Spanish ham. I know we’re departing from the Basque theme of this blog, but anyone who has tasted will agree with me….Spanish ham (jamón ibérico) is worth the detour.
Recently I was invited to a ham cutting workshop/tasting held by the prestigious jamón producers, Cinco Jotas. Held at Mirador de Ulia, it was an intimate gathering that focused on the ways to carve up jamón (tip: for a straight cut the whole ham down, just push the meat around the bone down with a knife as if it were a nail cuticle) and the proper way to produce it.
Maybe you’re not so familiar with the world of Spanish ham. Most of it is delicious, but there are some key factors in differentiating an excellent ham from a run-of-the-mill cured pig. They are factors such as race. Is your pig Duroc? Or is it 100% ibérico? This is going to affect the growth rate of the pig and the flavor. And then key is the nourishment your pigs are receiving. Acorns is the key word here. Climate, technique, and time are also keys. There’s no rushing this kind of perfection.
Cinco Jotas is a 100 % ibérico ham, whose happy happy pigs walk an average of 10 miles a day in search of acorns before they are turned into happy happy hanging legs, curing in the dry air of Jabugo. And you can taste it.