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A guide to Spanish ham

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Sometimes when you travel somewhere new, you know you need to try certain foods… like Jamon!  However, there are many different brands of ham, different cuts of ham, and different denominations. Although I am no expert I just want to make it a little easier for you putting together a list of things to keep an eye out for.

Spanish Ham: Jamon

There are two different types of Spanish Ham; Jamon Ibérico, and Jamon Blanco (Serrano & Curred). The main difference between the two is the Jamon Ibérico comes from the Ibérico pig (a black pig which is why you often hear; pata negra when referring to this ham) and the Jamon blanco which is the more affordable and more consumed option comes from from any pigs that are not ibérico.

Jamon Ibérico

This breed of pig (the black pig) which comes from predominantly the Iberian peninsula has a particular capacity to accumulate fat under their skin and infiltrate it below the muscles giving the ham extra flavour. Below are the four main types of Iberian ham which are different in flavour due to what the pigs where fed when they were bred.

  • Jamón ibérico de bellota: comes from the ibérico pig and has been bred with acorns and natural pastures. (Creme de la creme, the acorns give an exquisite taste to the ham)
  • Jamón ibérico de recebo: comes from the ibérico pig and has been bred with acorns and natural pastures and feed.
  • Jamón ibérico de cebo: comes from the ibérico pig and has been bred with natural pastures and feed.
  • Jamón ibérico de cebo de campo: comes from free range ibérico pig and has been bred with natural pastures and feed.

Jamon Blanco (serrano & curado)

These hams are usually made with the breeds like Duroc, Landrace, La Pietrain and Large white but you can find other breeds occasionally. Here the main difference is how it is cured.

  • Jamón serrano: comes from white skinned pigs, bred in an intensive manner and fed pork feed with a minimum curation time of 7 months in a cold and dry environment.
  • Jamón curado: comes from white skinned pigs, bred in an intensive manner and fed pork feed.

My personal favourite hams are

Joselito: https://www.joselito.com

Cinco Jotas: https://www.cincojotas.com/

In Spain we also have other very good cured meats, some of which in my mind are a little overshadowed by the ham, one of those is Lomo. Lomo is a different cut of the pork located on the pigs back (pork loin). If you get a chance to taste a Lomo ibérico I’m sure you won´t be disappointed.

Enjoy!

xx Claudia


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