Umai gourmet, dehydrated vegetable hedonism



Gastronomic tradition, locally grown products, slow food, awareness about food waste, fair trade… these are just some of the foundations of UMAI Gourmet, a company located in Abla that has just released their products in the market.

Their proposal is based on dehydrated vegetables from the Almeria countryside that are turned into jams and patés. Beatriz Lara, founder of the company, felt sorry that the tradition of sun drying tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables was disappearing. For this reason, she started to shape UMAI Gourmet, which she defines as R+D+I food industry.

After a year training and investigating Lara concluded that it was needed to “add value to the Almeria fresh products”, especially when they cannot be sold in the usual ways because “they don’t fit aesthetically but they do nutritionally”. Doing that “you give them a second chance, that’s what I’ve done with jams and patés”, highlights the entrepreneur

“Dehydration is not just a preservation method, it’s also a way of concentrating flavours and nutritional values”. The Abla company is proud to elaborate “natural and healthy” products from Sweet Palermo peppers, tomatoes and aubergines that are dehydrated by themselves.

With the aim to complement their products, in flavour and nutritional value, they carefully pick the aromatic plants (for the jams), spices (for the patés) and other ingredients. . In the case of the aromatic plants, they are also from Almeria and they’re dehydrated in their premises. The spices are from their country of origin and using fair trade retailers. Cucumber with peppermint, tomato with basil or oregano, pepper with tarragon, courgette flowers with poppy seeds… to name some of their ingredient mix.


I have had the opportunity to try five of  their products in the last few days, being my favourites   the Palermo pepper paté with a dash of spicy black pepper with sesame, anise and cumin; and also the vegetable sobrasada, with a long delicate aftertaste, provided by the dried tomatoes.

Although, I’m not very fond of jams, they are without any doubt, UMAI Gourmet’s most interesting unique and clever tastes.  They’re not just your regular breakfast jams, they are best used in the kitchen, especially in savoury dishes. They might need to shape the formula, but they might become a great resource for imaginative chefs.

I have tried the cucumber jam (Notting Hill) at home and it works well with oily fish, salted fish, ham or dairy ((yogurt, butter, cottage cheese…). I think it will also go well with avocado, pickles like cappers, dry nuts such as cashew nuts and peanuts, prawns or crab. I’m sure it will pair well with liver patés and goat cheese.

The pepper and tarragon jam (Dracul) works with anchovies, olives, dishes with eggs as the main ingredient, dairy and bacon. Beef could also be a good option. 

As tomato goes well with nearly everything, the Red Dwarf jam has many possibilities, to name some: white fish, salted fish, lamb, aubergines, fresh cheese, bacon or mushrooms… and many more.

Patents y international markets

The UMAI Gourmet jams must be kept in secrecy. For that reason, the elaboration process and the concept “jams from dehydrated fruits” have been patented. They’re already thinking about future jams with fruits such as lemon or melon.

Umai Gourmet reckons its target market is in the luxury sector. Moreover, they’re working on an internationalisation plan as they think 60% of their customers will be abroad. Their prices range from 13 to 16 euros per jar. The company explains the prices claiming that the final product is a top quality item obtained using a costly artisanal method, in which raw materials have a 75% shrinkage. To reinforce their image as a quality brand they have partnered with  quality seals like Sabores Almería or Luxury Spain.

Their factory’s weekly production is 1,500 jars, but they’re currently working under demand. The company has 3 employees, but it could grow to up 10 workers. Beatriz Lara, who is a psychologist specialized in Human Resources, is determined to create quality jobs in the area.