the National Currency and Stamp Factory, a project that every year undertakes with the highest professional zeal and maximum secrecy. But few know that the process of making begins the third week of April and that already on San Fermín people begin to buy tickets (they are officially on sale the on July 1st). Between April and June, 87% of all tickets are produced and then distributed throughout Spain through a random number distribution system. Tickets are printed with special inks on security OCR paper, to prevent counterfeiting. The sale is entrusted to Lotteries and State Bets through their administrations because the logistics of the raffle is a coordinated work between the FNMT and Lotteries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those of you who already have a ticket in your hands will have seen that this year's image is the "Adoration of the Shepherds" by Murillo (ca. 1650). The choice of the image of the 180 million tickets is the first part of the whole process, before selecting the main colour and the background design. Then, it's up to choose the series that will go on sale before starting the printing process. Each edition chooses an image linked to Christmas by Spanish artists, often with religious motives.

 

These are just some of the details of a raffle that began in 1812 with 12,000 numbers (today are 66,000), with a prize of 8,000 pesos and a price per ticket of 40 reals. Almost two centuries of history that have given rise to a true tradition.
 

If visual arts arouse emotions in the viewer, and also gastronomy, at its finest, can cause a similar effect, the relationship between both "disciplines" is more than demonstrated.

Cheese is a fundamental piece in gastronomy, its diversity allows it to be part of gastronomy different moments, from starters to desserts, and that is why Art Madrid includes it in this year’s edition of the Fair from an ambitious place. Cheese is given this way a closest view to the creation of a work of art, both from the point of view of the time spent in its execution process and the almost personalized study dedicated to each piece during its elaboration.

Like a plastic artist, the Cheese Master Affineur executes a series of actions making each piece an exclusive and individualized element. This is what Madrid cheese factory QAVA de Quesos and its Master Afinador José Luis Martín achieve.

QAVA & MARTÍN AFINADOR is a new store concept: a unique space designed to taste, learn, promote and buy cheese in Madrid, in the heart of Retiro district."

José Luis Martín is a key piece in the QAVA cheese factory. He has been working in the cheese world for more than 30 years, providing training throughout the world, visiting cheese shops, consulting and advising on the design and implementation of one of the most emblematic cheese shops in Spain. The fact of knowing the producers personally, and even advising them on the manufacture and design of their products, allows him to select specific batches, at different stages of maturation, to complete the cheese ripening and then convert each piece into a unique product, different and with its own distinct character, the signature of the Cheese Master.

In the profile of the Master Martín Afinador experience and pure knowledge merge. Martín Afinador is an advisor and consultant for artisanal cheese factories and product design, and for the best-specialised stores in the country, director of Gourmetquesos, director and coordinator of the Championship of the Best Cheeses in Spain during nine editions, technical director and jury in national and international cheese competitions and tastings, collaborator of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Academy of Spanish Gastronomy, director and coordinator of the cheese section of the Repsol Guide to the Best Foods in Spain and trainer for hospitality schools and food centres teaching, among other activities.

Cheese ripening is a complex process that requires time and dedication, in addition to a developed use of the senses. The Cheese Master Affineur, as a specialist in the field, works in all cheese stages (varied and complex), controls all stages of raw material transformation, supervises the evolution and development of cheeses according to the characteristics of each one of them, verifies the quality and the state when the cheeses arrive at their cellars, checks their care and conservation, and; finally, he controls its packaging and the type of wrapping suitable for its best preservation.

In Qava de Quesos they have two Cheese Refining Cellars. In these "tuning caves" or refrigerated chambers designed in constant conditions of temperature, humidity and ventilation, "we take great care of the cheeses until they reach their optimum point of consumption". The work of refining involves placing the cheeses on wooden shelves, turning them over daily and/or washing them frequently, brushing them periodically, as well as other regular handlings.

Among the services offered by Qava de Quesos, we can find specific courses and workshops, events for groups and companies, and advice on shop design and ripening rooms.