When I made plans for this blog I didn’t want it to be only recipes, but also about food I “just” enjoy eating and not prepared myself. The amazing stuff in the picture is… in my opinion… the best ham in the world. You heard me. And I don’t feel I’m exaggerating in the slightest. Iberico Ham or Jamón Ibérico is truly the best.
I’m generally a big fan of dry-cured hams. I enjoy them all: Parma ham, San Daniele ham and of course the simpler and cheaper spanish version of the Ibérico ham, the Serrano ham. But nothing compares to the Jamón Iberico. It is also called Pata Negra ham… which translates into “Black hoof” ham. That’s because this ham is made from the Iberian black pig.
Immediately after weaning, the piglets are fattened on barley and maize for several weeks. The pigs are then allowed to roam in pasture and oak groves to feed naturally on grass, herbs, acorns, and roots, until the slaughtering time approaches. At that point, the diet may be strictly limited to olives or acorns for the best quality jamón ibérico.
The hams from the slaughtered pigs are salted and left to begin drying for two weeks, after which they are rinsed and left to dry for another four to six weeks. The curing process then takes at least twelve months, although some producers cure their jamones ibéricos for up to 48 months.
With a production process like this it goes without saying that it’s not easily available outside of Spain and it’s quite expensive. Me and my family we usually just eat it around the holidays, especially on christmas. The batch you see in the pictures is still left from the easter holidays actually. My dear auntie Lidia from Barcelona always brings some with her when she comes visiting and somehow Alex and I just saved and saved and saved it. But we realized christmas is just around the corner and so is my aunts visit and some new Ibérico ham.
So last weekend, we cracked open the package and enjoyed it with a fine glass of red wine. What a treat.